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Some Updates, Jan. 8, 2020

I am still getting caught up on some “stuff” after the holidays.  Want to post some updates about several things in this blog post.  Yes, I know some of these have made the rounds already, know that the news has already been released, but I want to spread the word as much as possible.  So, in no particular order:

Holmes Lake ice-fishing event canceled

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has canceled the Discover Ice-Fishing Clinic scheduled for Jan. 11 at Holmes Lake in Lincoln because of a lack of safe ice. It will not be rescheduled.

A similar event is scheduled for Jan. 19 at Kearney’s Fort Kearny State Recreation Area Lake No. 6 from 8 a.m.-noon. While the event has not been canceled yet, conditions do not appear promising. These clinics are for young or new anglers to gain experience ice-fishing on a lake. A park entry permit is required at Fort Kearny. All fishing regulations apply.

On Jan. 18, however, the Nebraska Fish and Game Association will host a classroom clinic at Yanney Heritage Park’s Environmental Resource Center in Kearney from 1- 5 p.m. This clinic will feature presentations by some of Nebraska’s top ice fishermen. Seating is limited, so registration is requested by emailing Harold@nefga.org.

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Fish salvage declared for Valentine NWR’s Hackberry Lake

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has declared a fish salvage for Hackberry Lake on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge south of Valentine from Dec. 20, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020.

The lake was scheduled to have its existing fish population renovated during 2019 as part of an Aquatic Habitat Project to eliminate common carp on the refuge. However, the renovation was not completed due to wet conditions and unsuitable water levels. Fish salvages are implemented to facilitate angler use of the existing fish in the lake.

During the salvage period at Hackberry Lake:

— Length limits will be rescinded but daily bag limits will be maintained. Those limits being rescinded are the one-fish-34-inches-or-longer restriction in the northern pike daily bag limit, the one-fish-21-inches-or-longer restriction in the largemouth bass daily bag limit, and the 15-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass.

— Fish may be taken only by hook-and-line or archery. Game fish may be taken by archery July 1-Sept. 30, while nongame fish, such as common carp, may be taken any time.

Due to concerns for the spread of aquatic invasive species, salvaged fish cannot be sold or used for stocking into other public or private bodies of water.

The Aquatic Habitat Project is a joint effort of Game and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Road damage prompts temporary closure of Hudson Lake

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hudson Lake in Cherry County is temporarily closed because of deteriorating road conditions.

Warmer temperatures in recent days have prompted melting snow with runoff causing damage to the access road.

Hudson Lake, which is about 24 miles southwest of Valentine, is available for public recreation through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Open Fields and Waters Program. Conditions will be assessed on a weekly basis to determine the lake’s reopening.

I have heard that road conditions are not good to Cottonwood-Steverson either, and there may be other sandhill lakes where access is a challenge right now.  Please use some common sense, if the roads are bad, stay off.  Tearing roads up is a good way to have access closed permanently.

Changes to sport fishing orders take effect Jan. 1

LINCOLN, Neb. – Anglers should be aware of changes to Nebraska Game and Parks Commission sport fishing orders that will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. The changes pertain to daily bag limits, possession limits, length limits and open areas.

The changes are:

Trout – The daily bag and possession limits on cutthroat trout change from five and 12, respectively, to two and four, respectively, and only one fish in the bag can be 12 inches or longer. Cutthroats do not naturally reproduce in Nebraska and are produced in limited numbers in state fish hatcheries. The change is designed to spread fishing opportunity among more people by reducing individual harvest.

Striped bass, white bass or wiper – No harvest is allowed at Omaha’s Zorinsky Lake. This is designed to protect wipers and allow them to grow to a larger size.

Channel catfish – The daily bag limit at Merritt Reservoir and Calamus Reservoir shall include no more than one fish 30 inches or longer. This change is expected to protect larger fish at these reservoirs, which have experienced a reduction in overall size of catfish.

Muskellunge, tiger muskellunge – There is a 50-inch minimum length limit for muskie and tiger muskie at Merritt. This is designed to protect large muskie and establish a destination location and trophy fishery at Merritt.

For an updated summary of fishing regulations and orders, read the 2020 Fishing Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov/guides. Find the best places to fish in the coming year by reading the 2020 Fishing Forecast at OutdoorNebraska.gov/fishingforecast. Fishing permits for 2020 can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org.

The 2020 Fishing Guide is available on-line HERE.

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We just received our first shipment of printed 2020 Fishing Guides, you will see those distributed to the usual places soon.

I know many of you have already found it, but let me also say the 2020 Fishing Forecast is also available on-line right now.

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Hard copies will be coming soon.

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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