PRATT – What’s a bathymetric map, you ask? Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors. So, it’s really a topographical map of the lake’s floor, and those maps have traditionally only been available for our larger reservoirs. However, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) fisheries biologists have been working on a project for the past year to build bathymetric maps of many of our smaller lakes. Anglers can use these maps to help locate fishing hotspots.

To be successful, anglers rely on using an assortment of tools, including specialized rods and reels, different colors and sizes of lures, the newest electronics, and cell phone apps that give up-to-the-minute weather reports. And maps that show depth and contours of the lake floors can help anglers locate spots that hold fish or are fish highways.

Biologists created bathymetric maps of these smaller lakes for two reasons: they help biologists manage fisheries more efficiently and they help anglers find more fish. These new maps will help anglers identify creek channels, depth changes, and in some cases, habitat cubes placed in the last few years. In other words, a little bit of studying can help anglers navigate new water quickly and efficiently.

There are currently 46 bathymetric maps available for small impoundments across Kansas that can be accessed at ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Bathymetric-Lake-Maps. More maps will be added as they are completed, so check back if you don’t see your favorite fishing spot. Equipped with these new tools, you can enjoy the Kansas fishing opportunities KDWPT staff work so hard to conserve and enhance.