Let me tell you about a couple of new lakes Nebraska anglers will be fishing in the coming years, some may be fishing there even as I write this. Most of you have probably heard of the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge north of Oshkosh. Surprisingly, Crescent Lake itself is NOT on the refuge and until just recently was not open to the public for fishing. Crescent Lake is now open for public fishing as well as Blue Lake just above, west, of Crescent. Lease agreements have been made to make those waters accessible to Nebraska anglers.
Nebraska’s sandhill lakes are unique and extremely productive fisheries. We expect that both Crescent and Blue will be excellent fisheries in the coming years. When it was apparent that these lakes would be open to public access, chemical renovations were done on both waters to remove common carp and other unwanted fish species. Re-stocking of both lakes started in the fall of 2008; Crescent has been stocked with black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, and largemouth bass while Blue was stocked with black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch and smallmouth bass.
Growth rates of fish in Nebraska’s sandhill lakes are relatively fast and that is especially true following chemical renovations. There are catchable-size fish in both Blue and Crescent right now and I suspect there will be a few “locals” wishing I would keep these two new waters quiet. If you plan to fish either of these lakes now keep in mind that the fish there will be even larger, if given the chance, in another year or two. I would also ask, before you go, that you read this over and think about it, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/12/hitting-ice-winter/ .
Let me say something else about these resources: Lease agreements are the reason that these waters are now available to the public. Abuse of the areas could result in the voiding of these agreements. The rules for using the area, especially Blue Lake, are very explicit. You can find them in the Public Waters section of the 2011-2012 Fishing Guide, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/guides/fishguide/pdf/FishGuide.pdf ,
Blue Lake (Garden) – 311 acres, 22N of Oshkosh. BLG, CRP, SMB, YEP. Access via a primitive 2.7-mile sandy access trail on private property (no snow removal), open daylight hours only, no camping, no hunting, no ATVs or horses, no fires, no littering, only four-wheel drive vehicles allowed (MANDATORY). Area is closed to access during the nine-day regular firearm deer season. Access to the lake was made possible through a lease agreement with the private landowner, so please follow the rules. Close all gates. Trespassers off marked trail and parking lot will be prosecuted. Small boats recommended, primitive boat launch, 5 mph (no wake).
The rules for Crescent are not as explicit, but my warning still applies!
Crescent Lake WMA (Garden) – 982 acres, 22N of Oshkosh. BLG, CRP, LMB, YEP. Access via a primitive access trail to a parking area. Primitive boat ramp, 5 mph (no wake). Primitive camping, wildlife management area rules apply.
Do not even think of abusing those areas. If you see abuse, you can find phone numbers for local conservation officers in the back of the Fishing Guide, dial those numbers and keep dialing! Or, use the Nebraska Widlife Crimestoppers number, (800)-742-7627. There are sandhill lakes where we have had lease agreements in the past, lakes where I had some great fishing, where “water heads” abused the areas and the rules and now those lakes are no longer accessible. That makes me mad every time I think about it.
We have lake maps for both lakes!
Here is what Crescent looks like,
And here is Blue.
There is a lot of great fishing water there, and Blue is relatively deep for a sandhill lake. These should be great fisheries for years to come, make sure they are treated that way!