Dive In -The Lake Mac Blog

CAMPING UPDATE FROM NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS: - Click here for “KNOW BEFORE YOU GO” information
Para español, haga clic aquí “INFORMESE ANTES DE IR”
Starting this summer, campers will need a reservation to stay overnight at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala state recreation areas during the peak season. This includes all campgrounds AND beach camping areas at the two SRAs. All overnight visitors should check occupancy and book an overnight campsite on the reservation system before departing home. The reservation season for 2021 is May 21 to September 12. The new system went in place to accept reservations starting April 21. Overnight campers with a valid reservation are highly encouraged to arrive and check in with park staff, in-person, at the Visitor Center or a staffed entrance booth between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Mountain Time. The state recreation areas will remain open for day use at designated areas with no capacity limits. Reservations made prior to April 21 will be honored. There are 3 ways to make a reservation: • Online at NebraskaStateParks.ReserveAmerica.com • Download the ‘RA Camping’ app for iOS or Android

• Call the park office during business hours: 308-284-8800

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Fall Hunting In Keith County -

Our wild turkeys are calling!

Nebraska offers some of the best turkey hunting opportunities in the entire country, plus affordable hunting permits, long seasons, great public access and $8 permits for youth.  The Lake McConaughy/Keith County area is a longtime favorite with hunters for its scenic beauty and abundance of game. Fall turkey season is open through Jan. 31.

Archery deer season is open through Dec. 31.  Waterfowl blinds are available for rent at Clear Creek Management Area.  Check here for all game and waterfowl season info.

Fall fishing opportunities include walleye and bass at Lake McConaughy, and trout at Keystone Canal and Lake Ogallala.

Hotel rooms are available just off I-80 at Ogallala, and some lake lodges stay open in the fall. Electricity is left on at the Lake McConaughy SRA’s public campgrounds year round.

Any hunting in the Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area must be done at least 100 yards away from park infrastructure such as campgrounds and roads.  Download the Nebraska Public Access Atlas here,

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Bird Watching -

Due to its incredible species diversity and location on cental flyways, Lake Mac is known as a birdwatching hotspot. Bald eagles are among the lake area’s most notable winter stars, but there are many other winter visitors and permanent residents. Winter visitant species include  purple finch, California gull, common redpoll, cedar waxwing, snow bunting  and ring-necked duck. Year round avian residents include northern cardinal, American kestral, black-capped chickadee and downy woodpecker. Check the Lake McConaughy Birding Trails Map and Bird Species Checklist to plan your birding trip.

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Holiday Gift Ideas From Keith County -

Need some ideas for your favorite Lake McConaughy/Keith County  fan?

  1. A gift certificate to stay in Keith County.  Check our list of lake lodging or hotels in nearby Ogallala and Paxton, and ask if they offer gift certificates.
  2.  A gift certificate to a Lake McConaughy or Keith County restaurant.  Check with the restaurants to ask about certificates.
  3.  Some Lake McConaughy swag. Many local businesses carry Lake Mac souvenirs.
  4. A Nebraska park entry permit from Nebraska Game & Parks.  Available at the Lake McConaughy Visitor & Water Interpretive Center, many local businesses, and online.  
  5. A trip with a Lake McConaughy fishing guide.  Check the list of guides here and contact them for information on gift certificates.
  6. A local product from the Keith County area.  Check out locally grown aronia berry products from Good Berry Farms or locally crafted Ogallala Bay Rum aftershave. Scroll through the gallery and explore the links on ilovelakemac.com for more ideas.
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Adopt A Beach at Lake Mac -

Want to show the beautiful beaches of Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala some love?   Volunteer to help keep them litter free through the new Adopt-a-Beach program.

This volunteer program was created by Lake McConaughy state recreation area staff, in part, as a response to public concerns regarding litter in those areas. Game and Parks has taken several steps to combat this issue, including new signage relating to litter prevention, increases in garbage collection points and servicing, as well as partnerships with Keep Keith County Beautiful for the placement of recycle stations throughout the parks.

The goal of Adopt-a-Beach is to encourage participation in the protection of fragile park landscapes so that future generations can continue to enjoy this area. The program was modeled after the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway Program.

Participants can enroll in the program starting June 11 at the Lake McConaughy Visitor and Water Interpretive Center. Beach area assignments will be based on a group’s request and number of participants. Assignments will be made on a first-come basis. Gloves, pickers, buckets, bags and vests can be provided to participants during business hours.

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Winter Bird Watching -

Due to its incredible species diversity and location on cental flyways, Lake Mac is known as a birdwatching hotspot.  Bald eagles are among the lake area’s most notable winter stars, but there are many other winter visitors and permanent residents.   Winter visitant species include  purple finch, California gull, common redpoll, cedar waxwing, snow bunting  and ring-necked duck.   Year round avian residents include northern cardinal, American kestral, black-capped chickadee and downy woodpecker.  Check the Lake McConaughy Birding Trails Map and Bird Species Checklist to plan your birding trip.  Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District provides a heated eagle viewing facility that is open weekends January 7 through early March.  Check our calendar for hours.

(photo credit:  California Gull by Joel Jorgansen, Nebraska Game & Parks)

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Things To Do With Kids This Summer Around Keith County -

The Front Street Crystal Palace Revue
Did you toss back a sarsaparilla and take your oath as an honorary Ogallala deputy as a kid? Now your kids can get sworn in, too. (They’ll still have to promise to change their underwear at least once a week!) A western Nebraska institution, the Crystal Palace Revue is in its 52nd season. Catch the gunfight and Old West show beginning at 7:15 pm Thursday through Saturday through June 25, Monday through Saturday June 27 – August 13, with 2:00 pm Sunday matinees June 19 & 26, July 3 & 31 and August 7. Call 308-284-6000 for reservations.

Mansion on the Hill Museum
What did a child’s bedroom look like in the 1890s? What was it like to attend school in a one room schoolhouse? The kids will find a trip back in time fun and informative. Ogallala’s authentic Victorian mansion and grounds are open to the public through the Sunday before Labor Day, Tuesday through Saturday 9:00-4:00, Sundays 11:00-4:00, and closed Mondays. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

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Calendar of Events

Mar
15
Mon
all-day American Plains Artist Signature...
American Plains Artist Signature...
Mar 15 – May 22 all-day
American Plains Artist Signature Show
The Petrified Wood and Art Gallery of Ogallala will host the American Plains Artist Signature Show March 15 through May 22, 2021.   Opening and Closing Receptions will be March 15 and May 22, 2021 from[...]
Apr
27
Tue
all-day Photo Ark Exhibit
Photo Ark Exhibit
Apr 27 – May 23 all-day
Photo Ark Exhibit
Don’t miss your chance to see selections from Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark – on display April 27 through May 23 at the Lake McConaughy Visitors and Water Interpretive Center! Sponsored by the Ogallala Regional Arts[...]
May
22
Sat
all-day Shut Up & Fish
Shut Up & Fish
May 22 – May 23 all-day
Contact: Chad Vogl (308)355-2321 Find reservation forms here: https://voglslodgeandlure.com/tournament-forms The 2021 BIG MAC Shut Up & Fish Tournament will be hosted by Vogl’s Lodge & Lure Rules Meeting:  Friday, May 21st at 6:00 pm Location:[...]
8:00 am Spring Lake Cleanup
Spring Lake Cleanup
May 22 @ 8:00 am
Spring Lake Cleanup
Sponsored by Keep Keith County Beautiful