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Type of Water Farm ponds, Sandhill lakes, NRD lakes, sandpits, Salt Valley lakes, I-80 lakes;
Common throughout the state
Farm ponds, NRD lakes, sandpits, Salt Valley lakes, Sherman, Merritt and southwest reservoirs;
Common throughout the state
Large reservoirs, rivers Clear water lakes and streams with gravel or rock bottoms;
Box Butte Reservoir
Sandhills lakes, Merritt Reservoir;
Cool water lakes in northern Nebraska
Habitat Shallow, weedy area;
Near sub-merged trees
Rocky areas, shallow coves with brushpiles, flooded trees, weedbeds Open water Weedy areas, fallen trees Shallow and deep water flats
Temperatures Peak feeding - 69°
Active – 64-80°
Spawning - 67-80°
Peak feeding - 71°
Active - 65-74°
Spawning – 60-65°
Peak feeding - 65°
Active – 55-80°
Spawning – 58-70°
Peak feeding - 69°
Active – 64-72°
Spawning – 60-70°
Peak feeding - 68°
Active – 58-73°
Spawning – 44-54°
FoodPreference Insects, worms Fish, insects, worms, crustaceans Insects and fish, especially shad Insects, fish, crustaceans Fish, insects, worms
Time of Day Daylight hours, dawn or dusk Evening through morning hours best, little activity during mid-day Daylight hours best during spring, nighttime during summer Daylight hours most productive, morning and evenings best Daylight hours only
Bait, Live, Tackle Nymphs, wet and dry flies, small poppers, beetle spins, worms;
Fly equipment, light spinning gear
Minnows, spinners, beetlespins;
Light action spinning equipment
Minnows, crankbaits, spinners, jigs, spoons;
Medium to light action equipment
Worms, wet and dry flies, jigs, spinners;
Light action equipment
Worms, minnows, jigs;
Medium to light action equipment


Species Striped Bass Hybrid (Wiper) Largemouth Bass Smallmouth Bass Walleye &
Catfish Trout Pike, Tiger &
Types of Water Republican and Platte River reservoirs, Branched Oak and various other larger lakes Farm ponds, NRD lakes, sandpits, I-80 lakes, most public lakes I-80 lakes, Merritt Reservoir, Missouri River, Lake McConaughy, Tri-County Canal Most medium-sized and large reservoirs, Missouri and lower Platte rivers;
Sauger primarily in rivers
Most warmwater rivers, reservoirs and ponds Niobrara tributaries, Pine Ridge streams, North Platte tributaries, Lake McConaughy, Lake Ogallala, and various put and take lakes Muskellunge found only in Watts Lake, Merritt Reservoir, Oliver Reservoir, Morman Island lakes;
Tigers and pike in newer reservoirs;
Pike common in Sandhill lakes
Habitat Open water Clear water preferred, flooded stumps and brushpiles, weedbeds, ledges and dropoffs in deeper water Rocky areas preferred, also flooded trees and brushpiles In lakes, walleye prefer clean, hard bottoms at various depths;
In rivers, dropoffs below sandbars, 5 to 15 feet deep;
Sauger seek same kind of areas having active current
Channel cats like reservoir inlets early in spring, scattered rest of year;
In rivers, brushpiles and holes below sandbars;
Flathead cats seek obstructions in current, bunch up below dams
At obstructions in streams, outside bank of bends, undercut banks;
cold water, rocky areas or open water
Usually feed in shallow water near weedbeds and rushes, may rest in deeper water, but usually passive there
Temperatures Active – 64-72°
Active – 60-76°
Peak feeding - 73°
Spawning – 61-65°
Active – 60-73°
Peak feeding - 68°
Spawning – 61-65°
Active – 55-74°
Peak feeding - 64°
Spawning – 42-50°
Active – 60-75°
Peak feeding – 60-75°
Spawning – 75-78°
Active – 50-60°
Pike Active – 55-74°
Peak feeding – 66°
Spawning – 40-48°
Muskie active – 55-72°
Peak feeding – 63°
Spawning – 49-60°
Food Preferences Fish, especially shad Fish, crayfish, insects Crayfish, fish, insects Fish, insects Channel and blue cat eat live or dead fish, meant;
Flathead eat live fish
Insects, small fish and crayfish Fish, occasional small mammal or bird
Time of Day Anytime spring, after sunset summer &
daytime fall
Dawn, dusk often best, but can be active anytime Dawn, dusk often best, but can be active anytime Dawn, dusk, nighttime Night best Dawn, dusk, can be active anytime Daytime, rarely at night
Bait, Lure, Tackle Jigs or crankbait in spring and summer, jig, slabs, crankbait in fall;
Heavy rod, line, etc., except for early jig fishing
Spinnerbaits, jig and pork, crankbaits, plastic worm, plugs;
Medium action spinning or bait-casting gear;
Poppers and streams on hefty flyrods
Spinners, plastic worms, crankbaits, other artificials;
Crayfish, worms and minnows best baits;
Medium spinning gear;
Poppers and streamers on medium weight flyrods
Trolled baits rigged with crawlers, leeches or minnows;
Also jig-minnow combo, plain jig, trolled or cast crankbaits and other plugs
Stillfished shad entrails, blood or commercial bait, frog or crayfish for channel cat;
Live sunfish or big minnow for flathead;
Medium action baitcast or spinning gear
Small spinners, spoons or rapalas on light spinning gear;
flies, nymphs on flyrod;
Worms, grasshoppers, minnows on either in stream;
Trolled artificials at Lake McConaughy
Spoons, plugs, spinnerbaits;
Chub, shiner, frozen smelt for stillfishing or ice fish;
Medium to heavy spin or baitcasting gear for open water tipup for ice fishing;
always use steel leader
*Water clarity is an important factor in developing and maintaining a quality game fish population
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