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Angler Access and Rehabilitation Improvements, Burchard Lake

Told you about a celebration of an angler access improvement project last week; have another one this week:

Public Invited to Open House at Burchard Lake

LINCOLN – The public is invited to an open house to see the new aquatic habitat and fishing access improvements at Burchard Lake. The event is set for Aug. 21 from 5-7 p.m. at Burchard Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

The event will be held at the boat ramp on the north side of the lake. Staff from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will be on hand to answer questions. Families are invited to bring their fishing poles, but some poles and bait will be available for those who have none.

An aquatic habitat rehabilitation project completed at Burchard in 2013 required an 11-foot drawdown 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 were slow to return to full pool. Because the watershed is almost entirely grass, the lake filled slowly. That grass watershed also maintains the excellent water quality and habitat responsible for the superb fishery in Burchard. The 150-acre reservoir provides excellent fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and crappie.

Other improvements made during the rehabilitation project include a new boat launch facility, shoreline angler access and installation of a handicap-accessible fishing pier. Offshore breakwaters were placed to protect shorelines, and a sediment retention basin was added on the reservoir’s north arm. Aquatic habitat was enhanced by deepening areas near new breakwaters and by placing underwater rock shoals and cedar tree fish attractors along areas popular with anglers.

The state-threatened snake species massasauga was minimally impacted during the project. A shift in hibernacula (a creature’s shelter) was observed during the lake’s drawdown, but minimal habitat loss was experienced, and the species will now benefit from higher and stable water levels because of the repaired outlet structure and the addition of the north arm sediment basin.

The $1.9 million project was funded by Game and Parks’ Aquatic Habitat Fund and Game Cash Fund, as well as grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Sport Fish Restoration Angler Access and Sport Fish Restoration Boating Access.

Burchard WMA is located 3 miles east and 1¼ miles north of Burchard, Neb., in Pawnee County.

Read the 2015 Fishing Guide for information on special regulations at Burchard. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more information on fishing in Nebraska or to purchase a fishing permit.

If you want details, read about this project from its initial design, Burchard Lake Meeting, Feb. 2012.

This is not the re-opening of Burchard, after the rehabilitation and access improvement project, it has been re-open for fishing for two years now.  Because it has been such a consistently good fishery for years, one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the state, the work was done WITHOUT draining the reservoir and losing the fish community.  As soon as Burchard was re-opened to fishing a couple years ago, anglers have been back on it, and it has continued to provide some excellent fishing.

Burchard is not a new reservoir, in fact it is relatively old, and thus the need to repair the outlet structure.  It has consistently produced excellent fishing over the years because grass comprises almost its entire watershed which results in excellent water quality for the reservoir, and very little siltation (“A Lake is a Reflection of its Watershed”!), which means excellent habitat conditions including an abundance of aquatic vegetation (They Ain’t “Weeds”!!!), which in turn produces very healthy fish populations and excellent fishing.  Ironically, the excellent watershed resulted in a relatively long passage of time before the reservoir re-filled after the project–grass watersheds soak up a lot of precipitation!  Even when we had all the rains this spring it took awhile, but, finally, earlier this summer, the water level returned to the point where the new boat ramp could be opened.

Now is a great time to have an open house celebration!

So, if you have not been to Burchard recently, or if you have never been down there, come on down for the open house.  Bring your fishing pole!

Here is some of what you will see:

IMG_0969
Photo by Mike Remund. Thanks, Mike!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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