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Blue Lake Trail Closed

Ice fishing tip-up
With ice conditions deteriorating, anglers are being encouraged to use caution. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

CHADRON — Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials have temporarily closed access to Blue Lake in Garden County because of deteriorating ice conditions.

The trail was closed during the nine days of firearm deer season and Game and Parks officials decided to extend the closure after assessing the lake’s condition Monday. With wind and warmer temperatures, the fishable ice has melted around the edge of the lake at the access point.

Joe Rydell, northwestern district fisheries biologist, said the lake will be monitored and the trail will reopen when ice conditions improve.

“The way it is now, fishermen would have to use chest waders, or walk on private property, to get on the ice,” Rydell said.

A lease agreement with a private landowner allows for public use of the 2.7-mile sandy two-track trail to Blue Lake, which is 22 miles north of Oshkosh near the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

A cold snap provided early fishing for many ice anglers, but warmer temperatures and wind have caused the ice to deteriorate in recent days. Ice anglers and others are encouraged to practice safety when visiting bodies of water this winter, especially during periods of transition from cold weather to warmer temperatures.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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