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I80 Lakes East of Gothenburg 2010

I80 Lakes East of Gothenburg 2010

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Published by: NEGameandParks on Mar 02, 2011
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Interstate 80 Lakes Fish Population Survey - Page 1
South Central District - Interstate 80 Lakes
Fish Survey Results - Spring 2011
Brad Eifert, Fisheries Biologist
Spanning a stretch of 1
miles along Interstate 80 from Grand Island to Hershey, there are 58 small lakes available for publicfishing. South Central District Fisheries staff has management responsibility on approximately 44 of these lakes from Grand Islandto Gothenburg. These man-made lakes, most of which were created for fill material when the Interstate system was developed in
the 1960’s, range in size from 1 to 40 acres. These sandy bottom lakes have excellent shoreline access for anglers and usual
lycontain clear water and abundant aquatic vegetation, which provides excellent habitat conditions for largemouth bass and bluegill.In addition to these two species, most of the lakes contain channel catfish, while others have crappie, rock bass, walleye, andnorthern pike. Most of these lakes are surveyed on a five year rotation and the following graphs and text display these results.
Largemouth Bass
Largemouth bass are present in all of the Interstate lakes in the South Central District, except forWar Axe SRA which has smallmouth bass. Lakes with high densities of bass, include the Windmilland Ft. Kearny Lakes, Middle Mormon Island, Kearney Interchange, North Kearney Reststop, CootShallows, Sandy Channel #2, Dogwood East, and West Cozad. Lakes that traditionally producelarger bass include Cheyenne, Bufflehead, Blue Hole West, Sandy Channel #8, Willow Island, andDarr. Most of the I-80 lakes within the South Central District have a 15-inch minimum length limiton largemouth bass. Exceptions to this include Mormon Island SRA, Cheyenne, West Wood River,War Axe, and Archway Lakes; which all have 21-inch minimum length limits. In addition, KeaWest is designated as a catch and release only lake for all species. Anglers are encouraged topractice catch and release on bass in the I-80 Lakes as they are easily over-harvested in thesesmall lakes.
   A   l   d   a    (   0   7    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   3    (   0   6    )   N .   K   e   a   r   n   e   y   R   e   s   t   s   t   o   p    (   0   8    )   W   i   n   d   m   i   l   l   #   5    (   0   6    )   S   K   e   a   r   n   e   y   R   e   s   t   s   t   o   p    (   0   3    )   W   e   s   t   C   o   z   a   d    (   1   0    )   K   e   a   W   e   s   t    (   0   8    )   B   l   u   e   H   o   l   e   W   e   s   t    (   0   9    )   S   a   n   d   y   C   h   a   n   n   e   l   #   8    (   0   9    )   G   r   a   n   d   I   s   l   a   n   d   R   e   s   t   A   r   e   a    (   0   7    )   E   a   s   t   G   o   t   h   e   n   b   u   r   g    (   1   0    )   W   i   n   d   m   i   l   l   #   2    (   0   6    )   E   a   s   t   O   d   e   s   s   a    (   0   6    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   2    (   0   6    )   S   a   n   d   y   C   h   a   n   n   e   l   #   4    (   0   9    )   W   i   n   d   m   i   l   l   #   6    (   0   6    )   W   i   n   d   m   i   l   l   #   1    (   0   6    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   6    (   0   6    )   U   n   i   o   n   P   a   c   i   f   i   c    (   0   9    )   W   i   n   d   m   i   l   l   #   4    (   0   6    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   1    (   0   6    )   D   o   g   w   o   o   d   E   a   s   t    (   1   0    )   W   i   l   l   o   w   I   s   l   a   n   d    (   1   0    )   D   a   r   r   S   t   r   i   p    (   1   0    )   B   a   s   s   w   a   y   S   t   r   i   p    (   0   8    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   5    (   0   6    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   4    (   0   6    )   F   o   r   t   K   e   a   r   n   y   #   7    (   0   6    )   W   i   n   d   m   i   l   l   #   3    (   0   6    )   C   o   z   a   d    (   1   0    )   C   o   o   t   S   h   a   l   l   o   w   s    (   0   9    )   W   e   s   t   W   o   o   d   R   i   v   e   r    (   0   9    )   M   o   r   m   o   n   I   s   l   a   n   d   M   i   d   d   l   e    (   0   7    )   C   h   e   y   e   n   n   e    (   0   9    )   S   a   n   d   y   C   h   a   n   n   e   l   #   2    (   0   9    )   K   e   a   r   n   e   y   I   n   t   e   r   c   h   a   n   g   e    (   0   8    )   B   u   f   f   l   e   h   e   a   d    (   0   8    )
   L   a   r   g   e   m   o   u   t   h   b   a   s   s   p   e   r   h   o   u   r   o   f   e   l   e   c   c   t   r   o   s   h   o   c   k   i   n   g
South-Central Interstate 80 Lakes --Largemouth Bass
>20 inches15 -19.9 inches
12 -14.9inches
8 -11.9 inches<8 inches
( ) --Year lake waslast surveyed
Interstate 80 Lakes Fish Population Survey - Page 2
Bluegill are present in almost all of the I-80 lakes within the South Central District. While most of the lakescan be great places to catch bluegill, some of the best lakes to catch six to eight inch bluegill include MormonIsland Middle, Windmill SRA, Fort Kearny SRA, Kea West, North Kearney Reststop, Cozad, and West Cozad.Big bluegills, greater than eight inches, can be found in many of the lakes but they are not usually very
abundant and their presence doesn’t always last long once anglers find them. Some lakes that consistently
produce larger bluegill include Bassway Strip, Bufflehead, Kearney Interchange, Sandy Channel #8, DogwoodEast, Windmill #2 and Ft. Kearny #7. Anglers are reminded that the daily bag limit for panfish was changed to15 fish per day as of January 1, 2011.
Other Fish Species
Channel Catfish
Channel catfish are stocked in most of the Interstate Lakes on an alternate year basis. Windmill#4 and Fort Kearny #6 both have intensive catfish stocking and feeding programs, whichincreases abundance, average size and catchability of the catfish in those lakes. Other lakeswith good potential for catfish include: West Wood River, Bufflehead, Kearney Interchange,Fort Kearny #2, Coot Shallows, Blue Hole West, Sandy Channel #1 & #8, and Darr. As of January1, 2011, the daily bag limit has been changed to five channel catfish per day. In addition, Fort Kearny #2 and Windmill #3 aredesignated as catch and release only lakes for channel catfish. Additional information regarding these regulations can be found inthe current online fishing guide at:
Common carp
Often thought of as a rough fish, the common carp can provide anglers and archers excellent fishingopportunities in many of the Interstate 80 lakes. Trophy-sized common carp (15-25 pounds) can be foundin low abundance at Bassway Strip, Bufflehead, Kea West, and Sandy Channel #4 & #
. More numerous,albeit smaller carp can be caught at Cheyenne, West Wood River, Archway Lakes #1 & #4, Blue Hole West,Sandy Channel #1, and Willow Island.
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   B   l   u   e   g   i   l   l   p   e   r   f   r   a   m   e   n   e   t
South-Central Interstate 80 Lakes --Bluegill
> 8 inches6 -7.9 inches3 -5.9 inches
( ) --Year lake waslast surveyed
Interstate 80 Lakes Fish Population Survey - Page 3
Other Fish Species (continued)
Crappie are found in many of the Interstate Lakes, but generally are in fairly low abundance. Lakes with thehighest densities of crappie include: Mormon Island Middle, Cheyenne, West Wood River, Windmill Lakes 1,2,
3, and 4, Ft. Kearny
#1 & #
, Kearney Interchange, Kea West, Coot Shallows, Blue Hole West, Cozad andEast Gothenburg.
Northern Pike
Northern pike are currently stocked in Alda Lake to provide extra predation on abundantpanfish populations and provide anglers a local pike fishery. Pike were first stocked in 2002,with additional stockings occurring in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009. Good numbers of pike upto 36 inches should be present. There is a 30-inch minimum length limit in effect for pike atthis lake and anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release.
Rainbow Trout
Anglers also have the opportunity to catch rainbow trout during the fall, winter and early springmonths at Windmill Lake #1. This lake is annually stocked with 3,600 10-inch rainbows to provideanglers a unique opportunity to catch trout in central Nebraska. The trout do not survive the warmsummer months so angling for them generally ends in May. The daily bag limit is five trout per day.
Redear Sunfish
Redear sunfish have been introduced into some Interstate 80 Lakes during the past several years. Redear, orshellcrackers as they are commonly referred to in the South, have a preference for eating snails, and requireclear water and abundant vegetation. This type of habitat is common in many of the Interstate Lakes andallows redear to survive outside of their native range. Waters where you can currently find redear sunfishinclude Mormon Island Middle, War Axe, South Kearney Rest Stop, West Cozad and East Gothenburg.
Rock Bass
Rock bass are rare in most parts of Nebraska, but can be found in several of the Interstate Lakes. Somelakes with fishable rock bass populations include: Bufflehead, Kea West, Union Pacific, Sandy Channel #8,Dogwood East, Darr, Cozad and West Cozad. Rock bass can also be found in low densities in some of thelakes at Windmill SRA.
Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth bass were introduced into War Axe in the fall of 2007, following the chemical renovationof the lake, to provide anglers another unique fishing opportunity. Smallmouth are also present inArchway Lake #3. Historically, smallmouth bass were stocked in many Interstate 80 Lakes during the
1970’s. While smallmouth thrived in these lakes, over time they have been mostly displaced by
largemouth bass. There is a 21-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass at War Axe andArchway #3.
Although normally known as a large lake or reservoir fish, walleye and sauger can be caught insome of the Interstate Lakes. Walleye have been stocked in Sandy Channel #8 to provide anadditional predator species and to offer angling opportunities for anglers who cannot fish the largereservoirs where walleye are normally caught. Sauger have been stocked at Blue Hole West forseveral years and it currently has a fair population of fish up to
inches. There is a 15-inchminimum length limit on walleye and sauger in effect for all of the Interstate Lakes.
A wiper stocking and feeding program was implemented at Windmill #3 and Ft. Kearny #4 from 2003-2008to provide anglers the chance to catch large wipers. Due to several factors, the program was terminated in2009 and the 18-minimum length limit and one fish daily bag limit has been rescinded. Fort Kearny #4 stillcontains low densities of wipers ranging from 18 to 24 inches, and should provide fair angling opportunitiesfor another couple years.

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