Kanopolis Lake, Kansas, USA
Kanopolis Lake is a man-made reservoir located near Ellsworth, Kansas. The lake is the result of a dam constructed from 1940-1948 on the Smoke Hill River, making it one of the oldest lakes in the state. The main purposes of Kanopolis Lake are flood control, irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, water quality, downstream low flow augmentation, and water supply. Constructed because of the Flood Control Act of…
Keep scrolling to read more.
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Kanopolis Lake! Article topics include:
- All About Kanopolis Lake
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Kanopolis Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Kanopolis Lake Gifts
Looking for Kanopolis Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.
All About Kanopolis Lake, KS
Kanopolis Lake is a man-made reservoir located near Ellsworth, Kansas. The lake is the result of a dam constructed from 1940-1948 on the Smoke Hill River, making it one of the oldest lakes in the state. The main purposes of Kanopolis Lake are flood control, irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, water quality, downstream low flow augmentation, and water supply.
Constructed because of the Flood Control Act of 1938, Kanopolis Lake was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and they still maintain it to this day. The main purpose of the lake is flood control, and to maintain the minimum flow of the Smoke Hill River. Under normal conditions the lake boasts 41 miles of shoreline, and when it is at flood stage, it more than triples to 135 miles of shoreline.
Recreation is another important purpose of Kanopolis Lake, and for this purpose there are six recreation areas around the lake. Four are maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, and the other two are part of Kanopolis State Park. Kanopolis State Park was, in fact, the first state-owned park in Kansas. The park boasts over 300 campsites, a service marina, 25 miles of hiking trails, swimming beaches, horseback riding, biking trails, and numerous picnic areas.
Since recreation is a vital role for Kanopolis Lake, the Corps and the State have made it easy for anyone to get access to the water. Three public boat launches are available, and one whole section of the lake is set aside for fishing only. Check with local officials, though, because this section is part of a wildlife refuge, and is sometimes closed to the public. Fish species include White Bass, Walleye, Saugeye, Channel Catfish, Wipers, and Crappie, attracting thousands of fishermen each year.
The wildlife refuge at Kanopolis Lake is one place that has more than its fair share of numerous species. Coyote, beaver, mink, bobcat, raccoon, muskrat and that lone American marsupial, the opossum, abound. And even more easily found are squirrel, whitetail deer, quail, rabbit, pheasant, prairie chicken, turkey, and several types of waterfowl. Hunting is allowed with a permit during proper seasons.
Kanopolis Lake is carved out of the nearby Dakota Sandstone Bluffs, and there are numerous caves to explore around the lake; the most popular are located near Horsethief Canyon. Trails abound, and when you are finished crawling around in the caves, you can climb up the bluffs to remind yourself what is above all of those fascinating caves. In addition, Ellsworth County has a couple of interesting museums: Fort Harker and Hodgen House. They are worth a visit if you have time.
The water is lovely on a hot summer day, and Kansas sure gets its share of those. Kanopolis Lake is a high traffic lake as far as water sports go, but there is room for all. Boats, jet skis, water skiers and canoes are all at home with one another, and everyone keeps it civilized. Swimming is a great way to cool off and spend time with the kids. The swimming beaches are well maintained, as are the picnic and camping areas. There are plenty of things to do in this area – enough to plan a whole vacation around!
Things to Do at Kanopolis Lake
These are some activities in the Kanopolis Lake, KS area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
- Jet Skiing
- Water Skiing
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- State Park
What Kind of Fish Are in Kanopolis Lake?
Kanopolis Lake has been known to have the following fish species:
- Channel Catfish
- Saugeye Perch
- White Bass
Find Places to Stay at Kanopolis Lake
If you’re considering a Kanopolis Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. Read our full disclosure policy here.
More Sites to Book a Kanopolis Lake Vacation
Our interactive Kanopolis Lake lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
Kanopolis Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Surface Area: 3,406 acres
Shoreline Length: 41 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,463 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,426 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,508 feet
Average Depth: 15 feet
Maximum Depth: 35 feet
Water Volume: 50,273 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1948
Water Residence Time: 3 months
Lake Area-Population: 543
Drainage Area: 2,327 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
We strive to keep information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. If you’ve found something here that needs updating, please touch base by filling out our Content Correction form.
Shop Kanopolis Lake Gifts
More Kanopolis Lake news from LakeLubbers.com
- Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
- The Kanopolis Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
- New Kanopolis Lake photos coming soon!
- You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
- Share this Kanopolis Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers: