Strip Pit Fishing

Strip pit fishing property has become a high demand item in the local hunting and fishing industry. These lakes are the end result of coal mining. After the mining companies complete their excavation work the coal dumps are filled with water and stocked with fish to meet environmental codes. The remainder of the property is left to grow up in brush and trees.

Much of the reclaimed land is rough, hilly and overgrown in timber. Many of the lakes are easily accessible and some have very difficult access, especially in the summer time.

MAHA has over 700 acres of strip pit land for fishing and hunting in Southeast Kansas and 40 acres in Southwest Missouri. The Kansas strip pit fishing lakes were stocked over 40 years ago with bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. The Missouri strip pit fishing lakes were stocked with the same fish at about the same period of time, but don’t have the variety of water to choose from as our Kansas lakes.

Many fishermen and women are attracted to strip pit fishing because of the amount of trophy fish that have been caught. Over the years, many bass in the 7+ pound range and crappie in the 2+ pound range have been caught and released by our members. Catfishing is overlooked by many of our members but several have reported catching channel cats over 10 pounds.


The lakes are long, narrow and deep in spots. The majority of these lakes are clear, which can make the fishing difficult to the average angler. Those with access to small boats and canoes have the best luck because the banks are steep and difficult to fish on foot.

The heavy timber and hills surrounding these lakes are prime habitat for deer, turkey and many other animals.

Strip pit fishing land with surrounding crop fields adjoining are a prime set up for both the archery and firearms deer and turkey hunter. Those seeking heavy timber are very comfortable hunting the hills surrounding the lakes, but the average hunter is intimidated by the dense cover.

Strip Pit Fishing Lake 1 is not your typical lake surrounded with heavy timber. It has easy access and is surrounded by over 60 acres of flat pasture. The water body is approximately 1/4 mile long and 40 to 50 yards in width. Stocked over 20 years ago with bass, bluegill and channel cats, it’s anyone’s guess of the size of the fish that inhabit this water.

The lake drops off sharply from the shore and averages 10 to 15 feet in depth with a decent weed line surrounding the shoreline during the summer months.

Rubber worms and crank baits are popular baits to fish for bass on this type of strip pit lake.

Strip Pit FishingCover for the young to grow big.

Years ago, one of our landowners told us there are 3 ingredients to quality fishing and hunting land; habitat, habitat and habitat. We’ve remembered for what that statement is worth and do everything we can 12 months out of the year to help improve the habitat on our land.

This water was lacking good fishing and believed to be caused by a lack of bait fish. We cut cover for bait fish habitat. This is a picture of the cover that can be seen. What is not seen are the many cedar’s tossed in with cement blocks to anchor them down.

Strip Pit Fishing Lake # 2 is long and narrow with a small cove extended to the east. The cove is approximately 100 yards in length, shallow in spots and gradually drops off to 10 to 15 feet of water. During the spawning months of April and May, the cove will be ideal for the female fish to spawn.

This lake was stocked at the same time as the other surrounding lakes 15 plus years ago, so the potential for a trophy fish is there. Bass, bluegill and catfish are definitely in the lake, but crappie are uncertain at this point.

The water is very clear with good edge vegetation for the small fish to hide and grow.

If you are looking for a place to take a young child to fish we recommend farm ponds over strip pit lakes because the degree of difficulty is much higher in strip pit lakes and fishing from the shore is limited.

Strip Pit Fishing Lake # 3 is the main lake on a 160 acre farm of lots of water, brush and timber. The lake is over 1/4 mile long and 40 to 50 yards in width. Access is easy but the banks are thick and grown up with brush.

Throughout this farm are countless hard to access small strip pit fishing lakes that the members never venture into because of the amount of the more easily accessible ones they have to choose from.

The water in this lake is slightly stained and has a lot of vegetation during the summer months. The depth varies from 2 to 12 feet and was stocked in the 1970’s with bluegill and bass.

Most fishermen come strip pit fishing are searching for a trophy bass, while others enjoy fly fishing for bluegill.

After the water warms up and the fish spawn top water lures are productive to work the edges and open pockets of the weeds.

A bobber with live crickets for bluegill can make for an action packed day for both the adult and child.

Strip Pit Fishing Lake

Strip Pit # 4 is not very large and has all the ingredients for good fishing. The water is slightly stained but fairly clear. There are a lot of fallen trees in the lake and during the peak of the summer months it is about 20% covered in vegetation.

The depth is from 2 to 18 feet and was stocked years ago with bass, bluegill and channel cats. Crappie may be there, but we haven’t had any reports of crappie at this time. Some of these waters are stocked with crappie after heavy rains by adjoining rivers and streams. After a few years, a good population becomes established and it’s a bonus that was given to us by mother nature.

We heavily promote catch and release with bass so the big ones can be enjoyed by others. If a lake or pond shows signs of being overpopulated we move fish to other locations that need more fish.

# 4 is one that has the potential to produce an 8+ pound bass and there might be a few that have been caught by the members. We don’t require our members to report what they have caught or harvested because the results of everyone’s hard work and effort is there own business.

Strip Pit Fishing Lake# 5 is an L shaped pit with both shallow and deep water. The deepest part is 5 to 15 feet.

The water clarity is fairly stained in the shallows and clear on the deep side.

A lot of these waters are deep and clear without much structure. This strip pit is old and has many tree around it that have decayed and fallen into the lake providing cover for the fish to hide and structure for better fishing.

Bass, bluegill, channel cats and crappie are in this lake and not too many of either species exists, which provides a good balance of fish.

Strip Pit Fishing LakeThe lake is on a 540 acre farm with many small secluded ones that never see a lure. Several members fish these areas during the spring turkey season for a combo hunt and fish trip.

Strip Pit Fishing Lake # 6 is approximately 1/2 mile long and 40 yards in width. The water is clear but there is a lot of green vegetation to break up the clarity of the water for quality fishing.

There are several coves along the shoreline with shallow water for the fish to spawn in the spring. When the coves meet the main lake they drop from 6 to 15 feet providing good summer habitat.

The lake was stocked in the 1970’s and the lease has been in the Association for close to 20 years. Several years ago a member reported catching a 10 pound bass, but we do not have a photo for proof, so the claim is still a mystery.

The east side of the lake is bordered by over 100 acres of solid timber with an abundance of deer and turkey. Waterfowl use these waters, but the members seldom use them for waterfowl hunting because of the steep banks and deep water.