Explore the Lake Area
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Listed on the Top 100 Family Places to Fish and Boat in the U.S.!
(Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation)
Lake McConaughy is Nebraska’s biggest lake and the largest reservoir in a three state region. At full storage, Lake Mac is twenty miles long, four miles wide, and 142 feet deep at the dam. Built on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, Lake Mac offers natural white sand beaches, excellent fishing, boating, camping and all types of outdoor recreation. The dam is among the largest of its type in the world, and the fish grow to trophy proportions, accounting for several state records.
Located 8 miles northeast of Ogallala, NE, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
To most Nebraskans and residents of neighboring states, McConaughy is known as a place for outdoor good times. Its waters and white sand beaches provide the setting for many different kinds of outdoor recreation.
Big Mac offers excellent fishing and boating. It has also become a favorite with campers, sailboaters, wind surfers, swimmers, water skiers, picnickers, scuba divers, hunters, ice boaters, and many other outdoor fun seekers.
Fishing has long been the primary drawing card at Big Mac, with its cool, clear, deep waters. Game fish vary from sporty rainbow trout to the everyday catfish. Prized most highly by the local angler is the walleye, and Nebraska’s current state record of 16 lbs. 2 oz. came from Big Mac. Also top ranked is the white bass fishing. In recent years, Game and Parks officials have also stocked wipers, a cross between white bass and striped bass that provides excellent fishing action. Although smaller in size, the smallmouth bass provides some dynamite action.
Situated just below Kingsley Dam, Lake Ogallala is an integral part of the Lake McConaughy recreation complex. Known as the “little lake”, it was formed when fill material was removed to build the dam. Lake Ogallala boasts some excellent fishing for rainbow trout and yellow perch. The lake is 1 1/2 miles long and a quarter mile wide. It has about 5 miles of shore line and covers about 320 acres.
There are also side trips to attractions in the region. Ash Hollow State Historical Park lies near the upper end of the lake on U.S. 26. The neighboring Sandhills offer unique scenery for a drive, perhaps to Arthur, just a half-hour north, or to Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, north of Oshkosh, about 90 minutes away. Ogallala and other communities also offer interesting things to see or do.
Come fall, Big Mac becomes waterfowl hunting territory. Clear Creek Waterfowl Management Area at the west end of the lake attracts substantial numbers of Canada geese, which can be hunted on the controlled shooting area, as well as much of the rest of the lake. Winter is an invitation to ice boaters, skaters and backpackers, adding to the lake’s year-round appeal.