New Fishing Opportunity Available At Emporia State University

EMPORIA – King Lake, on the northern edge of Emporia State University (ESU) and I-35, will soon be Kansas’ newest waterbody open to the public for fishing, thanks to an ongoing partnership between ESU and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). Positioned in front of ESU’s newly constructed Prophet Aquatic Research and Outreach Center, King Lake’s fishery will be managed by ESU students enrolled in Fish Ecology and Fisheries Management courses, with the guidance of KDWP Fisheries biologists.

“This arrangement is going to allow students at ESU the opportunity to get hands-on experience managing a fishery, while affording Emporia-area anglers another location to wet a line,” said Ben Neely, KDWP Fisheries biologist. “We’re excited to see this fishery grow and to see more anglers out there enjoying what this lake has to offer.”

An initial survey of the lake was conducted by students in Dr. Rachel Bowes’ Fish Ecology class in November 2021. Working alongside KDWP Fisheries biologists, students sampled 12 fish species, including good numbers of bluegill, largemouth bass, and white crappie. Students also identified management strategies moving forward, which will include supplemental stockings of channel catfish and largemouth bass to help achieve a balanced food web and increase angling opportunities. Additionally, winter stocking of rainbow trout is being considered to provide winter angling opportunities in the area.

“Emporia State University is proud of our long-standing partnership with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks,” said Dr. Brent Thomas, dean of Emporia State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The presence of a public fishing lake on our campus that is collaboratively managed by our students and the agency will provide unique applied-learning opportunities to our Fisheries and Wildlife students.”

Anglers can access King Lake via the I-35 underpass off Highland Street, east of the KDWP Research and Survey office and ESU soccer field. Currently, fishing regulations for King Lake follow statewide regulations; however, regulations may be adapted as additional surveys are conducted (

When fishing at King Lake, a current fishing license is required (unless exempt); and, anglers may keep the following:


Minimum length

Daily creel limit

Channel Catfish






Largemouth Bass

15 inches


For more on fishing in Kansas, visit

For more on ESU’s Prophet Aquatic Research and Outreach Center, visit

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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