Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, USA

Also known as:  Cheney Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Cheney Reservoir.

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Cheney Reservoir visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Kansas - South Central -

Cheney Reservoir is the premier recreation spot for outdoor activity in south central Kansas. Constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation, it was completed in 1964.

Cheney Reservoir lies on the north fork of the Ninnescah River, six miles north of the town of Cheney and 24 miles west of Wichita. The lake was constructed at the lower end of the Ninnescah to provide water for the greater Wichita area — and to provide outdoor recreation and flood control. The reservoir supplies 60% to 70% of Wichita’s water supply.

Lake Cheney’s sprawling 9,537 surface acres of water and 67 miles of shoreline offer a multitude of family-friendly summertime activities. The lake averages 17 feet deep at normal pool, with a maximum depth of 49 feet near the dam.

All 67 miles of the shoreline are available for recreational public use during spring and summer. However, from September 15 to March 1, the waterfowl conservation refuge, including the Cheney Lake’s waters and its shoreline, is off limits to human visitors.

For those who enjoy fishing, jig fishing is especially popular. Cheney Lake hosts crappie, channel catfish, walleye, white bass, wipers and striped bass. The dam is a hot spot in late March and early April for walleye. White bass spawn in May. Channel catfish frequent the feeders in June and July. Cheney Lake has two fish cleaning stations and two fishing complexes complete with attractors and fishing piers.

Cheney Reservoir has something for everyone with a surrounding 7,412 acres of public land. You’ll find a plethora of activities — hunting and wildlife watching, camping, picnicking, and hiking. Pheasant, quail, rabbit, waterfowl, dove, deer, and turkey are the primary game species. Raccoon, red fox, opossum, skunk, muskrat, beaver, and bobcat are also common in this area of Kansas. On the north side of the waterfowl refuge is a road that’s perfect for wildlife watching.

There are two fun and challenging hiking trails. The Spring Creek nature trail is about 1/2 mile in length and was awarded a Millennium Trail award by First Lady Hillary Clinton. The 1/8 mile Geifer Nature Trail is a good choice for nature and animal lovers.

Cheney Reservoir offers many conveniences — modern toilets, electrical hookup stations, outdoor grills, 29 small picnicking stations, 400 primitive campsites, and more.

Cheney Lake is 24 miles from the largest and most developed city in Kansas. Wichita is home to many attractions — Old Town (with the most exciting nightlife in the midwest), the historic Delano District, fabulous shopping, the annual world famous River Festival, and much more. The lake is also just six miles from Cheney, a beautiful suburban town filled with historic attractions and picture perfect, tree-lined streets.

With so many awesome features, it’s easy to see why Cheney Lake is visited by more than 200,000 people each year — Kansans, plus many from Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and other states. If you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do in south central Kansas, Cheney Reservoir should top your list.

Custom Cheney Reservoir house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Cheney Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Cheney Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Cheney Reservoir

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Cheney Reservoir photo gallery

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Cheney Reservoir statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 9,537 acres

Shoreline Length: 67 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,422 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,412 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,429 feet

Average Depth: 17 feet

Maximum Depth: 49 feet

Water Volume: 168,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1968

Water Residence Time: 2.56 years

Drainage Area: 933 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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