Flathead catfish handfishing season June 15 to august 31

Pratt – If you’re an outdoor adventurer looking for the thrill of your life, get ready for the Kansas flathead catfish handfishing season, which opens June 15. This exciting sport not only provides thrills, but bountiful, delicious table fare awaits those hearty souls willing to take up the challenge. Reaching under logs and other structure in dark, cool water for the muscled body of a 40-pound catfish is not for the faint of heart.

The season runs June 15-Aug. 31, and handfishers may catch flathead catfish using nothing but their hands and wits — no snorkel or scuba gear, hooks, or manmade devices may be used. Although such anglers may be few, the season offers a special challenge at a time when summer heat has slowed many other types of fishing.

In addition to a limited season, there are restrictions during the handfishing season. Only flathead catfish may be taken, and legal handfishing hours are sunrise to sunset. A special $27.50 permit is required in addition to a regular fishing license. A stringer may be used but not until the fish are caught by hand and are at or above the surface of the water. No man-made object that attracts fish — such as a barrel, box, bathtub, or any other object — may be used. The season is only open in the following waters:

  • the entire length of the Arkansas River;
  • all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upstream end of the federal property; and the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.
  • Everyone who purchases a handfishing permit will be given a questionnaire they must complete and submit no later than 30 days after the close of the handfishing season. Handfishing permits may be purchased online or at select locations around the state. To find vendors or purchase permits online, go online to ksoutdoors.com/License-Permits.

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