A History of Slough Creek Trout Fishery by Ken McCloskey
During the early 1990‘s the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) experimented with winter trout stocking in various state waters. These were generally one time stockings with trout obtained from other states through channel cat trades. Wichita received one of these stocking in the Little Arkansas River above the old KP&L dam at the confluence with the Arkansas River. This stocking did not produce many trout to the creel. The fish were believed to have migrated over the dam and dispersed in the big river.
In early1994 the KDWP decided that the experimental trout stockings and angler surveys showed enough interest in winter trout fishing to justify a statewide trout-stocking program supported by a trout stamp. Implementation of this program was scheduled for October 15th, 1994 through April 15th 1995.
Initial Wichita candidates for these stockings were KDOT East Lake and two Sedgwick County Park (SCP) Lakes. After numerous discussions it was decided to try to locate some moving water for a trout stocking. This proved to be more difficult than had been expected. Many acceptable areas were rejected because of liability issues, access problems, or trout confinement problems. Finally, Slough Creek through SCP was chosen for the project. This stream was far from being ideal but it was the best choice available and it had some potential. Slough Creek through SCP is a designated floodway; in 1994 it had been channelized and dropped a mere 3 feet from 21st to 13th Street. This small gradient dictated that some structures be placed in the creek to concentrate flows and create meanders and pools.
Kansas law dictates that Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), Division of Water Resources (DWR), approve any stream water obstruction. Because this area was a designated floodway DWR was extremely cautious about issuing a permit on this area. It took two years and a big pile of paper work to obtain the necessary permits.
During the long permit waiting period KDWP was stocking trout in Slough Creek and with volunteer help from Flatland Fly Fishers members making some minor trout habitat improvements. KDWP committed $6,000 to the project. Sedgwick County had a permit to maintain the Slough Creek floodway through SCP and their flood control crew was on stand-by to dig a channel from 21st to 13th Street.
In the summer of 1997 permits were finally issued for construction of in-stream structures. The Sedgwick County flood control crew dug out a channel and five thousand concrete riprap bags were used to construct four wedge dams in Slough Creek. Help with construction was provided by SCP personnel, convict labor and KDWP.
In the 12 years of operation the Slough Creek winter trout fishery has provided numerous hours of trout fishing recreation to Kansas anglers. It has also become home trout waters to FFF members. In recent years FFF members have also become increasingly involved with maintenance of the Slough Creek.