Beat High Gas Prices This Spring and Summer — Fish Close to Home

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Gas prices just keep going up, but you don’t have to let high fuel costs keep you from going fishing this summer — chances are there are plenty of good spots within just a few miles of your front door.

Most people tend to fish the larger, better-known lakes and reservoirs and are willing to travel a couple of hours or more to get to them, but you should consider trying some of the smaller, more out-of-the-way areas which often provide just as good, or even better fishing because they get less pressure and may be closer to where you live.

The smaller lakes, such as the flood control reservoirs in the eastern part of the state, offer fishing for different species than the larger impoundments. The smaller lakes and ponds usually provide channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and maybe some crappie, while many of the larger impoundments also offer species such as walleye, wipers and white bass.

You can increase your chances of success during the summer by fishing in the early morning and then again in the evenings instead of during the middle of the day when temperatures are the highest.

Another way to help cut costs is to tent camp on or near the area you are fishing rather than driving back and forth from home or staying in expensive motels. And, as an added bonus, remember that cooking over a campfire is less expensive and much more fun than eating at restaurants, bars or fast-food joints.

To help you find good fishing close to home, biologists across the state have picked spots in their areas they predict will provide good fishing this year and mentioned some of the species you’ll find there. Many of the areas listed are large impoundments, but the locations of all public waters, including the smaller, out-of-the-way “secret spots” are included in the 2008 Nebraska Fishing Guide, which is free at permit vendors across the state, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offices, and available for download at the Commission’s Web site at

Lake Minatare – walleye, channel catfish
Oliver Reservoir – walleye, channel catfish
Smith Lake WMA – largemouth bass, bluegill
Soldier Creek – brook, rainbow and brown trout

Valentine National Wildlife Refuge Lakes – northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch
Merritt Reservoir – walleye, northern pike, catfish, panfish
Calamus Reservoir – walleye, muskellunge, catfish, white bass, wiper
Big Alkali Lake – northern pike, crappie, channel catfish
Shell Lake – largemouth bass, panfish
Cottonwood Lake – largemouth bass, panfish
Long Pine Creek – brown and rainbow trout
Plum Creek – brown and rainbow trout

Willow Creek – walleye, channel catfish
Lewis and Clark Lake – walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass
Missouri River above Lewis and Clark Lake – walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish
Goose Lake – bluegill, yellow perch northern pike, largemouth bass
Summit Lake – panfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish
Maskenthine Reservoir – channel catfish
Skyview Lake – panfish, channel catfish
Buckskin Hills Lake – largemouth bass, channel catfish
Grove Lake – largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike
Elkhorn River – catfish
Niobrara River – catfish
East Branch Verdigre Creek – trout
Fremont State Recreation Area Lake No. 3 – bullheads
Powder Creek Reservoir – bullheads

Lake McConaughy – walleye, channel catfish
Lake Ogallala – walleye, white bass, wipers, channel catfish
Enders Reservoir – white bass, wipers, channel catfish
Swanson Reservoir – white bass, wipers
Medicine Creek Reservoir – white bass, wipers
Red Willow Reservoir – white bass, wipers
Lake Maloney – walleye
Sutherland Reservoir – walleye
Arnold Lake SRA – largemouth bass, bluegill
I-80 Lakes – channel catfish, largemouth bass

Harlan County Reservoir – walleye, white bass, crappie, channel catfish
Sherman Reservoir – crappie, walleye, northern pike
Johnson Lake – walleye, sauger, white bass, wiper, channel and flathead catfish
Elwood Reservoir – muskellunge, channel catfish, walleye, white bass \
I-80 Lakes – typically largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish; some also have northern pike, walleye, rock bass, redear sunfish, smallmouth bass.

Burchard Lake – largemouth bass
Iron Horse Trail Lake – largemouth bass
Branched Oak Reservoir – flathead catfish, wipers, walleye
Wagon Train Lake – bluegill, largemouth bass, muskellunge, channel catfish, walleye, redear sunfish
Louisville SRA – bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, wipers, bullheads

~ Tom Keith ~