I've been researching the Kansas trout scene for at least 15 years. It wasn't until 2018 that I could visit 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 from the internet.
My luck in February 2021 was not a successful one, 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 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 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 I could shoot me. And that damn fish moved back to his/her spot and stayed there for the next five hours.
The Kanopolis Seep Stream is a one and half mile cold water section of Sand Creek that feeds the Smoky Hill River. It is the only public trout stream in Kansas. Both the Kanopolis Seep Stream and Smoky Hill River are from water below the Kanopolis Lake Dam. The Seep Stream section is feed be several pipes from the bottom of the dam flowing at 56 degrees. The goal being 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. In 2007 heavy flows washed the out the creek. Stream restoration effort in 2008 through 2010 was completed by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Flatland Fly Fishers and others. The cooperative effort installed a series of rock riffles, lunker bunkers and trees to create a realistic trout fishery. A few trout can survived the summer.
Trout season is from October 15 through April 15. As you walk the service road there a utility poles label 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.
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!