There are a couple, three, water-related, fishing, boating news items I want to mention, spread the word about, before this holiday weekend.
Goose Lake WMA Open in Time for Memorial Day Weekend
LINCOLN – Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located southeast of Chambers in Holt County, will reopen to public access beginning May 28.
The area had been closed earlier this spring while the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission treated the lake to suppress the growth and spread of Eurasian watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive plant.
The Commission will monitor the plant growth at the lake throughout the spring and summer, treating the immediate boat ramp area as needed to keep it clear of all aquatic vegetation. Boaters are required to inspect their boat, trailer and equipment and remove any vegetation before leaving the area.
Eurasian watermilfoil can spread rapidly because a single fragment of stem or leaf can take root and form a new colony, and plants can grow up to 2 inches per day. Once established, the plant can form dense surface mats that can displace native vegetation and interfere with boating, fishing, swimming and other forms of recreation. Plant fragments can be transported on boats, trailers and other aquatic sporting equipment.
The Commission reminds all water users to clean, drain, and dry their equipment (boats, trailers, waders, decoys) when they leave any body of water to prevent the spread of invasive species.
From what I have heard the water level at Goose is high and the water may be dirty, so I do not know how good the fishing will be, but it is open.
Boat Launch Facilities Open at Mulberry Bend, Elk Point Bend WMAs
LINCOLN – New Missouri River boat ramps at Mulberry Bend and Elk Point Bend wildlife management areas (WMA) in Dixon County are now open for public use.
The boat launch facility at Mulberry Bend has been rebuilt following damage from 2011 flooding. The concrete boat ramp has been replaced, bank stabilization added and a new restroom installed. All improvements are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.
The new boat launch facility at Elk Point Bend will provide access for river users between Mulberry Bend upstream and the Ponca State Park (SP) boat ramp 7 miles downstream. The Elk Point Bend boat launch remains as a canoe and kayak access site. The launch includes a 26-foot-wide concrete boat ramp that will be available even during lower water levels, bank stabilization, water hydrant, parking area, restroom and ADA-accessible boating loading ramp.
In addition to laws and regulations, boaters are reminded to adhere to boating advisories posted by the National Park Service in this stretch of the Missouri National Recreation River.
The projects were funded in part by the Recreational Trails Program (Water Trails) of the Federal Highway Administration. Additional funding came from Nebraska Capital Maintenance Funds of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Mulberry Bend WMA is located northwest of Newcastle and Elk Point Bend WMA is located north of Ponca SP.
Aquatic Invasive Species Boat Inspectors Working Across the State
LINCOLN – Boaters enjoying some of Nebraska’s major public waters may be contacted by boat inspectors this summer. Inspections will reduce the risk of aquatic invasive species (AIS) being spread across the state.
Inspections will include a brief examination of the watercraft and a survey of boat operators about their recent boating activities. Participants also will be provided information on ways to prevent the spread of AIS. Inspection and survey results will be used to determine if a risk of spreading an invasive species exists.
Regulations state that boaters are not allowed to launch or leave a boat ramp facility with any water unless it is from a domestic water source. In addition, boaters are required to drain all lake or river water from the watercraft and remove any vegetation or mud from the boat and trailer before leaving a boat ramp.
It is recommended that boaters follow the following Clean, Drain and Dry protocol after boating and before launching your boat in a different water body to prevent the spread of AIS:
— Rinse the boat and all equipment with hot tap water, ideally more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, to kill zebra and quagga mussels. Vinegar also can be used to kill young zebra and quagga mussels, especially in live wells.
— Spray the boat, live well, engine and trailer with a high-pressure sprayer.
— Pull the plugs from bilge, live wells and engine to drain upon leaving a water body. Trim the motor up and down to facilitate the draining of water.
— If washing the boat away from the water body you are leaving, do not allow runoff to enter a drainage.
— Dry the boat and all equipment for at least five days. Use a towel to speed up the drying process, especially in the live well.
The education and compliance by recreational water users is necessary to eliminate the movement of AIS in Nebraska. For more information on all invasive species, visit http://neinvasives.com/.
Also be sure that you are familiar with the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Stamp requirements this year, especially if you are a non-resident bringing a powerboat into Nebraska, AIS Stamp.
Have a great weekend everyone! Make sure to take some time to remember what this holiday is all about!