As the weather gets warmer, more visitors begin spending their time at Marion County Lake.
“It’s nice just being away from the city,” said Grant Morton, a Wichita resident. “We come out here every week.”
Morton, his wife, Jessica, and their dog, Hine, spent Saturday camped out on a small point of land along the main path surrounding the lake.
The Mortons cast three grounded fishing poles and set up a tent during their visit.
“I caught a 10-lb. channel catfish out here last year,” Morton said. “We just like fishing and having a good time.”
For Wesley Hykes, fishing at the lake is part of his daily routine. After visiting Marion for his grandmother’s funeral three years ago, the Orlando, Florida native decided to relocate to the county, and now works for Circle D Corporation in Hillsboro.
“I love this lake,” he said. “I come to the same spot every day during the spring, summer, and fall.”
Hykes said his biggest catch was a 12-inch crappie, but he does not have problems catching fish. He had caught four bass Saturday in his first hour of angling.
Lake superintendent Steve Hudson said fishing conditions at the lake usually run two weeks behind the reservoir.
“Now we’ve got a constant temperature in the evening, so fish are getting a chance to spawn,” he said.
Hudson specifically noted he thought crappies around the lake were spawning, which anglers have been using jigs to catch.
From evening until dark, Hudson said largemouth bass have been seen popping out of the water and that hula poppers were a good bait to catch them.
He said stink bait, chicken, and worms near the bottom of the water were good for big channel catfish. As of early Saturday evening, anglers had caught three catfish of 7 lbs, and one each at 10 and 15 lbs.
“I thought we were going to have some (big fish caught) on Memorial Day weekend, but we didn’t,” Hudson said.
Three weeks ago, representatives from Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks used shock therapy at the lake to count certain fish.
“There’s a lot of small bass,” Hudson said. “So in a couple of years there’s going to be a lot.”