Wilson Lake, KS

Wilson Lake, Kansas

Wilson Lake is an important recreational resource for many of the surrounding towns. It is a 9,100-acre lake and has over 100 miles of beautiful shoreline. Considered to be a premier striped bass and smallmouth bass lake, fishing is the top pleasure at Wilson Lake, but there are more things to do.

Five parks are provided for your enjoyment. These areas include showers, boat-launching ramps, overnight camping pads, fresh water, picnic tables, grills, swim beaches, group shelters, sand volleyball courts, and playground equipment. There is also mountain biking, boating, swimming, bird watching, and much more. For those into mountain biking, a new bike trail was recently opened and loops a four-mile path over hills and rocks. The trail is rated as an intermediate level and has some technical sections. The surrounding hills provide good climbs and hair-raising descents. Those looking for a relaxing time can check out the Bur Oak Nature Trail located below the dam at Lake Wilson. It is short, but an enjoyable nature trail that is 3/4 of a mile and has information about the surrounding community?s ecosystem.

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Wilson Lake Fishing

Wilson Fishing
Wilson FishingWelcome to 9,000 acre Wilson Lake, the clearest lake in Kansas. Wilson Lake remains one of the most scenic and better fishing areas in Kansas. Currently, the lake holds two state records, one for walleye and one for striped bass. The stripe bass, an ocean native, reaches weights of over 40 pounds in the lake\'s salty waters.

Populations of many game fish species have been enhanced by a stocking program conducted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Good channel and flathead catfish can be found in the lake. Worms, minnows, shad and crayfish are preferred baits.

A good population of crappie can be found in wooded coves and submerged brush piles using jigs and live minnows. The best times for crappie fishing are spring and late fall. Brush pile fish attractors have been added to the lake to enhance crappie habitat.

Good numbers of largemouth bass are caught near brushy cover, so anglers should concentrate their efforts near standing timber and brush piles. We recommend using worms, crankbaits, and spinner baits.

In early April, good numbers of walleye can be taken off the face of the dam. Try the mudflats during May and June. Jigs, spoons, and trolling baits are effective.

Good numbers of smallmouth bass are also present and may be caught near rocky points.

Wilson Lake Hunting

Wilson Hunting
The lake attracts thousands of waterfowl in the spring and fall. Ring-necked pheasants, bobwhites, white-tailed deer, and cottontails provide a challenge for fall hunters. More than 9,000 acres of land are available for public hunting at Wilson.

Wilson Lake Camping

Wilson Campgrounds
Wilson CampgroundsFive campgrounds are conveniently located around Wilson Lake. The Corps manages three of these campgrounds in Lucas, Minooka, and Sylvan Parks. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks manages the two State Parks, Wilson State Park and Otoe Park Area.

Wilson State Park is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the state. Located in the heart of the Smoky Hills approximately 25 miles east of Russell, Wilson is divided into two areas that offer both utility and primitive camping. Water hookups and shower buildings are available from April through September, and frost-free hydrants and several vault toilets are open in the winter months. Equipment and facilities are available for sand volleyball, basketball and horseshoe pitching. Two designated swimming beaches add to the fun.

For RV users, the park has three dump stations, two in Hell Creek and one in Otoe. Selected sites can be reserved for a fee through the park office. Available on a first-come first-serve basis, these sites are reservable April 1 through October 31.

Entrance stations are located at most campgrounds and all campgrounds are patrolled routinely by Park Rangers and and Russell County Sheriff's Deputies.


Minooka Park, located on the south side of Wilson Lake, is the most highly developed area on the lake. Amenities include 158 campsites of which 102 have electrical hookups and 8 have electric and water hookups. Also included are a playground, volleyball court, three boat ramps, a beach, two shower buildings, reservable group camp and day use shelter, two sanitary dumpstations, and numerous vault toilets. Fees range from $16 for a prime site to $10 for a basic campsite per night. Fees are collected from April 15 to October 15.

Lucas Park, located on the north side of the lake is quickly becoming a popular camping area. Facilities include 103 developed campsites of which 62 have electrical hookups and 8 have electric and water hookups. Other facilities available include shower buildings, sanitary dumpstation, playground, reservable group camp and day use shelter, boat ramp, beach, handicap fishing dock, and numerous picnic areas and vault toilets. Fees in this area also range form $16 for a prime site to $10 for a basic site per night. Fees are collected from April 15 to October 15.

Sylvan Park is located below the dam near the administration building. Sylvan has a total of 15 campsites 9 of which have electric and water. Facilities available include a primitive group camp, one day use shelter, a playground, a horseshoe pit, and a vault toilet. Fees in this area range from $12 for a prime site to $8 for a basic site per night. Fees are collected from April 15 to October 15. From Oct. 16 - April 14th there is an $8.00 fee for utility sites.

Wilson Lake Boating

Wilson Boating
Wilson BoatingWhether canoeing power boating or sailing, Wilson Lake, the clearest lake in Kansas, has something to offer for all.

Boaters on Wilson Lake will enjoy the large main body of the lake on calm days for water skiing and pleasure boating. Sail boaters can find plenty of room to maneuver on Wilson Lake as well. A day use fee of $2 is required to launch at the Corps managed boat ramps in Minooka Park and the Spillway Boat Ramp. The state parks require a $4 motor vehicle entrance permit.

Of the two boat ramps in the state park, the Hell Creek area ramp is designed for use by boats too large to launch elsewhere. A handicap-accessible courtesy dock is located at the Hell Creek ramp. The marina in the Hell Creek area provides boat and slip rentals, boat fuel, convenience items and permit sales.

Wilson Lake Trails

Wilson Hiking and Nature Trails
Wilson Hiking and Nature TrailsThe Rocktown Hiking Trail, located in the western part of Lucas Park, is a 3-mile loop trail that begins and ends at the parking lot access area on the east side of Rocktown. The 305-acre area has been registered as a Kansas Natural and Scientific Area by the Kansas Biological Survey in agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The area is characterized by rolling hills with shallow sandy soils, steep slopes along the valley wall, and rock outcroppings. Massive red sandstone rock formations rise 15 to 30 feet above the ground and give the visual impression of a city skyline, hence the name Rocktown. The area is closed to all vehicular traffic. Brochures for this self-guided hike are available at the trail entrance.

Bur Oak Nature Trail

The Bur Oak Nature Trail is a 3/4-mile nature walk located below the dam and adjacent to Sylvan Park. The trail provides visitors with a better understanding of the area's ecology. A brochure describing the stops along the trail is available at the trail head. The Corps of Engineers Office and Information Center located on the northeast corner of the dam has additional brochures concerning Wilson Lake and other Corps lakes.

Wilson Lake Mountain Biking

Wilson Bike Trails
Wilson Bike TrailsThe Switchgrass Bike Trail is available for mountain bikers to pursue this increasingly popular activity. The trail was recently opened and loops a four-mile path over hills and rocks, with the trialhead located at the Switchgrass Restroom parking lot. The trail is rated as an intermediate level and has some technical sections. The surrounding hills provide good climbs and hair-raising descents.

Wilson Lake Fishing Reports

Wilson Lake Fishing Reports

This is just to remind you that fishing reports are given with the best intentions to help you catch fish. And do remember fishing reports given a few hours ago can change due to a whole list of circumstances. But ---- they are still one of the best ways to determine if fish are biting or not. You might consider calling someone local to find out if the report is still current. Otherwise go and have a good time in participating in the challenge of catching some fish while you have fun fishing!

And if your at your destination for a day or more check out the LASR menu above for local events, attractions and businesses that are there to help make your trip more enjoyable. And thanks to those who do their best to give us great fishing information!


Wilson Lake Organizations

Kansas Walleye Association
You are invited to the five scheduled tournaments at some of the finest lakes in Kansas.

The KWA welcomes anglers of all ages. It is tournament fishing for fun. Many of our teams consist of men and women, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, cousins, friends and co-workers.

The 2013 KWA Season starts in May and concludes in mid-June.

Address: 1314 N. Wilshire Drive, Hutchinson, KS 67501
Phone: 620-662-0296
Our Email:

Lake Area Events

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