April 9, 2014
Outdoor Report from Colby Johnson, Park Superintendent
The ice covering Lake McConaughy did not want to give in to warmer temperatures this spring as it held on at the east end until late March. However, late ice coverage hasn’t stopped spring fever from infecting park visitors from anglers to overnight campers as the park areas are starting to see increased usage.
May 17th is Free Park Entry and Fishing Day at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala as well as all the parks around the state. In recognition of this day, we will be hosting a “Meet and Greet” from 9:00 am to Noon at the Lake Mac Visitor’s Center for interested visitors. This will be an excellent opportunity for the public to get a chance to chat with myself, the Conservation Officers and the Fisheries Biologist, all together in one spot.
One major project is nearing a close out here at the park while another is in its first stages. The Cedar Vue bayside ramp restoration project is nearly complete. The Tencate Geotube is finished and working and 110 yards of concrete have been poured to replace the broken ramp sections. The final stage will be to install a drainage system on the entrance to the ramp to keep parking lot water from draining onto the boat ramp.
There are six new vault toilets that are arriving at the park over the coming weeks that will begin replacing existing primitive restrooms and bringing us into compliance with ADA and DEQ requirements. The units are arriving on site in the next few weeks and installation work will begin sometime in early summer.
Modern campground facilities will remain winterized until early May as will the dump stations. The electrical pedestals are turned on and ready for use. Fresh water is available at the west side of Lake Ogallala or Sandy Beach. The boat docks have all been placed in service around the park at available ramps and all primitive restrooms are open.
The Lake McConaughy Visitor’s and Water Interpretive Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:00. For school group tours, contact email@example.com to setup a date and time.
Boat ramps with docks are in service at Cedar Vue lakeside, Lemoyne lakeside, Martin Bay low water and Diver’s Bay.
Lake McConaughy Water Condition:
Surface water temperature at the dam is 40° F. The lake elevation is 3239.0, which is 3.0 feet lower than the elevation last year on this date and 26.0 feet lower than normal full pool capacity. This is 61% of full pool. Inflow into Lake McConaughy is 727 cfs with outflow of ~900 cfs. The lake elevation has decreased 0.1 foot in the last week.
Fishing Report: Courtesy of NGPC Fisheries Division
Daytime success for boat anglers targeting walleye from the dam to North Shore has been very inconsistent to date. Angler pressure and success for walleye at night along Kingsley Dam has been light to this point as the spawning run is just in the initial stages with the cool water temperature. Boat anglers on the dam face are trolling large crankbaits and bank anglers are casting crankbaits or jigs. Anglers fishing the dam should be reminded that from sunset to sunrise, April 1 to 30, any boat within 30 yards of Kingsley Dam must travel in a south-to-north (counter-clockwise) direction. Also, 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.
Channel catfish success in the Otter Creek area, and west, has declined recently. Boat and bank anglers are having the best success using shad entrails, cut-bait or frozen shrimp.
Surface water temperature is 44° F. Rainbow trout fishing success has been good for bank anglers using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners, spoons or jigs. Most fish caught range in size from 10-12 inches with some larger fish up to 16 inches. Boat anglers are trolling or casting spinners or spoons. Fly fishermen have been doing well with 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 flow has recently increased to ~900 cfs. Success for rainbow trout has been fair with an occasional larger fish up to 16 inches. The most popular technique has been drifting salmon eggs, worms or dough baits. Daily bag limit for the Keystone Canal is 5 trout with no size limit.
North Platte River below the Keystone Diversion Dam
At this time a winter 5 cfs minimum release 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. Again, 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.
Spring archery turkey season is already underway and several hunters have had good luck. Quality turkeys have been spotted or taken at Eagle Canyon, Otter Creek, Arthur Bay, Thies Bay and Spillway Bay. As we approach the spring shotgun season this weekend, please remember to be aware of your surroundings at Lake Mac. This is public hunting ground and there will be other hunters in your area.
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Don’t forget to take advantage of the tremendous amount of information available on the Game & Parks website at www.OutdoorNebraska.gov
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For more information about the Lake and its vendors, check out http://www.ilovelakemac.com
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
1475 HW 61 N
Ogallala, NE 69153