Kansas River

Discussion in 'KANSAS RIVERS TALK' started by Dsage, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Dsage

    Dsage Active Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Ok I was thinking about the river some last night and today, and with the Mo. section post of 200lb fish it has me looking back and reading. I looked at the article that I posted last year about the huge fish taken from the Kansas River. Then the point was brought up that dams might be the reason the big fish are not around like they were back then. I grew up on the river my front door was just about a 1/4 mile to the bank of the river. So as far as I can remember the river has not changed alot in my area. The average depth is just about the same in the ball park of 4-6ft. I have talked to my dad who grew up in the same area and ran the same banks that I did and he told me the same thing, he has not seen a lot of change in the river. I know that some areas are different but this is just a general over view of the section we ran. So I start looking for more info on the river. I know that boats would travle up and down her hauling goods and such. So in the end what do you guys think might be some reasons that bigger fish are not popping up like the older articles. I know some will say over harvest this might be true, if you look back at some of the articles it talkes about hundreds of fish being taken from the river. Then 15-30 years later the same and just as big as fish. These fish were going to markets and such so they were hitting the river hard. Today I would say that its gets hit hard but not on the large scale it did then if I was to guess. So what gives? The dams do not play that big of role since there are only a hand full of them on the entire river. there are 30-60 miles runs with nothing stopping them, so if the dams were the problem you are telling me the fish were running more than 60 miles? Also does anyone have any info on the early days of the Kansas River and the depth and such. Thought I would bring this to the table and see what some have to say about it.
     
  2. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    The river may look the same at normal levels but it is what happens when it floods that is crucial to the fish's growth and reproduction.
    Levees line the rivers nowadays and the floodplain has been dramatically reduced. That alone is a BIG cause of the decline in fish populations and over all size. Fish have better spawns in high water and alot more food is available. Flood plains used to be miles wide, not anymore.
    Over harvest does play a roll, and I think that its role will only get bigger. I think its more important now than ever to release the best breeding fish. The odds are stacked against them.
    Just my opinion with some facts sprinkled in.:cool::laugh1:
     

  3. Dsage

    Dsage Active Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Kyle I never thought about the floodplain, thank for the info.
     
  4. n2fishn

    n2fishn New Member

    Messages:
    7,333
    State:
    Topeka,Kan
    I cant say much about the Kaw.I have never fished it although I live with-in 1/4 mile of it right now and cross over it about every day.

    I have seen pictures of monster that were taking out in the late 1800's early 1900's but times have changed.

    Like Kyle said the river use to be a lot bigger and un-tammed.Plus we dump alot of %&% in it from one end to the other.

    Plus if they did take out those fish which they did it would take a long time to see their pouplation rebound.

    Were talking 30-60yrs I guess to see 80-100lbs fish again.

    I have see and heard of some pretty big flats still being caught in the 60-75 lb range but very few.And up ths way no blues which most of the old pictures I have seen of the big fish taken out around Topeka in the early yrs were mostly blues.

    Again I'm just guessing I really dont know for a fact why they are not here.

    I do know though that there is plenty of sand to last for a few yrs in the kaw:time-out:
     
  5. Dsage

    Dsage Active Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Blues really, I have not seen many pictures of Blues from the Toepka area. the big cats I have seen and heard of were flats. I do know the blues are around I have hooked into a few around Willard and also here in Topeka all of them on the small side. I would love to know how deep the river was in the early 1900's, I'm still looking for that info on the net. The weight range you said is what I have been hearing these days too. I think its time we go out and hook into a few of those Kaw Big guys Tom.
     
  6. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    The upper Kansas (Manhattan to Junction city) has change a lot sense the 50s when I started fishing it. Back before Milford dam there were holes over 20 ft deep at low water.No one fenced the river to keep stock from crossing . now it is so shallow that cattle cross at will.Back them the flow in spring kept the river bed washed out.
     
  7. n2fishn

    n2fishn New Member

    Messages:
    7,333
    State:
    Topeka,Kan
    Dan I'm sure ready to give it a try.

    I wish I could remember where I seen those pictures but all were blues that I seen.

    Now here's a kicker for you...I seen in person about a month ago a old mount of a blue cat that was caught around Topeka out of the Kaw that was between 120-140 lbs. Its being freshened up with new paint and I hope it will be on display soon.

    It was caught in the 60's and is not in the best of shape but they are trying to make it look new again.
    It is something else to see how big it is.
     
  8. n2fishn

    n2fishn New Member

    Messages:
    7,333
    State:
    Topeka,Kan
    Dale your right on.

    The one thing I have seen in the last ten yrs of duck hunting the Kaw west of Topeka is all the sand bars are now grown up with cotton woods and willows.

    When I 1st started hunting this area the sand bars were bare and changing from year to year.Not now these trees are there to stay and changing the river flow/channle more and more every year.

    They control the flow now for it to flush these bars clean of seeds that are now turing into timber out on the sand bars.

    Hell in time it might be called the Kaw forest.
     
  9. Dsage

    Dsage Active Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Dale I have not been in that area much. I do know that alot of the big holes that are in my ara are still standing for the most part, some have silted in and others have popped up but if I was to guess I would say the amount of holes are about the same.

    Tom I'm game as soon as the weather starts to play nice. That mount would be too cool to see, that is a monster for sure. I tell myself all the time they are still out swimming I just have to find them, it will take time but they are some where in the Topeka to Maple Hill area. :fingers-crossed: I have seen several of the sand bars (Tree Island) like that pop up but I do recall several of them around the Rossville to Silver Lake area too when I was a kid.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  10. kawriverrat

    kawriverrat Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    KANSAS
    The dams do play a role. It only takes one.
    The Kaw in the 1800s was a bit deeper river. Steamers traveled it in the 1850s KC to Lawerence. This stopped some time in the 1860s. The Bowersock Plant was up & running after some improvements from ice flow damage in, I think in 1877.

    The river is always changing over time. The further up stream you go the more these changes are seen over a period of time.

    That some river fish travel great distances is a fact.I have seen Big Head Carp in the Mud Creak area. So yes fish do get past the dam. My point is it is a hinderance. I know some old timers, since long passed that cussed the dam at 4-35. Based on this.
     
  11. Dsage

    Dsage Active Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    The point I was getting at with the dams and I have heard they were the casue for years is some fish yes will travel that great distance but not all. I would say Blues would be the ones that would, but Flatheads are not know to be long distance fish. I have read several articles on them granted the ones tagged were not the 100plus fish I'm talking about. But these fish travles 10-25 miles at most if I recall. So what would the reason for the fish not being in the Upper end say from Topeka's weir up. This is what I was talking about. If I recall right the first dam there was but in 1872 and then part of it was distroyed from an ice storm. A lot of the fish I have read about were from the early 1900's. So if the dam was the death of them they got stuck up stream when the dam was made and were all caught? I'm just setting back on a cold slow day wondering all this and thinking.
     
  12. kawriverrat

    kawriverrat Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    KANSAS
    Thinking on the river is always a good thing.
    You are right about Flatheads not being big travlers. Over the years I have caught the same Flatty from the same area on different occassions.
    My thinking is that that the dams or dam also hinder the replenishing of a food scource being shad & other smaller fish that can move a great distance in large numbers.

    I will give the issue of the numbers of big Blues dimenesioning the further you get from 4-35 & the Bowersock as giving substance to my thoughts on dams.

    We also have the effects of the lakes on our river that was not always there. With them letting water out & stopping it. Not sure how it plays out regarding the fish on the river. But it is a variable that has not always been there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  13. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    My thoughts on blues...

    Blue cats are travelers, in the winter they tend to head downstream and look for deep holes. In the spring they head upstream to spawn, and you will hear of very big blues taken out of skinny water, especially in May, June, and into July. But every dam is an obstacle that thins their numbers. Some make it past 435, very few make it past Bowersock, and so on. It's much easier for the fish to get past the dams going downstream than it is going upstream. The same thing happens through the locks and dams on the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

    Blues travel a long way in the open rivers though. A big blue that spends it's summer near Eudora could well winter down in the Mississippi River somewhere and never find it's way back to Eudora. Especially if it ends up in a commercial net down there somewhere. Fishing pressure may be less on the Kaw than it once was, but that came about in part because of thinning numbers of fish. From what I've been told, blue cats were pretty scarce in this area in the 1960's through the 1980's because of commercial pressures throughout the range of the fish. Things have improved, but there is still considerable commercial pressure on the Mississippi, and considerable trotline pressure on the Missouri.

    Water quality also likely plays a role. The last 50 years have seen some improvements, but fish with high mercury, chlordane, and pcb levels probably aren't as healthy as they might be.
     
  14. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
    there aint no way there are fish gettin past Bowersock. it has about a 20 yard opening that the water freefalls 15 foot. i'll kiss yer but and give ya all day to draw a crowd if there are cats gettin up that waterfall
     
  15. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
    im talkin bout em goin up stream. thats why we dont have any of the MO big blues up this far.
     
  16. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Normally they don't get through unless they can swim up through the turbines, but in major flood years it would be possible, like in 2007.
     
  17. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    In the next few years there will be some home grown blues above the dam , they are below both milford and tuttle creek.
     
  18. kawriverrat

    kawriverrat Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    KANSAS
    I like most of you here have read most of the studies done on tagging & tracking the three big cat species.

    I will repeat what I was told by my Grandpa & Tom Burns. They both claimed to have seen major schools of Flathead moving upstream during in Lawerence & Desoto area different years. I have not seen this, niether has any that I know. At least not of the magnitude that they described.
    I f memory serves this took place in the 1950s a few years before the low head dam was in place at 4-35.
    Not saying that proves anything. Just something to think about.
     
  19. kawriverrat

    kawriverrat Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    KANSAS
    You are correct I have done well on the Blue River below Rocky Ford catching Blues. Need to have permission to fish this stretch from bank or boat.
     
  20. kawriverrat

    kawriverrat Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    KANSAS
    I bet a few also got through in 03. What an experience that was fishing during that year.