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Summer 2014 Issue

Catfish Paradise
By Joe Zentner


As a sport fish catfish may not have the cachet of bass or trout, but as table fare they're unrivaled. It doesn't matter whether you go after blues, channel cats, flatheads or bullheads; Kansas has delicious whiskerfish aplenty.

Channel catfish at Tuttle Creek ReservoirDespite an ability to grow to immense size and a willingness to clamp down on a variety of baits, catfish are accorded respect by too few anglers. Sure, catching a 2-pound bass is fun, but catching a 20-pound catfish is even more fun in the opinion of some anglers, including myself. In many states, including Kansas, catching a 20-pounder isn't all that difficult.

Furthermore, a tasty bonus comes with this fishing action: for every monster catfish that swims in state waters, many smaller cats, each one just the right size as the main ingredient for a fish fry, are eager to take the bait. No matter how you cut it: big fish or small, river, lake or pond, a catfish angler can't go wrong.

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Visitors Flock to Cheynne Bottoms Wildlife Area
By Cecilia Harris

If you are looking for a water slide or a wave pool at two of the biggest water attractions in the state, you’re out of luck. Yet millions of visitors flock to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge near Great Bend every year. And every year these visitors — various species of migrating birds — attract a steady stream of tourists traveling the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway.

The 77-mile Byway connects these two diverse wetlands where water fowl feed and rest while journeying along a major migration route called the Central Flyway. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is considered the largest inland freshwater marsh in the country, while Quivira Wildlife Refuge contains salt water marshes, a rare habitat in the Midwest. Both are essential resting points providing food and cover for migratory birds during flight between breeding and wintering areas in Canada and South America.

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Accounts of the 1951 Kansas River Flood
By Barbara Higgins-Dover

There have been numerous floods in the state of Kansas. Some of the biggest and most devastating are known to have happened in 1826, 1827, 1844 and 1903, just to name a few. One of the most well documented of those came when the Kansas River spilled over its banks in July of 1951. The flooding started above Manhattan on the Big Blue River. Downstream flooding continued in Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City. In Topeka alone 7,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. The rising river waters caused transportation throughout the river basin to cease. The damage at that time exceeded $935 million in an area covering eastern Kansas and Missouri. The flood resulted in the loss of 17 lives and displaced 518,000 people.

Houses and buildings collapsed or floated away. People stood on rooftops stranded and waiting for rescue while the structures beneath them filled with sand and mud from the roaring waters of the Kaw. The residents living in cities near the river hadn’t seen devastation such as this since 1903. This disaster however, surpassed anything that had come before, and was foretold by old Indian prophecy as far as the eye can see and from "hill to hill."

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Last Updated September 30, 2014
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