Outdoor Report

July 3, 2015

Park Report from Superintendent Colby Johnson

High water persists here at Lake McConaughy as the Independence Day holiday has officially begun. The electrical campgrounds at Lake Ogallala, Little Thunder, Lone Eagle and Cedar Vue are all at capacity as of Thursday afternoon. The primitive areas are beginning to fill near the east end of Lake McConaughy but there are still grassy areas available in certain places. The west side of Lake Ogallala at the base of Kingsley Dam offers beautiful shady camping areas and has lots of space available and should be considered an excellent overnight option for the weekend. Beach camping is also near capacity and remaining arrivals should plan on spending overnight stays in the mowed grass.

We urge the public to use patience and caution on this holiday weekend. Lake McConaughy is a massive outdoor playground but on this weekend, even Big Mac is packed. Recreational boaters should be aware and courteous to anglers and to shoreline users. Boat launching facilities will be busy so practice good boat ramp etiquette. Overnight campers realize that everyone is here to have a great weekend so share this beautiful area with others. If you have need for law enforcement, please call North Platte State Patrol Dispatch at 308-535-8047 or 911 if it’s an emergency. Do not post issues on the Facebook page as this page is not monitored by any law enforcement agency.

A final reminder, fireworks are prohibited at Lake McConaughy and with most campers in the grass this holiday weekend; this law will be strictly enforced. A large fireworks display will take place at Western Diamonds Sports Fields in Ogallala on the evening of the 4th.


Lake McConaughy

The surface water temperature at the dam is 73° F, up from last week.  The lake elevation is 3263.6, which is 20.5 feet higher than the elevation last year on this date and 1.4 feet lower than normal full pool capacity.  Inflow into Lake McConaughy is 3,521 cfs with outflow of 1,500 cfs. The lake elevation has gained 0.6 feet in the last week.

Daytime angler effort for walleye has decreased over the last week. Fish in the 16-26 inch range have been taken in 10-15 feet of water using a Lindy rig and crawler or leech.  Some anglers have had success casting crankbaits or spinnerbaits near or over submerged brush.  Some anglers are fishing vertically with live bait in flooded brush in 10-20 feet of water.

Fishing pressure on the face of Kingsley Dam has also slowed this week.  Quality wipers are still being taken but quantities have decreased. It needs to be noted that all boats are prohibited within 200 feet of the Kingsley Dam outlet and morning glory structures.  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.

Anglers have been having good success on channel catfish in the Otter Creek, Cedar Vue and North Platte River areas.  Boat and bank anglers are having the best success using shad entrails, cut-bait or frozen shrimp.

With the higher water level usable concrete boat ramps for launching can be found at the Cedar Vue lakeside and bayside ramps, Otter Creek Bay, Lemoyne Bay, Arthur Bay, Martin Bay Spillway Bay and Lakeview ramps.

 Lake Ogallala

Surface water temperature is 69° F.  Rainbow trout fishing success has been great for bank and boat anglers using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners, spoons or jigs.  Most fish caught range in size from 12-16 inches with an occasional larger fish up to 18 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.

The Lake McConaughy Visitors and Water Interpretive Center is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
(308) 284-8800
1475 HW 61 N
Ogallala, NE 69153
email: ngpc.lake.mcconaughy@nebraska.gov