Cowley State Fishing Lake & Water Fall, Kansas

Cowley State Fishing Lake is a small man-made lake located in Cowley County, Kansas.

Cowley State Fishing Lake was created as part of a flood control project and made available to the Kansas Forestry Fish and Game Commission in 1953. The 84-acre lake was drained and rehabilitated in 1988-1989. Fish attractors were installed in the lake, and necessary maintenance was performed. The lake was allowed to refill in the spring of 1989, and a restocking program began that year.

The 84-acre lake is surrounded by 113 acres of Flint Hills prairie called the Cowley Wildlife Area. The water can get up to 32 feet deep, and anglers enjoy catching game fish, including channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, walleye, crappie, and flathead. Regular stocking keeps the fish population plentiful, which draws anglers in and keeps them coming back. The water quality of the lake is excellent and extremely clear.

Cowley County Fishing Lake, courtesy Google Maps.

Cowley County Fishing Lake, courtesy Google Maps.

Hunting is allowed on the lake and its surrounding 113 acres. Although the area is small, hunters have had success hunting quail, rabbits, and squirrels.  Many nongame species are also present in the area for bird watching and photography. It is just off the small parking lot at the west end.

Some of the other activities that visitors can enjoy include hiking, biking, and birdwatching. The lake is also home to a population of white-tailed deer.

Cowley Waterfall, courtesy Kansas Travel.

Cowley Waterfall, courtesy Kansas Travel.

One of the best sites at the lake is the Cowley Waterfall at the far northwest end of the property. Named by Yahoo Travel as one of the Top 12 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in America, the water falls about 25 feet down the rock face.

Facilities at the lake include one boat ramp, a wooden fishing dock, a fish cleaning station, a courtesy boat dock, numerous earthen fishing piers, pit toilets, and picnic tables. Some waterfront lights are present in the area. Primitive campsites are allowed along the north shore of the lake, with a seven-day maximum.

Boats are allowed for fishing only, cannot create a wake, and no permanent docking is allowed at the courtesy boat dock.

Cowley State Fishing Lake is located 16 miles east of Arkansas City, immediately adjacent to Highway 166.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated January 2024.

Also See:

Cowley County, Kansas

Cowley County Photo Gallery

Every Place in Kansas

Kansas Waterways


Kansas Department of Wildlife
Kansas State Parks
Kansas Travel
Travel Kansas