Delaware River

The Delaware River is an important Kansas river located in the Northeastern part of the state. The Delaware River basin drains 1,117 square miles from the outflow of the Perry Lake reservoir. Perry Lake is located in Jefferson County, Kansas, about 15 miles Northwest of Lawrence.


The river has been classified as a Category 1 watershed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, meaning that the watershed is in need of immediate restoration and protection. The river is also one of the major tributaries of the Kansas River.

The Delaware River rises west of Sabetha, Kansas in Nemaha County. The river's course is generally southeast through the counties of Nemaha, Brown, Jackson, Atchison, and Jefferson in northeast Kansas. The Delaware passes through The Kickapoo Nation Reservation and is an important river for the tribe. Some of its main tributaries include Grasshopper Creek, Muddy Creek, Elk Creek, Straight Creek, Cedar Creek and Rock Creek.

The Delaware's course takes it through rich farmland and this gives the river's water a very muddy appearance. Just south of Valley Falls the river enters Perry Lake, a man made reservoir to control flooding. It then enters the Kansas River just north of Lecompton, Kansas. Some cities within 10 miles of the river include, Sabetha, Fairview, Powhattan, Horton, Whiting, Muscotah, Holton, Valley Falls, Ozawkie, Perry, and Lecompton, Kansas.

The river forms Perry Reservoir, which is a major regional lake for boating, swimming, camping, fishing and other activies. The river is also great for fishing, and some of the dominant fish of the river include channel catfish, flathead catfish, carp, longnose gar, drum, sauger, crappie, and white bass.

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