Wow July was a busy month – I put on some serious miles traveling across southwest Nebraska, but I experienced some pretty cool stuff along the way.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission hosted the first annual Carp-O-Rama at Lake Maloney, south of North Platte, which was a huge hit and gave people in attendance a new perspective on carp, carp fishing, and eating carp. Catching carp was only part of the day – once a carp was caught anglers learned how to make an ink print of the carp they landed, watched demonstrations on how to clean their catch and finally anglers and on-lookers experienced the unique, fried flavor of carp, some for the first time.
Johnson Lake SRA was host to the Mutineer 15 National Sailboat race. The Mutineer 15 is a 15-foot sloop rigged sailboat that is raced by two people. Boats from all over the country competed for the National title. Crews from as far away as Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Florida, Michigan, Alabama, Texas as well as area states including Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado participated in the event.
This race was quite a sight and the competition between competitors was close and fun to watch. There is just something quite beautiful about a sailboat running in a body of water that is intriguing and beautiful.
The third annual high school state fishing tournament was held at Harlan County Reservoir. There were 21, 2-person teams this year, which was the most for this tournament. My hometown of North Platte had three teams in the event with the team of Drew Bailey and Jacob Zimbelman placing third in the event. The team caught four fish for a total weight of 14 pounds, 2 ounces and their big fish was 4 pounds, 9 ounces. Payne Ahrens and Eric Soe of Gretna won the tournament with the big fish award of 5 pounds, 5 ounces and a total weight including five fish for 15 pounds. The fishing was tough, but some big largemouth bass were landed and brought to the weigh-ins.
I was fortunate enough to be able to get 55 foot in the air in an air lift truck to take pictures of beautiful Rock Creek Hatchery and Rock Creek Lake State Recreation Area. The view from that high in the air is unmatched by any terms. I could have stayed in the bucket of that truck all day, just to enjoy the view in that remote area.
Never before have I been in such a place that you drive for miles on desolate roads surrounded by pastures full of sage, turning corner after corner and passing fence post after fence post, to finally come over a tall hill to see a wonderful oasis literally in the middle of nowhere. What a pleasant surprise it was to see the beauty that lies in the middle of sage ground – Rock Creek is definitely one of Nebraska’s best kept secrets, well, I guess the secret may be out now.
This area has primitive camping available with great fishing in some of the clearest water I have ever seen. Fishing can be done on one of the many peninsulas that go out into the lake. There is also a fishing pier and boat ramp to launch from. The lake does have a 5mph, no wake rule. While you’re there, visit the vineyard and the Rock Creek Hatchery in this oasis in the middle of basically nowhere.
August doesn’t look like it is going to slow down much, so I guess I’d better get my running shoes on, gas my truck and get ready for some more excitement in Nebraska’s great outdoors.
Julie Geiser out of North Platte, is a public information officer for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Regional Editor for NEBRASKAland magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 308-535-8025.