Large and small flatland reservoirs in the Topeka area offer fine multispecies fishing, with options for largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, crappies, walleyes, saugers, saugeyes, white bass, wipers and more.
"Melvern and Coffey lakes are stellar smallmouth bass lakes," says In-Fisherman Field Editor Ned Kehde. "Coffey is a power-plant reservoir, and some years, smallmouth bass can be readily caught in shallow water in winter. April into November are the best months. It's possible for two anglers to catch 50 to 60 smallmouth bass in four hours.
"Scores of the area's small flatland reservoirs that range in size from 50 to 400 acres have stellar year-round largemouth bass fishing," he says. "These are great Midwest finesse venues and it's fun fishing. For more information, check in-fisherman.com for Ned Kehde's extensive column on Midwest finesse fishing.
While largemouth and smallmouth bass are currently top options in the region's lakes, other opportunities exist to round out a multispecies trip with catfish, crappies, temperate basses (white bass and hybrid striped bass), and walleyes.
"Chummers at lakes Perry, Clinton, Pomona, Melvern, and Coffey catch numbers of channel and blue cats in July and August," Kehde says. Anglers who ply riprap dams and causeways in late May and June catch channel catfish, as well as some flathead and blue catfish. A jig-and-night crawler rig works well, and it's a finesseful way to fish for catfish.
"Walleye anglers who use jigs and nightcrawlers ply main-lake mudflats at Melvern, Coffey, Hillsdale, and Clinton lakes in late April, May, and June. Walleyes generally run smaller, and there are saugers and saugeyes in the mix, too.
"While fishing for temperate bass and crappies isn't what to used to be, Guide Clyde Holscher had several fruitful outings in April and May at Coffey County Lake this year, and there are signs the fishery might be coming back. Offshore fishing is best in the summer. Plying windblown main-lake shorelines and points are the primary focus in the fall. Also check lakes Perry, Clinton, Pomona, Melvern, and Hillsdale for crappies, where knowledgeable anglers still catch them year-around.
Contact: Guide Clyde Holscher, 785/267-0065.
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