MDC announces changes to boating regulations at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area at Lee’s Summit

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will now allow small watercraft and float tubes to be used at four lakes and designated waterfowl hunting pools at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area at Lee’s Summit. Carry-in boats that can be launched by hand can now be used at Catclaw, Cottontail, Gopher, and Jackrabbit lakes, as well as at designated waterfowl hunting pools. This change in the area’s regulations was earlier approved by the Missouri Conservation Commission and became effective Feb. 28. Public comment period for this regulation was available October 15-November 16, 2022.

The change gives anglers additional ways to fish for bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish at the lakes. Recreational paddlers in kayaks and canoes will also have new waters to explore. Waterfowl hunters will be able to use watercraft to hide and retrieve downed game.

MDC staff determined that the four designated lakes can support increased recreational use by anglers and paddle-sports enthusiasts, said Emily Porter, MDC regional recreational use specialist. All four lakes are larger than 26 acres. The infrastructure such as roads and parking lots is sufficient to accommodate hand-launched boats.

This change does not allow watercraft to be launched from trailers backed into the lakes. Only hand-launched boats, kayaks, canoes, and float tubes are allowed. No trailers may be backed into the water or used anywhere other than where vehicles are permitted. Electric motors will still be allowed. Gas motors are prohibited. Float tubes can be used for authorized hunting and fishing activities.

MDC provided some aluminum boats for use on Gopher Lake from April 1 to Sept. 30. Those will no longer be provided, as access has been extended to year-round.

For more information about the regulation change, contact Emily Porter at, or by calling 816-525-0300, ext. 1248. For more information about the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, visit