During the depression years, the old lake was seized by a group of volunteers and huge amounts of fish were distributed among those who hardly knew where their next meal was to come from. After the Santa Fe Railway discontinued use of the old lake, for years its served no practical use. In April 1, 1957, public fishing opened at the lake. The Cherryvale News, April 28, 1881, stated: "Last week the fish commissioner for this state, Mr. Long, put 10,000 fish in the lake south of town."
The lake is still an ideal fishing spot for young and old alike with its fishing berms and a small boat ramp. The National Guard has built a bridge to the island for added fishing access. But largemouth bass under 18 inches and channel catfish under 15 inches must be returned into the water.
Tanko Lake is now part of Cherryvale's Recreation Commission with three baseball fields, a pitching batting cage, basketball and tennis courts, playground and a picnic shelter with fire pit. Guests at the lake can enjoy the migratory waterfowl which make the lake a regular stop on their mysterious seasonal journeys. Sometimes "Tanko" even provides an ideal skating place. Overnight Camping, Swimming, and Hunting is prohibited. (Leisure and Sports Review)
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism