LINCOLN, Neb. – Kick off the summer with a weekend of fishing. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is excited to offer such varied angling opportunities this Memorial Day.
And don’t go alone. Find someone new or someone who has not been fishing in a while and take them with you. When you do, snap a photo and enter to win prizes in the Take ’em Fishing challenge. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/takeemfishing for details.
“May and June are two of the best months for fishing across Nebraska,” said Daryl Bauer, Game and Parks’ fisheries outreach program manager. “Pick a water body and go fishing because something will be biting.”
Here is Bauer’s list of waters anglers might want to try this Memorial Day weekend:
Lake McConaughy – This is always a favorite destination all summer and anglers will find some excellent opportunities for walleyes, wipers, and channel catfish. The smallmouth bass fishery is excellent as well, and a little bit of a secret!
Harlan County Reservoir – It is always good news when we have reservoirs full of water and Harlan filled to capacity earlier this spring. That will send fish towards the flooded shallows, and that is where anglers have been extracting walleyes, white bass, channel catfish and some crappies.
Sherman Reservoir – Sherman has reached full pool and that means water back into the bays and coves where anglers can find some excellent crappie fishing. On the main lake, walleyes have been biting and if you are bouncing a crankbait along the bottom, you better hold onto that rod in case a big, predatory flathead catfish strikes!
Merritt Reservoir – Water levels are at full pool and several species are feeding in shallow water; walleyes, channel catfish, pike, muskies, and crappies are all a possibility.
Smith Lake – Recent reports have included nice bluegills. Also possible are largemouth bass, crappies and some northern pike.
Frye Lake – The Sandhills are bursting with water, and Frye is bursting with nice panfish and largemouth bass.
Box Butte Reservoir – Water levels are just a few feet below full pool. Exploring flooded trees right now should be productive for a variety of panfish, largemouth bass and northern pike. Look for some trophy channel catfish, too.
Lake Minatare – Water has been flowing through the canal into Lake Minatare, which means the walleyes and white bass are on the bite!
Calamus Reservoir – This is a great time for some hot white bass action towards the upper, west end of the reservoir. There can always be a few wipers mingling with the white bass, and again look for some walleye action in relatively shallow water.
Red Willow Reservoir – Another reservoir that recently has had low water levels due to dam repairs, but now those levels are recovering. Always one of the best waters in the state for wipers, the fishing has been good recently along wind-blown shorelines. Big crappies and largemouth bass are possible, too!
Swanson Reservoir – Recent reports have been good for walleyes, white bass, wipers, crappies, largemouth bass, channel and blue catfish.
Elwood Reservoir – Water levels have been more consistently high at Elwood in recent years and fish populations have responded! Trophy wipers are abundant in Elwood as well as walleyes, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, pike and a few muskies.
Lewis and Clark Reservoir – Walleyes and sauger have been scattered over the reservoir but expect the best bite in relatively shallow water near shore or on mud flats. Likewise, look for some big white bass and catfish in shallow water especially where there may be some current flowing.
Skyview Lake – This Norfolk lake has some excellent fishing for bluegill, largemouth bass and even some walleyes!
Maple Creek Reservoir – This is another good spot for some bluegills, crappies and largemouth bass, maybe a walleye or two.
Summit Reservoir – This is one of the best places this year for quality-size bluegills, plus it is an excellent fishery for largemouth bass and some big channel catfish.
Lawrence Youngman – There are excellent populations of largemouth bass and bluegills, more walleyes than you might expect, and some big redear sunfish.
Zorinsky Lake – Zorinsky has been producing some excellent fishing this spring for crappies, largemouth bass, and walleyes. Rogue muskies have been giving anglers a surprise, too!
Wehrspann Lake – Sport fish populations have responded favorably to recent management activities; anglers are catching nice crappies, largemouth bass and channel catfish.
Lake Wanahoo – Cold and dirty water this spring has challenged anglers at Wanahoo, but conditions are improving and the crappie, bass and walleye bite is taking off. Of course, there are pike waiting to shock unexpecting anglers, too.
Branched Oak Lake – The crappie bite has been good the past couple of weeks, plus some catfish, mostly channel cats, but also flatheads and even a few big blues. Walleyes, wipers and an occasional largemouth bass thrown in for variety.
Yankee Hill Lake – Very good reports coming in this spring for bluegills, crappies and some walleyes.
Iron Horse Trail Lake – Bass anglers have been whispering about it for the past several years; this reservoir in the southeast corner is one of the best bass fisheries in the state now, with some nice saugeye, too.
Burchard Lake – With great water quality and habitat, Burchard is consistently one of the best fisheries in southeastern Nebraska for largemouth bass, panfish and channel catfish.
Visit outdoornebraska.org to buy a fishing permit.