There have been some recent news releases on Aquatic Habitat Projects/Angler Access projects that are underway or have been completed. Let me return to those releases and add a few photos.
May 11, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. – Water levels in Arnold Lake and Victoria Springs Lake are being lowered in preparation for rehabilitation projects that will improve fishing.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Aquatic Habitat Program began planning for these Custer County lake projects in 2010. Outlet structures on both lakes need replacement. Years of siltation have resulted in shallow water choked with excessive aquatic vegetation and algae that harmed fishing.
Rehabilitation efforts also will include excavation of sediments to deepen the lakes, and restocking of fish. Underwater fish habitat such as brush piles, gravel shoals and spawning areas will be installed. Angler access will be improved by reshaping shorelines and installation of handicap-accessible fishing pads and new boat ramps.
Funding is provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Sport Fish Restoration and the Aquatic Habitat Fund.
Both Arnold and Victoria Springs are relatively small, 6 acres or less, impoundments in Custer County. No, these are not hugely important fisheries in Nebraska, but they are very important fisheries for the folks in Custer County! Both lakes have been around for a long time and are in need of maintenance and habitat improvements. The work that will be accomplished on these waters will be very similar to the rehabilitation projects that have been completed on an number of waters around the state already (e.g. Bowling Lake in Lincoln, Ravenna, Cottonmill). Since these are relatively small waters these projects should take a minimal amount of time and in a few years the water quality, habitat, and fishing will be back better than ever.
Here is a picture from last summer of the Victoria Springs pond.
By the way, Victoria Springs State Recreation Area is a beautiful out-of-the-way gem northwest of Broken Bow, http://www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks/guides/parksearch/showpark.asp?Area_No=179 . You likely will have to go out of your way to find it, but you really should sometime. The drive to the place is beautiful and the SRA is very peaceful and picturesque. I have a few memories of catching fish at Victoria Springs. My folks, sister and I used to meet my Gramps and aunt and uncle at Vic Springs for picnics. Of course I always had a fishing pole with me and would slip over to the pond and catch some fish. If you notice all the duckweed in the photo above, I used to fish poppers right in that duckweed and catch bluegills and bass. I am betting in a few years there will be fish there bigger than any I used to catch.
I have not done any fishing at Arnold. That water body sits right on the edge of the town of Arnold, and I know it is a very popular spot with the locals. Every time I drive in, there are a bunch of folks fishing. Again, that should be better than ever in a few years.
You can see the Arnold pond had a lot of aquatic vegetation when I stopped by there last summer. Now, I will always tell you that aquatic vegetation is some of the best fish habitat you can have, and our goal at Arnold will NOT be the elimination of that aquatic vegetation. But, as you can see in the photo, there are a lot of shallow areas choked with aquatic vegetation and some of that could use deepening and some openings in all of that vegetation.
May 11, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Sunshine Bottoms boat launch facility on the Missouri River in Boyd County is open for public use following construction of a new concrete boat ramp mat and rock-surfaced parking area.
Boaters should use caution while boating on the Missouri as upstream water releases from Fort Randall Dam have been reduced significantly for flood damage assessments to spillway slabs downstream below Gavins Point Dam.
Now that is a really short news release that does not do justice to the accomplishment of getting a new boat ramp installed at Sunshine Bottoms. A long time ago, one of the first times I fished the Missouri River above Lewis & Clark Reservoir we launched at the Sunshine Bottoms boat ramp. Over time that boat ramp fell on some hard times. . . .
Obviously that needed fixed and a project was initiated to fix it. But, there were landowners to work with and that stretch of the Missouri River is designated as a National Recreational and Wild and Scenic River, http://www.nps.gov/mnrr/index.htm , that created some extra “red tape”, and then last year there was this little high water event that threw a wrench into everything. What I am saying is this angler access project had more than its fair share of challenges and that is why it is so good to see it completed! Here is what it looks like now!
This will provide a boat ramp and make angler access much easier to that very upper stretch of Missouri River in Nebraska.
I hope folks understand that there is a lot of planning, coordination, engineering, sweat, tears, some cussing and hard work that go into all of the Aquatic Habitat and Angler Access projects. We try to do all of that with minimal overhead costs because we only have a certain amount of money and we want it all being used to make real improvements. When these projects are completed there is often little fanfare and horn-tooting; part of the reason for that is we are on to the next project! Hopefully they all provide better fishing for all of us and make “The Good Life” even better!