Clark State Fishing Lake

Clark State Fishing Lake
Clark State Lake - All photos on this page by Jim Mason

Approaching through flat farmlands and pasturelands, visitors are pleasantly surprised to discover Clark State Fishing Lake nestled in the deep Bluff Creek canyon. Several short drives or walks, on both sides of the lake, provide scenic vistas of this rugged western Kansas treasure.

The mixed grass prairie hilltops and canyon sides are dominated by yucca and aromatic sumac. Burrows of kangaroo rats are seen under the yucca clumps and along the roadside soil banks. You may spot coyote tracks in the dust; watch for these wily predators in early morning and late evening. Interesting reptiles include collared and Texas horned lizards and western rattlesnakes. Lark sparrows are found along the roads, and rock wrens find suitable nesting habitat along the steep canyon walls.

At the far northeast corner of the lake is the Jay R. Wood Memorial Nature Trail, which crosses Bluff Creek on this bridge and then makes a loop through tall cottonwood bottomlands.   Red-headed woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches, and other woodland birds are found along the trail.  Poison ivy is prevalent in the undergrowth, so those who are sensitive should beware.

Bridge over Bluff Creek

The lake is attractive to ducks and geese, and ospreys are common during the fall migration. Herons, gulls, and terns are also seen. During summer, both eastern and western kingbirds nest in the campground trees and noisily defend their territories.

Clark State Lake panorama
Panoramic view of Clark State Lake - Photo collage by Jim Mason

bulletUser fees, Shelter House, Restroom, Water available, Boat Ramps.

Camping icon Primitive camping only.

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Trail icon Jay Wood Memorial Nature Trail (1 mile).  The gravel road leading from the trailhead to K-94 highway (2.2 miles loop) is an enjoyable hike.

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Clark State Lake map

Location in Kansas

Directions: From Kingsdown (on U.S. 54 Highway, 20 miles SE of Dodge City), follow K-94 south 10 miles. The highway ends at the lake.

For a Google Map of the area, click here.

Ownership: The responsible entity for management of Clark State Lake is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.  Contact them at  (620) 227-8609 if you have specific questions about use or management of this site. 1,240 acres
You may download the KDWPT brochure on Clark State Fishing Lake from their web site.

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