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Oh Happy Day!

Without a doubt Burchard Reservoir is one of our best fisheries in southeast Nebraska.  The reservoir has a watershed comprised almost entirely of grass and because of that, even though it is a relatively old reservoir, it maintains excellent water quality, great habitat including an abundance of aquatic vegetation, and quality fishing for largemouth bass, panfish and channel catfish.  Over the years, the outlet structure on the Burchard dam had deteriorated to the point that it needed replaced.  That project was completed a couple of years ago (Burchard Lake Meeting).  At the time of the outlet repairs, Burchard continued to support an excellent fishery; therefore, the water level was dropped only as far as necessary to repair the outlet structure.  Plenty of water was left in the reservoir to maintain fish populations through the project.

Work was completed on the outlet structure a couple of years ago.  While the water level in the reservoir was down, other aquatic habitat and angler access improvements were done and the old boat ramp was entirely removed and replaced with a brand new boat ramp, dock and parking lot.  Burchard was re-opened to anglers in July of 2013, but the brand new boat ramp has not been operational because we needed water levels to recover.  The same grass watershed that resulted in Burchard continually having excellent water quality and aquatic habitat also slowed runoff.  Coupled with a lack of sufficient precipitation, the new boat ramp at Burchard has not been open since its completion almost two years ago.  Anglers could launch small boats at Burchard the past couple of years as long as they could carry or slide those boats from existing roads to the water.  Fishing at Burchard has been excellent, just like always, for the past couple of years, but no boats could be launched from the new boat ramp.

Until now!  As of this morning!

Burchard Lake Boat Ramp Opens!

The new boat launch facility at Burchard Lake in Pawnee County is now open for public use. Recent rains in the area have increased water levels to near conservation pool, allowing for boat launching from the new ramp.

An aquatic habitat rehabilitation project was completed at Burchard in 2013.  During the rehab, the lake was drawn down 11 feet.  This draw down allowed for the outlet structure to be repaired while maintaining the high-quality fishery.  The lake has been slowly filling since completion of the rehabilitation project.

Other improvements made during the rehabilitation project include improvements to 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 near new breakwaters and by placing underwater rock shoals and cedar tree fish attractors in the reservoir basin.

Boaters are reminded to be aware of underwater hazards and adhere to current fishing and boating regulations, boats are restricted to a 5mph, no-wake speed limit.  Anglers are reminded of the largemouth bass 21-inch minimum length limit that is in effect at Burchard; all bass less than 21 inches must be released immediately.


See those barricades on the new boat ramp? THEY’RE GONE!



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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