Cedar Bluff Reservoir in western Kansas shrank to 1,000 acres during the dry 1980s, then filled to 6,000 acres when the rains came in the 1990s. The lake’s level rose 29 feet in 1993, putting acre upon acre of salt cedar, cottonwood and brush under water. The bass population exploded, and fish from the big year-classes of 1993 and 1994 now weigh 41/2 to 6 pounds. Cedar Bluff has become a popular tournament lake, and its reputation provokes anglers from the Kansas City area to make the long pilgrimmage along I-70. The April pre-spawn period-before the big crowds of anglers and recreational boaters hit the lake-sees the least pressure and the biggest catches of six- to eight-pound fish. Concentrate your efforts close to shore, where bass will be feeding on the bluegills that have become an important forage fish in the lake. An orange, blue or yellow spinnerbait should resemble a young bluegill to a hungry bass. The standby jig-and-pig in frog or crayfish colors fished slowly in the heavy cover is a top producer during the pre-spawn as well. Contact: Cedar Bluff State Park (785-726-3212).
Cedar Bluff Reservoir