What fish are safe to eat in Kansas?
TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Health and Wildlife officials are considering determining which fish are safe for consumption this year.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have issued a joint statement on active fish consumption advisories for 2024. These advisories specify fish and other aquatic species that should be eaten only in limited amounts or avoided altogether.
Recommended serving sizes for fish fillets before cooking include:
- Adults and children 13 and older – eight ounces
- Children ages six to 12 years – four ounces
- Children under six years of age – 2 ounces
KDHE and KDWP would especially like to highlight the statewide mercury advisory for fish since every fish in Kansas contains a small amount of mercury. Eating fish rich in mercury can lead to harmful conditions such as harming developing fetuses, infants and young children. Those who regularly eat fish, including store-bought fish, should carefully consider the amount being consumed.
Individuals who are sensitive to mercury include women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or who may become pregnant as well as those 17 years of age or younger. The following guidelines apply to these individuals:
- Eat smaller portions – a fillet steak the size of your palm
- Eat types of fish that contain less mercury
- If you don’t know what type or size of fish you ate, wait at least seven days before eating fish again
- When fishing, keep the fish shorter than your forearm or less than 20 inches. Learn more about fishing rules by clicking here.
Fish and preferred and second serving sizes can be found below:
- 1-2 servings per week (preferred)
- Blue and channel catfish
- Common carp
- White corridor
- White perch
- Striped bass
- The eye is light grey
- Bullhead catfish
- One to two classes per month (second)
- Flathead catfish
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Spotted bass
It is recommended to reduce to the above recommendations if you intend to keep fish larger than 20 inches to no more than one serving per week for preferred fish and no more than one serving per month for second choice fish. If you have more specific questions or concerns about mercury content in Kansas fish, contact KDHE. More information can also be found on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.
Other warnings for specific bodies of water across Kansas include:
- Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge just west of the center of the valley to the confluence with the Arkansas River at Wichita (Sedgwick County). Only two servings per month for bottom-feeding fish due to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
- Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to its confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County). Lake K-96 in Wichita (Sedgwick County). Only one serving per month for bottom-feeding fish due to PCBs.
- Mill Creek from Madison Road east of Moreauville to its confluence with the Little Blue River (Washington County). Only one serving of bottom-feeding fish per month due to arsenic.
KDHE and KDWP recommend against eating certain fish or other aquatic wildlife from the following places:
- Antioch Park Lake South in Antioch Park, Overland Park, where all fish contain pesticides such as dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane, and dichlorophenyltrichloroethane, or DDT.
- Arcalon Park in Liberal lakes due to municipal sewage.
- The Arkansas River from Lincoln Street Dam in Wichita downstream to its confluence with Kauskin Creek near Belle Plaine is where bottom-feeding fish contain PCBs.
- The Kansas River from Lawrence, below Bursuk Dam, downstream to Eudora at its confluence with the Wakarusa River, where bottom-feeding fish contain PCBs.
- Mill Creek from Washington, down 18th Route downstream to the confluence with the Little Blue River, where the oysters contain arsenic.
- Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake as shellfish due to lead and cadmium.
- Spring River from its confluence with Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border where shellfish contain lead and cadmium.
For more from Kansas Outdoors, click here. You can stay up to date on the latest breaking news in Northeast Kansas by downloading our mobile app and signing up for our email news alerts. To download the Storm Track Weather app, click here.