NOTE: The following article is a reprint from the Fort Riley Outdoorsmen's Group Library.


Rainbow trout in Kansas? It's true. The popular fish that conjures up visions of casting artificial flies into a cold mountain stream can also be found on Fort Riley. Although we don't have the mountain streams, we do have cold and we do have trout. And with a little imagination, Cameron Springs and Moon Lake can be high mountain lakes in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

OK, that might be a little bit of a stretch.

Rainbow trout are not native to the state of Kansas. They were originally found in the lakes and streams draining the Pacific slope, from Alaska to northern Baja, Mexico, as well as the Pacific coastal streams of Asia. The first stocking of rainbows in the eastern states occurred in 1880, when the U.S. Fish Commission delivered rainbows originating near McCloud River, California. The species can now be found throughout the United States and in many countries around the world. They are best adapted to cool waters that contain higher concentrations of oxygen. Most Kansas streams and lakes can only support trout in the colder months of the year when dissolved oxygen is at its highest concentration.

Cameron Springs was one of the first places in the state of Kansas to provide trout fishing. Over the years, it has provided enjoyment to many, including military and civilians. Fort Riley purchased trout mainly from the Neosho National Fish Hatchery in Neosho, Missouri. The hatchery was established in 1888 as the first federal hatchery west of the Mississippi. It is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with its primary mission to provide fish for Lake Tanycomo and surrounding impoundments. Another part of their mission is to provide hatchery fish for reimbursement to other federal agencies, which was how we received trout for Fort Riley.

Moon Lake became Fort Riley's designated trout fishery in 2004 as construction of the new water treatment plant adjacent to Cameron Springs was taking place. Then in 2006, Fort Riley entered into an agreement with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to provide trout to the installation in lieu of Fort Riley dropping its requirement for a Fort Riley Fishing Permit. Not a bad deal for us. Persons fishing on Fort Riley no longer had to buy a Fort Riley Fishing Permit and we received our fish at no charge from the state of Kansas. Some $53,000 worth of catfish and trout in 2007-2008, which is twice the amount we could afford to stock on Fort Riley in the years prior.

Even better news is that both Cameron Springs and Moon Lake will be fully stocked with trout beginning with the 2007-2008 season. More than 12,000 lbs of trout will be stocked on Fort Riley, which is the highest stocking rate of any location in the state of Kansas. The basis for all this good fishing news is that the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks sold more trout stamps in the Fort Riley area than any other location in Kansas. The bottom line is that Fort Riley is receiving a bountiful supply of stocked fish without the additional cost of a Fort Riley Fishing Permit.

All persons between the ages of 16-64 must possess a valid Kansas Fishing License. In addition, persons actively fishing for trout must possess a valid Kansas Trout Stamp as required by the state of Kansas. These and other Kansas hunting and fishing licenses are available at any state designated license vendor including the Fort Riley Conservation Office. For more information, please visit the Conservation Office or call 239-6211. You may also visit our: Fishing Information Library

Dave's notes: The thing that makes Fort Riley's outdoor experience the best in the country (in my humble opinion) is the love and willingness of the men and women who are stationed here or who retire here. They devote their time, money, and energy into preserving the habitat and beauty of this remarkable place. If you are here for the first time I want to STRONGLY encourage you to join the Fort Riley Outdoorsmen's Group. And ladies even though it says "Outdoorsmen's" we have many fine women members who put us men to shame when it comes to their dedication and hard work. In short, Ladies you are more than welcome and we can use you. FROG is NOT a men's only group. Also if you haven't attended the monthly meeting, than DO! Just drop me a line and I'll be happy to relay the information. I am at: