I have several news items I need to mention today. Now, I know that by now many of you have already seen some of these news releases and know all about it. However, after blogging for a few years, I have learned that it never hurts to repeat things, to keep putting them out there, to try to make sure that everybody knows about it (even though I know that no matter what we do, someone will not hear about it and then will wonder why we did not tell them????). Anyway, here we go. . . .
We have tried to keep folks notified of the work that is going to be done at Burchard Reservoir this year, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/02/burchard-lake-meeting/ . All along I have been telling folks to “stay tuned” and we would let them know when Burchard was going to be closed for the work to begin. Well, the contractor has been selected and the closure is today!
LINCOLN, Neb. – Public access to Burchard Wildlife Management Area in Pawnee County will be closed for construction beginning March 28, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The reservoir will be drawn down to repair the damaged outlet structure while protecting the quality fishery. Work also will be done to improve boat and angler access and enhance aquatic habitat during the project. The goal for completion of the project is spring of 2013. Project updates will be released periodically.
That news release went out just last Friday and I realize it is short notice, but that is the best we could do.
Speaking of short notice. . . . With the unseasonably warm weather our field crews started collecting walleye spawners a week earlier than we originally planned. And because of that, this news release was also posted just last week,
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will begin collecting walleye eggs earlier than usual this spring because of the recent warm weather. Closures and warnings for boaters and anglers again will be in place.
Game and Parks staff will begin collecting walleyes the night of March 26 at Sherman Reservoir, when the dam is closed, and then during that week at Merritt Reservoir and Lake McConaughy.
Closures and warnings are needed to keep fishing lures and boat props from becoming entangled in nets. Anglers and boaters must avoid Game and Parks boats and nets at all three reservoirs.
At Lake McConaughy, a portion of the face of Kingsley Dam will be closed temporarily to fishing from sunset to sunrise. The northern third of the dam – approximately a half mile – will be off limits to bank and boat anglers. The area of the dam closed during walleye egg collection will include the area from the beginning of the rocks on the north end to a point south on the dam that Game and Parks will mark with a flashing hazard light.
In addition, there is a special boating regulation on Lake McConaughy that applies to anglers fishing the dam area April 1-30. From sunrise to sunset, fishing from a boat within 30 yards of the dam is allowed only on that portion of the dam 200 feet north of the outlet, with travel in a counterclockwise direction required.
Walleye netting will take place until the egg quota has been met. Gill netting along the dams at night will capture females while electroshocking boats will collect male walleyes. Spawning operations will take place on the reservoirs during the morning, then the fertilized eggs will be transferred to Nebraska state fish hatcheries for hatching.
It should take 5-10 days for the eggs needed to be collected, but inclement weather or poor catch could extend efforts and dam closures. Nearly 73.5 million walleye eggs will be collected to satisfy walleye stocking requests for Nebraska waters in 2012.
Now the biggest change with that early start is that the dam closure that is in effect at Sherman Reservoir April 1-20 every year was enacted earlier, started on March 26. Again I know not everyone heard about that and I know that has caused an inconvenience for some anglers. Believe me, I have heard about it. I am sorry, but we cannot control the weather nor the walleyes and when they decide to spawn we have to be there collecting eggs. Sherman is one of our major sources of walleye eggs and produces the eggs needed for walleyes to stock all across Nebraska. This is an inconvenience to some anglers, but we believe it was necessary this year. We stock walleyes in waters all across Nebraska, including Sherman Reservoir, and we need to be able to collect those eggs NOW and without interference. There was no easy way to close the dam at Sherman a week earlier than normal, sorry.
There is another recent news release I want to draw attention to here on my blog. We have had plans to improve the access and boat ramp at our Sunshine Bottoms Wildlife Area on the Missouri River for years and finally it looks like that project is going to get off the ground. In addition there are some Missouri River boat ramp updates included here:
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Sunshine Bottoms Wildlife Management Area (WMA) boat launch on the Missouri River in Boyd County will remain closed until construction is complete, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The area, located 3 miles east and 4 north of Lynch, is getting a new boat ramp, parking lot and boundary fencing.
The public will be notified when the facility reopens.
The following is a list of most Game and Parks boat ramps on the river and their status. Conditions are not optimal at all ramps and low water is an issue:
— Verdel Landing WMA – Ramp open, no docks
— Niobrara Landing WMA – Ramp open, no docks
— Bazille Creek WMA – Ramp open, no docks
— Ferry Landing WMA – Closed indefinitely
— Mulberry Bend WMA – Ramp open, no docks
— Ponca State Park (SP) – Ramp open, no docks
— Pelican Point State Recreation Area (SRA) – Ramp open, no docks
— Riverview Marina SRA – Ramp open, no docks
— Peru WMA – Ramp open, no docks
— Indian Cave SP – Closed for ramp replacement
I have one update to that list of Missouri River boat ramp conditions: The docks at Niobrara Landing are now in place.
Everyone is eagerly awaiting the opening of Lake Wanahoo on April 28. The pike population there has generated great interest, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/03/many/ , and will offer anglers in southeast Nebraska an unique opportunity to catch some pike, at least for a period of time. I cannot give you any details at this time because those details are being worked out, but I want to mention this now because it is another one of those news items that we will want everyone to know about especially before Wanahoo opens. . . . There are discussions underway to enact some special regulations for the pike fishery at Wanahoo when it opens. Those regulations will not be found in the 2011-2012 Fishing Guide, http://www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/guides/fishguide/pdf/FishGuide.pdf , but will nonetheless be valid and enforced. Stay tuned for a news release when that is finalized and look for signs at all Wanahoo access points.