Fishing and Hunting
John Redmond Reservoir provides excellent opportunities for fishing and hunting. Principal species of fish in the lake include white crappie, walleye, white bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism has a license to manage 1,472 acres for wildlife management. The licensed area is known as the Otter Creek Game Management Area and is managed primarily for bobwhite quail, mourning dove, greater prairie chicken, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, white-tailed deer, and turkey.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 18,500 acres of project land under a cooperative agreement for operation of the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is managed as part of the national migratory waterfowl program and is open to public hunting during the hunting season. The exception is the area north of the Neosho River which is closed to public access from October 1 through December 31 each year. Detailed refuge hunting information can be obtained from the refuge manager in Hartford, Kansas.
Hunting and fishing activities are regulated by federal and state laws. Courtesy and safety should be practiced when using public lands.
Camping and Picnicking
John Redmond Reservoir has three recreation parks which provide camping and picnicking facilities. These park facilities include individual camping units (table, cooker, fire ring, utility hookups - water and electric), and waterborne toilets and shower facilities. Other facilities provided include group camping areas, group picnic shelters, and boat launching ramps. There are three additional areas that provide boat launching ramps only.
Boating on the lake is in accordance with Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism regulations and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations. Youth 12 and under must wear a lifejacket at all times when onboard a boat. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages all boaters to wear their lifejackets at all times and to learn to swim well!
John Redmond Reservoir is located in the broad Neosho River Valley. The rolling hills afford the visitor an opportunity to see many acres of agriculture and grassland. Fields of wheat, corn, and maize are abundant. Large areas of native tall-grass prairie on the rolling hilltops include species such as Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indian Grass, Switch Grass, Brome Grass, and Sideoats Grama which provide a waving sea of grass during the summer. These grasses become a colorful landscape in the fall. The bottomland areas consist of wooded cover of such species as elm, black walnut, hickory, ash, hackberry, cottonwood, oak, and cedar.
John Redmond Reservoir has no designated swim beaches. Swim and wade only where you are familiar with the water depths and bottoms. Do not swim alone; have an adult with you. Be careful of overestimating your swimming ability as water distances are deceiving. Swimmers should not swim at or near boat ramps or courtesy docks.
John Redmond Reservoir has hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. The Hickory Creek Trail is approximately 20 miles long and is a multi-use trail for equestrians, mountain bikers and hikers. There is a 1.5 mile trail located in Riverside East Park for hikers only. There are numerous trails on the Flint Hills Waterfowl Refuge. Additional information can be obtained from the refuge office.