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May 25, 2016 Outdoor Report
Memorial Day weekend is here and so begins the summer season at Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area. Electric campgrounds are expected to fill by Friday and all reservable sites are booked. Primitive camping areas are available despite higher water levels this spring. Extra areas have been mowed for primitive camping along Shoreline Road from Martin Bay to Sandy Beach. These areas are available at No Name Bay, Arthur Bay, Theis Bay and Sandy Beach. As a reminder, driving or camping in unmowed native grass is prohibited. Excellent camping areas are also available at Spring Park, Otter Creek and Omaha Beach near the west end of Lake McConaughy and the west side of Lake Ogallala.
The surface water temperature at the dam is 54° F, with little change in the past several weeks. The lake elevation is 3260.6 which is 8.0 feet higher than the elevation last year on this date and 4.4 feet below normal full pool capacity. Inflow into Lake McConaughy has again increased dramatically to 8,000 cfs with outflow of 4,284 cfs. A significant lake warmup should occur with the high river flow. The lake surface elevation has increased 1.3 foot in the past week.
Entry boothes are open 9-5 daily with extended hours on Friday and Saturday. The Visitor’s Center is open 8-5 daily.
Nesting Piping Plovers and Least Terns are building nests on the beaches at Lake McConaughy this spring and are indicated with enclosure fences. Please avoid these areas, particularly with higher water levels.
Everyone have a safe and joyful Memorial Day weekend. Remember, if you need Law Enforcement assistance, you can call the Nebraska State Patrol office in North Platte at 308-535-8047. In an emergency, call 911.
Daytime success for boat anglers targeting walleye is scattered across the reservoir. Some quality size fish have been caught off the face of the dam in 20 feet of water trolling spinner baits. A mixed size range of fish have been taken from Martin Bay west to the river mouth in 8-15 feet of water on live bait and crankbaits. The majority of these fish have been in the 14-17 inch range with drifting crawlers the most popular technique. Boat anglers that continue to fish the dam face at night are trolling large crankbaits and bank anglers are casting crankbaits or jigs. It should also 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.
Daytime bank anglers have caught walleye, wiper, smallmouth bass and carp in the area around Otter Creek on crawlers.
Channel catfish success in the North Platter River has improved from the mouth on upstream to Lewellen. White bass have been taken in the same area on spinners and spoons. Most catfish anglers have been using shad entrails, cut-bait or frozen shrimp baits.
Usable concrete boat ramps for launching could be found at the Cedar Vue lakeside and bayside ramps, Lemoyne Bay, Martin Bay, Spillway Bay and Lakeview Bay ramps. Boats could also be launched with four wheel drive vehicles from the beach at North Shore Lodge.
The surface water temperature is 56° F. Rainbow trout fishing success has been only fair for bank anglers using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners, spoons or jigs. Most fish caught range in size from 9-12 inches with an occasional larger fish up to 20 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 into the canal is a near maximum of 1,754 cfs. Success for rainbow trout has been good with some larger fish up to 20 inches. The most popular technique has been drifting salmon eggs, worms or dough baits. The daily bag limit for the Keystone Canal is 5 trout with no size limit.
North Platte River below the Keystone Diversion Dam
A high flow release of ~3,000 cfs exists from the Keystone Diversion Dam into the river Success for rainbow trout has been fair with most anglers using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners or spoons. Fly fishermen have been using weighted nymph patterns, streamers or midge patterns. Anglers are reminded the daily bag limit in the North Platte River below the Diversion Dam is 5 trout with no more than one over 16 inches.
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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
1475 HW 61 N
Ogallala, NE 69153