PRATT, KS (STL.News) One of southwest Kansas’ most popular and scenic fishing spots, Clark State Fishing Lake, northwest of Ashland, is in better shape than ever after much-needed repair work to the area’s spillway was recently completed. The $1.9 million dollar project was slated to run through mid-November, but thanks to cooperative weather and the diligent efforts of engineering and construction staff, repairs were completed ahead of schedule. Area improvements include repairs to the spillway’s concrete structure, maintenance on the lower tower outlet gates, erosion repair at the outlet structure, removal of sediment and brush from the outlet channel, bank stabilization on the west lake road and east abutment, and replacing the low water crossing downstream of the spillway.
“This is an extremely important resource for our anglers in southwestern Kansas,” said Doug Nygren, director of Fisheries for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “Protecting and maintaining the fishery was at the forefront of our minds throughout the entire project, and I’m pleased to say we were able to do just that. Now that these repairs are complete, I’m confident this fishery will only continue to improve over the coming years.”
Area anglers expressed concern for the lake’s fishery when original plans called for dropping the lake level 25 feet. However, the project, which began last spring, only required a 10-foot drop. It appears the fishery is in excellent shape and will benefit from habitat enhancements that were completed when the lake was down.
While construction is complete and the lake is accessible to the public, the low-water crossing below the dam will be closed to vehicle traffic until the concrete crossing has reached its specified design strength, around Nov. 20.
Nestled in a rugged canyon along Bluff Creek about 9 miles south of Kingsdown, Clark State Fishing Lake covers about 300 acres with a maximum depth of 36 feet deep when full. The lake is stocked with channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, largemouth bass and walleye.