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Nebraska Boating Guide

Open Waters

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Boating Guide



| Southeast | Southwest | Panhandle | Sandhills | Northeast |

Southeast Nebraska


  • BLUESTEM LAKE (2 1/2 mi. W of Sprague, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so that wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property with the area marked by buoys located in the southwest bay which includes Day Use Area 1, 2 and 3 and the secondary launching and docking area located at Day Use Area 5.
  • BRANCHED OAK LAKE (3 mi. N of Malcolm, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following areas on Branched
    • Oak Lake:
    • Dam Zone: An area paralleling the shoreline of the dam extending 400 feet lakeward to the points of intersection with shore-line zones.
    • Shoreline Zone: All areas extending 30 yards lakeward from the herein.
    • Boat Ramp Bay: That portion of the bay on which the main boat launching area is situated, north of the half-mile point on the common boundary of Sec.s 27 and 28, T. 12N., R. 5E, and paralleling the shoreline as marked. Marina Bay: The entire bay situated within Sec's 27 and 28,T12N,R5E.
    • Upper End, North Branch: All that portion of the reservoir situated above Day Use Area 10, located in the SE 1/4, Sec. 20, T. 1 2N., R. 5E.
    • North Beach Bay: The entire bay, except the confines of the designated swimming beach area, situated between Day Use Areas 10 and 11.
  • The following described areas shall be open to motorboats operated at speeds in excess of 5 mph, provided such operation is consistent with Nebraska boating laws and regulations:
  • The remainder of the water surface of Branched Oak Reservoir, except as otherwise designated.
  • The following described area shall be closed to all motorboats except motorboats operated by the Commission or motorboats duly authorized by the Commission and engaged in search or rescue:
    • All that portion of North Beach Bay between Day Use Areas 10 and 11 designated as the Swimming Beach Area.
    • That portion of the Shoreline Zone paralleling the Lieber's Point desig- nated swimming beach at Day Use Area 6.
    • For the purposes of marking, all shoreline references in the foregoing shall refer to elevation 1280.
  • BURCHARD LAKE (3 mi. E of Burchard, Pawnee Co.) Motorboats may be used only for fishing except during any waterfowl season the lake is closed to all boating. Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property
  • CONESTOGA LAKE (3 mi. S and 1 W of Emerald, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so wash and wake will cause no discomfort hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following areas as marked by buoys.
    • DAM ZONE: From the north shore buoy line paralleling the shoreline of the dam extending 150 feet lakeward south to the concrete overflow structure.
    • MAIN ACTIVITY AREA: The public launchgng and docking site, both bays east and west of the boat launch ramp located in the NE 1/4, Sec. 9, and NW 1/4, Sec. 10,T9N, R5E
    • UPPER END: All water located above southwest 100th street located in Sec. 9, T9N, R 5E
  • OLIVE CREEK LAKE (1 1/2 mi. E, 1 1/4 mi. S of Kramer, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • PAWNEE LAKE (2 mi. N, 1 1/2 mi. W of Emerald, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following areas as marked by buoys.
    • DAM ZONE: An area paralleling the shoreline of the dam extending 200 feet lakeward.
    • NORTHEAST ACTIVITY AREA BAY: The entire bay within the break- water structure situated in the SW 1/4, Sec. 9, T 1 ON, R 5E. UPPER END: All that portion of the upper end of the reservoir, including Lakeview Campground Bay, situated in the N 1/2, Sec. 8 and 9, T 1 ON, R 5E '
    • SOUTH ACTIVITY AREA: The public launching and docking site at the South Activity Area situated in the NE 1/4, Sec. 17, T 1 ON, R 5E. The following areas shall be closed to all vessels: Northeast Activity Area, which includes the swimming beach, situated in the SW 1/4, Sec. 9, T 10N, R 5E and the west Adams Street Swimming Beach Area situated in the SE 1/4, Sec. 8, T 1 ON, R 5E.
    • PUBLIC POWER AND IRRIGATION CANALS: Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property on all public power and irrigation canals in the State of Nebraska unless said canals are otherwise posted.
  • ROCKFORD LAKE (7 mi. E, 2 mi. S of Beatrice, Gage Co.)
  • STAGECOACH LAKE (1 1/2 mi. S, 1/2 W of Hickman, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • SUMMIT LAKE (2 1/2 mi. W of Tekamah, Burt Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of ali vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • WAGON TRAIN LAKE (2 mi. E of Hickman, Lancaster Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property over the entire water surface area with respect to motorboats.

Southwest Nebraska
  • ELWOOD RESERVOIR (5 mi. N of Elwood, Gosper Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • ENDERS RESERVOIR (8 mi. SE of Imperial, Chase Co.) Posted area closed to all boating during any waterfowl hunting seasons.
  • GALLAGHER CANYON RESERVOIR (9 mi. S of Cozad, Dawson Co.)
  • HARLAN COUNTY RESERVOIR (Alma, Harlan Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the areas marked by buoys on the following bays: Gremlin, Hunter Cove, Patterson and Methodist Creek.
  • IRON HORSE TRAIL LAKE (2.5 miles west and 1/2 north of DuBois, Pawnee County). Speed in excess of 5 miles per hour is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or dame to person, vessel or property.
  • JEFFREY CANYON RESERVOIR (10 mi. S Brady, county road, Lincoln Co.)
  • JOHNSON LAKE (7 mi. SW of Lexington, Gosper Co.) Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discom- fort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following areas: Mahaffey Bay between the north point and the dry bay in the northwest corner of said reservoir and also Mallard Bay located on the southwest side of said reservoir. Inlet areas as marked by buoys are closed to boating
  • KIRKMANS COVE LAKE (2 miles west and 1 mile north of Humbolt, Richardson County). Speed in excess of five miles per hour is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • MALONEY RESERVOIR (6 mi. S of North Platte, Lincoln Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property within the following areas: Mills Lagoon, the small bay area in South Bay which is adjacent to Lots 245 through 250, the Southwest Bay adjacent to Lots 88 and 89 and the Mill Island Boat Club Bay. Boats are not permitted within the restricted areas at the following locations:
    • The inlet area
    • The outlet area The swimming area adjacent to the main recreation area. The swimming area adjacent to the J.C. Recreation Area. The swimming area adjacent to the area of South Beach.
  • MEDICINE CREEK RESERVOIR (Harry Strunk, 2 mi. W, 7 N of Cambridge, Frontier Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within Concession Area Bay.
  • MIDWAY LAKE (5 mi. SW of Cozad, Dawson Co.)
  • RED WILLOW RESERVOIR (Hugh Butler, 8 mi. N of McCook, Red Willow and Frontier counties) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following bays: South Boat Ramp Bay located in the SW l/4 of Sec. 36, T. 5N., R. 30W, in Frontier Co. and the NW 1/4 of Sec. 2, T. 4N, R. 30W of Red Willow Co., Concession Bay, located in SE 1/4 of Sec. 25, T. 5N, R. 30W of Frontier Co.; Swim Beach- Bay located in the SE 1/4 of Sec. 25, SW 1/4 of Sec. 30, NW 1/4 of Sec. 31 and the NE 1/4 of Sec. 36 all in T. 5N, R. 30W of Frontier Co..
  • SUTHERLAND RESERVOIR (6 mi. SW of Sutherland, Lincoln Co.) All boating is prohibited within signed or buoyed areas in canal inlet and outlet, pump house inlet bay, cooling pond and cooling pond outlet. Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following areas: Hershey Beach, that portion of water approximately 30 yards west of the boat ramp and 30 yards north then east southeast to the east shore,line; West Boat Ramp, that portion of water located within this bay to 50 yards east of the ramp and the bay area west and south of the boat ramp.
  • SWANSON RESERVOIR (3 mi. W of Trenton, Hitchcock Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following bays: Macklin and Spring Creek.
Panhandle
  • BOX BUTTE RESERVOIR (10 mi. N of Hemingford, county road, Dawes Co.)
  • BRIDGEPORT, SRA, CENTER LAKE ONLY (Bridgeport, Morrill Co.) That the 52-acre lake corr,monly known as Center Lake located in the Bridgeport State Recreation Area, located in Morrill Co., be open to motorboat traffic, and that said traffic shall travel in a counter-clockwise direction. The remaining four smaller lakes are restricted to non- powered vessels and those powered with conventional electric outboard motors only. Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the large bay on the southwest end of Center Lake.
  • BUCKSKIN HILLS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA (2 mi. W and 2 mi. S of Newcastle, Dixon Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • LAKE MCCONAUGHY (8 mi. N of Ogallala, Keith Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following bays: Otter Creek, Martin, Arthur and Emergency Spillway.
  • LAKE MINATARE (4 mi. N and 8 mi. E of Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the areas marked by buoys at the following dock areas:
    • Public Dock Site situated adjacent to old trailer park at east side of the point area.
    • North Platte Valley Boat Club DocK Area situated in Sec. 19, T. 231S, R. 43W.
    • Dock area adjacent to H. Heimbuck and S.C.S. private trailer develoR ment situated on, the northeast side of the reservoir.
  • LAKE OGALLALA (9 mi. N of Ogallala, Keith Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is proh›bited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • OLIVER RESERVOIR (12 mi. W of Kimball, Kimball Co.)
  • SMITH LAKE (23 mi. S of Rushville, Sheridan Co.) Motorboats may be used only for fishing. Speed in excest of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of ail vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • WALGREN STATE RECREATION AREA (2 1/2 mi. E, 2 1/2 S of Hays Springs, Sheridan Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
Sandhills

  • CALAMUS RESERVOIR (8 mi. NW of Burwell, Garfield and Loup counties) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the following areas:
    • All that portion of the upper end of the reservoir west of the buoy line west of the Nunda Shoal Public Use Area.
    • The public launching/docking site at the Nunda Shoal Public Use Area.
    • The public launching and docking site at the Homestead Knolls Public Use Area.
  • COTTONWOOD LAKE (1 mi. SE of Merriman, Cherry Co.)
  • GOOSE LAKE (25 mi. S of O'Neill, Holt Co.)
  • LAKE ERICSON (Ericson, Wheeler Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • LONG LAKE (20 mi. SW of Johnstown, Brown Co.) Motorboats may be used only for fishing. Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • MERRITT RESERVOIR (25 mi. SW of Valentine, Cherry Co.) No person or persons shall operate or manipulate water skis, surfboards or similar devices and the speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property within the areas marked by buoys in the Boardman Creek area, Powderhorn Arm and the Snake Arm area. Motorboat travel through the island channel in the Powderhorn Arm shall be one-way from north to south.
  • RAT LAKE (Cherry Co.) Motorboats may be used only for fishing. Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • SHELL LAKE (Cherry Co.) Motorboats may be used only for fishing. SPeed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • SPALDING LAKE (Spalding in Greeley Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • SHERMAN RESERVOIR (4 mi. E of Loup City, Sherman Co.)
  • WILLOW LAKE B.C. WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA (17 mi. S, 11.5 mi. W of Ainsworth, Brown Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
Northeast Nebraska
  • DESOTO NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE LAKE (5 mi. SE of Blair, Washington Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discom- fort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • FREMONT STATE LAKES (3 mi. W of Fremont, Dodge Co.)
    • Lake #10
    • Victory Lake, Lake #15 and Lake #20. All motorboat traffic on Victory Lake and contiguous water shall travel in a counter-clockwise direction. It shall be unlawful to operate a motorboat within any area officially designated and marked for swimming.
    • Victory Lake #15 "It shall be unlawful to operate a motorboat while pulling more than two individual persons on water skis, surfboards or similar devices at the same time." It shail be further unlawful to operate non-powered vessels and those powered by conventional outboard electric motors.
    • Lake #20 "During the period from one hour prior to sunset and 10:00 a.m., it shall be unlawful to operate a vessel in excess of 5 mph or in such manner as to create wash or wake which causes discomfort, hazard, damage or injury to persons, property or other vessels."
    • Lake #16 Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • GROVE LAKE (2 mi. N of Royal, Antelope Co.) Motorboats may be used only for fishing. Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of a!l vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discom: fort, hazard, injury/damage to persons, vessels, or property.
  • HAMBURG BEND (1 mile south, 4 miles east 1/2 south and 1/2 east of Nebraska City, Otoe County) Speed in excess of five miles per hour is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to person, vessels or property.
  • LAKE NORTH (Platte Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels, or property within the 50-foot areas marked off with posts and buoys on the east and west sides.
    • A marked area along the north and south shores shall be used for ski landing and takeoff only. This area will extend from sixty feet west of the west boat dock to within 50 feet of the west shore; and all along the south shore.
    • All boats shall travel in a counter-clockwise direction
    • Inflatable devices are prohibited outside of the 50-foot areas marked off with posts and buoys on the east and west sides of Lake North.
    • Ski take-offs or landings prohibited on east and west shore inside buoys.
  • LEWIS AND CLARK STATE RECREATION AREA (Gavins Point Dam, 15 mi. N and E of Crofton, Cedar and Knox counties) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited and speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property in that portion of the spillway and tailrace of Gavins Point designated as the "Tailwaters Area" described as a part of the S 1/2 of Sec. 7, T. 33N, R. 1 W and the W 1/2 of the S 1/2 of Sec. 8, T. 33N, R. 1W, all located in Cedar Co., Nebraska.
    • Every person shall wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life preserver at all times while aboard any vessel which is in any portion o'f the tailrace stilling basin, or discharge channel of the downstream outlet works of
    • Gavins Point Dam in the area between the tow of the dam and the boat launching ramps located on the south bank approximately 4,000 feet downstream from the dam as posted (described as a part of Sec. 7, T. 33N., R. 1 W. located in Cedar Co., Nebraska.
    • That portion of the Tailrace at Gavins Point Dam Powerhouse from the draft tube deck of the powerhouse downstream to the barrier cable (a distance of 320 feet is closed to all boating.
    • Spillway Area. That portion of the spillway discharge channel from the spillway structure downstream, a distance of 450 feet, is closed to all boating while the area is buoyed off.
    • Intake and Outlet Works. Those areas upstream and downstream of Gavins Point Powerhouse draft tube intakes and outlets which are marked by buoys, signs, or both, as hazardous areas are closed to all boating.
  • MASKENTHINE LAKE (1 1/2 N of Stanton, Stanton Co.) Speed in exc'ess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • SWAN LAKE (28 mi. S of Atkinson, Holt Co.) Speed in excess of 5 mph is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to persons, vessels or property.
  • WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR (1 mi. W, 1 mi. S Pierce, Pierce Co.) All power boating traffic shall travel in a counter-clockwise direction. It shall be unlawful to operate a powerboat while pulling more than two persons on water skis, surfboards or similar devices at the same time.
| Southeast | Southwest | Panhandle | Sandhills | Northeast |

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