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January 10, 2015
Superintendent’s Note from Colby Johnson
A winter wonderland has settled over the park the last few weeks and the subzero temperatures have led to complete ice coverage of both Lake Mac and Lake Ogallala. Eagle viewing season is in overdrive as mature bald eagles have been plentiful around the hydro plant and along the Bay Road from Martin Bay to Sandy Beach. The Eagle Viewing Center, run by Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District is open from 8:00 to 2:00 on Saturday and Sunday until late February.
Anglers have endured the harsh weather and have begun hard water fishing at both Lake Ogallala and western Lake McConaughy. The ice conditions at both sites are extremely hazardous at all times and the upmost caution should be taken. Ice thickness has been reported between 2” and 8” depending on the location. Anglers are having limited success on rainbow trout at Lake Ogallala using wax worms and doughbaits in 10’ to 20’ of water and on northern pike and channel catfish at the west end near Cedar Vue and Lemoyne using minnows in 10’ to 30’ of water. No reports of walleye through the ice have come in yet this winter.
Park staff has been reduced to annual minimum but several projects are still being conducted. We are in the process of pruning up cedar and juniper trees in the Lake Ogallala pay camp to reduce leaf and trash collection, varmint habitat in the area and to improve vehicle sightlines. There are over 50 trees and we are about halfway done. We recently completed over 2,200 feet of fencing around the big lake to reduce driving in unauthorized areas and hill climbing. We plan on completing another 2,000 feet before the summer season gets in full swing. Last week, our annual burning of the brush piles took place at six areas around the park. Finally, we are working diligently in our shop to get all of our equipment prepared for another busy season.
Looking ahead towards the next couple of months we will be visiting several sports shows across the area to promote Lake McConaughy and Keith County as well as continuing work on several tree projects along with road maintenance and improvements.
The Lake McConaughy Visitor’s and Water Interpretive Center is open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 to 4:00 and closed on Sunday.
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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
1475 HW 61 N
Ogallala, NE 69153