Explore the Lake Area
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November 3, 2015
Unseasonably warm weather continued throughout the month of October giving outdoor enthusiasts an excellent opportunity to enjoy the fall colors here at Lake McConaughy. Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala received over 24,000 visitations in October making it the busiest since counting began in 1983.
Park water systems have been winterized for the season including dump stations, showers and fish cleaning stations. Systems will return to service beginning in early May. There is fresh potable water available all winter at Lake Ogallala west by the south boat ramp and by the playground, Sandy Beach and Cedar Vue dump station. The electricity remains on and available at our non-peak rates at the modern campgrounds. Non-peak camping rates are posted throughout the park at self-pay stations. A Park Entry Permit is required year round at all park areas.
The Lake McConaughy Visitor’s and Water Interpretive Center was recently upgraded with a new projection system in the Ethol Abbot Theater. This project was completed in cooperation with Nebraska Game and Parks, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District and the Nebraska Water Center Foundation. The theater is open to the public and shows short films depicting the history of Lake McConaughy and Kingsley Dam as well as current uses of the facility. They are viewable anytime during business hours. The Visitor’s Center is open Monday thru Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The Parks Field Staff has been busy winterizing buildings and getting all of the camping areas cleaned and mowed for the winter season. Several winter projects are in the final stages of completion including the renovation of five primitive restrooms at Sandy Beach and Lake Ogallala. The buildings have been repainted with new windows and an improved ventilation system. Also, Lone Eagle and Little Thunder Campgrounds have seen substantial picnic table repair with over 250 table boards having been replaced and will be painted in the coming weeks.
The surface water temperature at the dam is 52° F. The lake elevation is 3256.4 or 85.6% of full pool capacity. Inflow into Lake McConaughy is 1,268 cfs with outflow of 1,600 cfs. The lake elevation has declined 0.2 feet in the last week. The reservoir currently has a surface area of 27,600 acres.
Daytime angler success for walleye has decreased as the fall has progressed. Anglers have had sporadic luck vertical jigging and slabbing in 30-40 feet around the Arthur Bay and Lemoyne areas. The statewide daily bag limit for walleye is 4 fish with minimum size limit of 15 inches and no more than one fish over 22 inches.
Some boat anglers are finding scattered success with white bass on the surface along the north shoreline from Cedar Vue to Lemoyne. The best technique is casting spoons or jigs near rising shad. A few have been taken trolling spinnerbaits or crankbaits in 30 feet of water near Lemoyne.
Bank and boat anglers have been having good success on channel catfish over most of the reservoir especially the Cedar Vue area. Anglers are having the best success using shad entrails, cut-bait or frozen shrimp.
Some docks have been removed for the season but several will remain in use until the lake freezes over. Useable ramps with docks can be found at Cedar Vue lakeside, Lemoyne, Martin Bay bayside and Spillway Bay.
Surface water temperature is 48° F. Rainbow trout fishing success has been fair for bank anglers using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners, spoons or jigs. Most fish caught range in size from 10-14 inches with an occasional larger fish up to 16 inches. Boat anglers are trolling or casting spinners or spoons. Fly fishermen have been using bead head nymph patterns or streamers. Anglers are reminded the daily bag limit in Lake Ogallala is 5 trout with no more than one over 16 inches.
Discharge flow into the canal is 1,603 cfs. Success for rainbow trout has been fair with an occasional larger fish up to 18 inches. The most popular technique has been drifting salmon eggs, crawlers or dough baits. Daily bag limit for the Keystone Canal is 5 trout with no size limit.
Fall turkey season is continuing with several hunters finding success at Lake McConaughy. Birds have been taken at Eagle Canyon, Otter Creek, Arthur Bay and Spillway Bay areas of Lake Mac with the larger populations located near the west end.
Duck season has started at both Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala with some early success. Opening weekend saw several hunters visit the park and find some decoying bunches. As a reminder, seasonal blinds are prohibited on Lake Ogallala and must be removed daily.
The Lake McConaughy Visitors and Water Interpretive Center is open Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
1475 HW 61 N
Ogallala, NE 69153