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Good Fish

I've been researching the Kansas trout scene for at least 15 years. However, it wasn't until 2018 that I could visit the Kanopolis Seep section of Sand Creek. Unfortunately, I came in May and out of season. But I now understood the bits and pieces I found on the internet.

My luck in February 2021 was unsuccessful, but after you do all this research, you arrive and fish your vision. After driving eight hours from Little Rock, AR, from my Mom's house and sleeping at a rest stop, it was time to have coffee at the Blacksmith Coffee Shop & Roastery in Lindsborg, KS. Staying too long at the coffee shop, I didn't arrive until 11 am. I met a great guy in the Kanopolis Dam parking lot who had just finished fishing.   He said he didn't see any trout, just some bass and bluegills. Not what I wanted to hear, but he gave me some tips.


I headed down to Sand Creek to about the fourth utility pole.  I thought I saw a gold rock in the middle of the stream, but my experience knew better than to observe.  After about three minutes, the palomino trout's tail finally moved.  I had never seen one, so I was shocked at my first look into the creek revealed a trout.  I brought two rods, both 5wt—one with an olive wooly bugger and the other with a mop fly and pheasant tail nymph.

After six casts with the wooly bugger, without any movement, I switched rods.  On my first cast, about four feet in front of the golden, the trout took after the fly and ate the lure right away.  After about 30 seconds, I walked down to net it;  the hook was released from the trout's mouth and lost.  This move has happened so many times that I could shoot myself.  And that damn fish moved back to their spot and stayed there for the next five hours.


Good Water

The Kanopolis Seep Stream is a one-and-a-half-mile-cold water section of Sand Creek that feeds the Smoky Hill River. It is the only public trout stream in Kansas. The Kanopolis Seep Stream and Smoky Hill River are from the water below the Kanopolis Lake Dam. The Seep Stream section is fed by several pipes from the bottom of the dam flowing at 56 degrees. The goal is to find ways to keep the water cool enough for trout to survive throughout the year.

Trout access to the stream has been available for around 30 years. However, in 2007 heavy flows washed out the creek. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Flatland Fly Fishers, and others completed stream restoration efforts from 2008 through 2010. The cooperative effort installed a series of rock riffles, lunker bunkers, and trees to create a realistic trout fishery. As a result, a few trout can survive the summer.

Trout season is from October 15 through April 15. As you walk the service road, there are utility poles labeled by numbers. Artificial bait only (lures or fly fishing) at power poles number 9 through number 16.

So-called golden rainbow trout or palomino trout are bred from a single mutated color variant that originated in a West Virginia fish hatchery in 1955. The golden rainbow trout is predominantly yellowish, lacking the typical green field and black spots but retaining the diffuse red stripe. The palomino trout is a mixture of golden and common rainbow trout, resulting in an intermediate color. The golden rainbow trout is not the same subspecies as the naturally occurring California Golden Trout.




Good People

I like to thank the Flatland Fly Fishers, Mark Pierce’s YouTube videos, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife.  Someone had an amazing vision to convert this 1 ½ miles section of the stream into a trout stream….really crazy!


Driving 11 hours from Chicago to my bed at I-135 Rest Stop, I was excited or scared of another failure in Kansas for a trout. But, before bed, I went to Lindborg, KS, for dinner. The Swedish town of Lindsborg is a brick-laid main street with white Christmas lights and two of the best coffee shops I've been to. I would be dining at the Crown & Rye for an excellent strip steak, baked potato, a large side salad, and two chardonnays.

I woke up at a rest stop with Brooke Trout and fed her breakfast before heading into Lindsbor. It was early. I wanted to get to the Blacksmith Coffee Shop & Roastery when it opens at 6:30 am. I ordered a latte and sat in a nice leather chair, waiting for the sun to rise before heading 20 minutes to Kanopolis Lake and Sand Creek.   

The sun rose through the coffee shop window, and I was out the door after purchasing a t-shirt and sweatshirt for my coffee shop collection. The parking lot already had about seven cars, but most people fish and the end of the stream. My target was the artificial bait section, about 1/2 mile down the path. Brooke is getting old, 11, and gets to sleep in the car temperature was 26 this morning, going up to 52 with 20-mile-an-hour winds for the south. The south wind works well as I'm throwing my fly with the wind, 

I'm bringing two rods; my five-weight will be set up with a large stimulator pattern dry fly I received from my sister-in-law for Christmas and a blue-looking copper john. My second rod is a six-weight with an orange-headed black wooly bugger. When I got to pole 9, I ran into a fly fisherman with a felt cowboy hat who had just caught six trout on the same orange-headed black wooly bugger. Funny that he recognized me from my YouTube video! I'm famous...LOL! He also saw a video of someone from two weeks early using the same streamer. He also gave me his secret spot while he fished about 30 yards in front of me around a turn in the creek. While fishing, he caught eight more trout before me using the same fly.   I saw nothing in his secret spot. We flipped spots, and I caught nothing, and he didn't catch anything in his secret place. Two hours in, and I saw nothing. I thought this was going to be easy, and my forehead started to sweat in fear of another Kansas failure.

I walked up and down the stream while more and more people came into the stream. Good news, bad news, no one was catching any trout. The cowboy fly fisherman landed bass only now. Finally, at the beginning of the creek, I through a cast around a grassy point with my streamer and hooked a trout. Wow! It was a weird angle, so I did not set the hook correctly; it was just a bad fishing technique. I lifted my rod instead of pulling the line to set the hook. After about seven seconds, the rainbow was off the hook. It was about 1:30 pm. Tired, I hobbled a mile back to the parking lot and drove off for lunch to Öl Stuga in Lindsborg, 

After a bacon cheeseburger and a Coors Light, I drove back to the stream. Brooke spent time on the way back meeting two fishing in the parking lot, going in and out of their legs. A happy old fishing dog! I was sorry she was not feeling well enough to walk to the stream as she was coming off a case of the flu. It was 2:30 pm, cloudy in the afternoon, and windy but warm, which should be good fishing weather. I returned to the best hole as I was running low on time. Most people were gone, but one guy was fishing live bait in the artificial section in the best spot. UGH! So, this was going to take longer.

I fished to the beginning of the stream again, flicking my streamer, which I had been using all day. After a couple of hours, I walked back, seeing only the two guys Brooke met in the parking lot, the bait fisherman was gone with his friends. OK, I'm sitting at the best hole now. After several casts with my streamer. I grabbed by five-weight with the dry dropper setup. On my third drift around the deep hole, my stimulator dips down violently, and I set the hook. At first, the rainbow fought hard, but then it got contentious closer to shore with a place to hide and break the line. I've learned in new states not to use the net but throw the trout out of the water onto the shore. Well, that is what I did. The 11-inch rainbow trout had wings and landed on the soft grass at 3:32 pm Saturday, January 14., 2023.   

As the sun set over Kanopolis Lake, it was time to fry up my catch around the corner at Kanopolis Lake Campgrounds. I had two bunches of hardwood in the car and a half-bottle pinot noir. So, Brooke and I hung out, relaxing and celebrating our achievements. Later, we drove back to the Crown and Rye for a T-bone steak, chocolate cake, and two glasses of zinfandel before saying good night at the I-135 rest stop.

Kansas is done!


Kanopolis Lake Campgrounds


Frying up Catch




Sandy Creek Rainbow


Sandy Creek-Seep Stream Section


Sandy Creek-Seep Stream Section


Sandy Creek-Seep Stream Section


Kansas Sunset


Blacksmith Coffeehouse


Catching Nymph


Kanopolis Lake Campgrounds


Dinner Crown & Rye

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