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Adventure Report, Early Summer 2018

I have been around, been back and forth at least half-way across the state a couple of times in the past couple of weeks.  As always, the fishing gear went with me, dried a few off along the way. . . .

Got a call a year ago from an Oregon State baseball fan.  His team was in the CWS and he was going to be traveling across our great state, wanted to do some fishing along the way.  I told him about our interstate lakes and he loved ’em.  If you are a college baseball fan, you know the Beavers made it back to Omaha again this year.  Once again I get an e-mail.  Turns out the gentleman is the editor of The Drake fly-fishing magazine.  Tom was going to hit some interstate lakes on his trip through Nebraska and wanted to know if we could meet up, do some fishing, and he could ask me a bunch of questions, perhaps do a story for The Drake.  You know I jumped at the chance!

We only fished one interstate lake while I was with him, one where a person can catch some smallmouth bass.  Again, I am not being coy, but if you do not know which interstate lake that was, it was mentioned again this year in the annual Fishing Forecast.  If you go, every smallmouth you catch has to be released.

I tossed a variety of jigs and hooked a couple of smallies.  Lost the biggest on that one last jump just before I put my hands on her.  She was nice, I am guessing around 17 inches.

They liked poppers too.

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Planned to do some more fishing the next day, but as you know it is thunderstorm season and any given fishing trip can be lightninged-out.  It was.  Oh well.

Headed west again the next week, this time spent a couple, three evenings on some bigger water.  Tied on a #18 beadhead zebra midge and did a little work on my Trout Slam.


Took a break for a tasty steak, and then headed up on the dam for the night bite.  There were a ton of baitfish in the area, looked like it would be a great night and my hopes were high because I knew of a big walleye that had been caught and released the night before.


Nicely done, Aaron!  Thanks for the boat ride, thoroughly enjoyed fishing with you guys!

No big walleyes or wipers showed up for me, instead my theme of this year continued–channel catfish.  Pretty much everywhere I have fished for the past couple of months, I have caught some channels.  Nope, I have not pursued channel catfish on even one of those trips, but they just keep hitting my crankbaits!  I dried off a couple of two-pounders, and then had this baby crunch my bait.


Oh well, if channel cats are going to eat my artificial baits, they might as well be big ones!

Migrated east to another reservoir the next evening, a hot, humid night.  Dried off and released a walleye there, a 19-incher, sorry, did not snap a photo.  Figured I could score another fish or two that night, there were plenty of baitfish present again, but other than another fish that missed my bait right after it hit the water, that was it.

Once our cold spring finally gave way to hot weather, the fishing has been HOT throughout the state for the past two months.  May and June were very, very good, for a variety of species, on a variety of waters.  But that really ain’t nothing new, May and June are two of the best fishing months in Nebraska every year.  Start planning on May and June for next year!  Unfortunately, after that comes July and the bite always slows.

The abundance of natural prey of a variety of kinds explodes during the heat of the summer and that is why the bite gets tough–it is NOT because of the heat!  The fish still have to feed and in fact feed as much or more during the summer because water temps. are at a peak and so are the metabolism rates of the fish we seek.  No, the bite gets tough during the summer because there is so much natural prey; all a fish has to do is open its mouth and it is full.  Well-fed fish are always harder to catch.

However, there are some hot bites on Nebraska waters during July and August too!  One of those would be white bass and some even bigger wipers on Nebraska reservoirs.  I have already heard reports of that bite starting, and in fact know some guys that did very well on big white bass, many Master Angler-size, on the same big reservoir I was on last week.  I have heard good white bass reports from a couple of other Nebraska reservoirs recently as well.  So that bite is starting, look for it!


Nicely done, Joe!

Yep, it is July and it is hot.  Yep, it may be a better plan to soak in the water during the middle of the day.  But, there are still fish to be caught and I will be wandering around some more seeing what I can dry off.  Stay tuned.

No fish were harmed in the making of this blog post.  Every one you see was immediately released in good health and is still swimming.  I will catch them again, maybe you will too?

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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