Ford County Lake

I spent many a evening out at Ford County Lake with my Grandfather Glenn Hoofnagle. He was my mother's father and was a great fisherman. He could catch fish when no one else did and my love for fishing was fueled by going with him and watching him haul in huge catfish and bass from the lakes we visited.

They ate everything they caught and never wasted a thing. Combined with garden produce we had some good meals around that old dining room table.

The lake itself is in a small draw with some rock bluffs around it making for good hiding places for the fish when it is full. Grandpa told me he would go out there when the lake was low and memorize each rock formation so that later he could fish those areas when the water level came up.

One method he used was to cast a plastic worm out over one of the submerged cliffs and let t settle to the bottom. Then, ever so slowly, he would turn the handle on his fishing reel one revolution about every 30 seconds. This was too slow for an impatient youth to fish like that but he caught some massive channel cats like that.

The lake is a muddy one but he was able to catch fish on lures regardless. I have not been here for some time but would like to know if it even has water in it.

Ford State Fishing Lake




Dodge City, KS
GPS: 37.82573 -99.91644

Contact Information

Manager: Todd Gatton
Phone: (620) 895-6446


The dam was originally built in 1936. In 1990, the area was donated to the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks in order to renovate the lake for fishing. At the same time, Ford County assumed management of the area for public use. In 1991-1992, the lake was renovated and stocked with fish after filling.


Ford State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area is located in Ford County, approximately 3 miles north and 5 miles east of Dodge City. The property consists of 260 acres of uplands, 10 acres of wetlands, and a 45 acre lake. The uplands and wetlands are made up of heavily timbered riparian areas along the creek, native grass on the side slopes, and old crop fields on the flatter upland terrain. An old 4-H campis located on the east side and is presently maintained as a Boy Scout area