November 13, 2013
Superintendent’s Note from Colby Johnson
The snow last week signaled the unofficial beginning of winter here at the park and we are looking forward to the exciting activities happening in the next few months. Fishing on the big lake is still going strong and hunting at both parks is in full swing with firearm deer season coming up this weekend.
Park facilities with running water have been winterized for the season but electricity remains on in the campgrounds. There are a couple of quick reminders I would like to pass on as we move into the winter months. The tree/grass burn piles located around the park are for lawn debris ONLY, not for old appliances or other household garbage. Just because it will burn, doesn’t mean it should be thrown in the pile. The dumpsters in the park are for visitor garbage only, not for park residents. Finally, a park entry permit is required all year long to enter the park, not just during the recreation season.
Come visit the park and enjoy any of the activities from fishing to bird watching that are happening this winter, or just to appreciate the beautiful winter scenery in the area.
Surface water temperature at the dam is 45° F. The lake elevation is 3230.6, which is 0.7 foot higher than last week but is 6.7 feet lower than the elevation last year on this date. Inflow into Lake McConaughy is 901 cfs, slightly lower than 1,111 cfs last week and well below normal inflows for November which are around 1,500 cfs. There is zero outflow because of an irrigation district maintenance shutdown.
Fishing success for boat anglers remains focused primarily on the daytime bite for walleye slabbing or jigging in 15-40 feet of water. Most popular areas are from Lakeview to Ogallala Beach and Lemoyne to the dam. Some anglers are trolling crankbaits in 15-30 feet of water in the same respective areas. Fish size ranges from 15-30 inches. A few 25-30 inch northern pike have been taken on crankbaits or spoons along with both sub-legal and legal smallmouth bass caught on jigs or crankbaits. 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. No more than one fish in combination over 16 inches is allowed for white bass, wiper or striped bass. There is a 15 inch minimum size limit on smallmouth bass.
Channel catfish success from boat or bank has been scattered over the entire reservoir. Fish up to 25 inches have been caught with anglers having the best success using crawlers, shad entrails, cut-bait or frozen shrimp. Additional ‘cats’ are taken while seeking walleye and white bass using crankbaits.
NGPC concrete ramps with docks can be found at Diver’s Bay off the Burma Road Access. Martin Bay low water concrete ramp is in the water but does not have a dock in place. Boats can also be launched with four wheel drive vehicles from the beach at Lakeview and North Shore Lodge. Anglers and boaters also need to be aware of a new regulation that requires every vessel to drain all water from compartments, equipment or containers before leaving the launch area.
Surface water temperature is 48° F. Rainbow trout fishing success has been fair for both boat and bank anglers. Most fish caught are recent 9-11 inch stockers with some occasional larger fish up to 15 inches. Boat anglers are trolling or casting spinners or spoons while bank anglers are using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners, spoons or jigs. Fly fishermen have been using bead head nymph patterns, streamers or midge patterns. A few channel catfish to 25 inches been taken by bank anglers using crawlers, cut-bait or frozen shrimp. Anglers are reminded the daily bag limit for Lake Ogallala is 5 trout with no more than one over 16 inches.
There is zero flow into the canal related to a continuing irrigation district repair and maintenance shutdown.
North Platte River below the Keystone Diversion Dam
Discharge from the Keystone Diversion Dam into the river is a minimum 2-6 cfs flow. Success has been slow because of the low flow and pool levels. Most anglers are using worms, salmon eggs, dough baits or casting spinners or spoons. Fly fishermen have been using weighted nymph patterns, streamers or midge patterns. Occasional walleye, channel catfish and smallmouth bass have also been taken. 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.
The west end of Lake Mac has begun to have some waterfowl activity in the Cedar Vue and Otter Creek areas and Lake Ogallala is seeing heavy waterfowl hunting pressure as well. The first push of Canada geese arrived behind last week’s snow and we should see success on them as the season progresses. Several hunters have reported limits of ducks of varying species including mallards, blue/green wing teal, northern shovelers, gadwalls and redheads. Boat blinds can be launched on the big lake from the beach at Lemoyne low water ramp and the docks at both ramps on Lake Ogallala will remain in until ice forces us to remove them.
Firearm deer season begins this weekend and we ask that hunters around Lake McConaughy please obey all regulations and be patient with other hunting traffic in the area, as it will be a busy season here at the park. For more information about public hunting land, go to http://www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/programs/CRP/atlas.asp or see us at the Lake McConaughy Visitor’s Center during the week. The Lake McConaughy Deer Check Station will take place at the Maintenance/Fisheries Office, 1 mile north on Highway 61 from the Visitor’s Center. It is open every day during firearm season from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Visitor Center Hours:
The Lake McConaughy Visitor’s and Water Interpretive Center is now open Monday thru Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm and is closed on holidays. There is no fee to enter the Visitor’s and Water Interpretive Center.
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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