LINCOLN – While Burchard Lake in Pawnee County is slowly filling, the new boat launch facility there is still closed until water levels allow for the safe launching of boats from trailers.
While access to the shoreline is open for bank angling, launching of small vessels, including Jon boats, kayaks, canoes and float tubes, is allowed provided they are carried from the road and launched from the shoreline. All vehicles must remain on roads or in parking lots.
Electric trolling motors are allowed on these vessels, but use of the new boat ramp, dock and gas-powered engines is prohibited until water levels allow safe launching conditions. An additional vertical foot of water is needed before vehicle launching of boats will be allowed.
An aquatic habitat rehabilitation project completed at Burchard in 2013 required an 11-foot draw-down of the lake to repair the outlet structure. Enough water remained in the reservoir during the project to maintain the high-quality fishery, but since completion, water levels have been slow to return to full pool. Despite the recent spring rains, the Burchard Lake watershed is almost entirely grass, so the lake is slow to re-fill. That grass watershed also maintains the excellent water quality and habitat responsible for the superb fishery in Burchard.
Other improvements made during the rehabilitation project include shoreline angler access and installation of a handicap-accessible fishing pier. Offshore breakwaters were placed to protect shorelines, and a sediment dike and basin were added on the reservoir’s north arm. Aquatic habitat was enhanced by deepening water levels near new breakwaters and by placing underwater rock shoals and cedar tree fish attractors in the reservoir basin.