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Box Butte Reservoir fishing

An angler catches a northern pike on a crankbait at Box Butte Reservoir near Hemingford.

It’s time to kick the fishing season into high gear. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is excited to offer a variety of angling opportunities this summer.

And don’t go alone. Find someone new or someone who has not been fishing in a while and take them with you. When you do, snap a photo and enter to win prizes in the Take ’em Fishing challenge. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/takeemfishing for details.

June is one of the best months for fishing in Nebraska, so pick a water body and go fishing, because something will be biting.

Here is a look at the angling opportunities at some of the state’s largest reservoirs:

Lake McConaughy: This is always a favorite destination all summer, and anglers will find some excellent opportunities for walleyes, wipers, and channel catfish. The smallmouth bass fishery is excellent as well.

Harlan County Reservoir: This reservoir filled to capacity earlier this spring. That will send fish toward the flooded shallows, and that is where anglers have been extracting walleyes, white bass, channel catfish and some crappies.

Sherman Reservoir: Sherman has reached full pool. There is water back into the bays and coves, where anglers can find some excellent crappie fishing. On the main lake, walleyes have been biting. If you are bouncing a crankbait along the bottom, you better hold onto that rod in case a big, predatory flathead catfish strikes.

Merritt Reservoir: Water levels are at full pool and several species are feeding in shallow water; walleyes, channel catfish, pike, muskies and crappies are all a possibility.

Box Butte Reservoir: Water levels are just a few feet below full pool. Exploring flooded trees right now should be productive for a variety of panfish, largemouth bass and northern pike. Look for some trophy channel catfish, too.

Calamus Reservoir: This is a great time for some hot white bass action toward the upper west end of the reservoir. There can always be a few wipers mingling with the white bass, and again look for some walleye action in relatively shallow water.

Red Willow Reservoir: Another reservoir that recently has had low water levels due to dam repairs, but now those levels are recovering. Always one of the best waters in the state for wipers, the fishing has been good recently along wind-blown shorelines. Big crappies and largemouth bass are possible, too.

Swanson Reservoir: Recent reports have been good for walleyes, white bass, wipers, crappies, largemouth bass, channel and blue catfish.

Elwood Reservoir: Water levels have been consistently higher at Elwood in recent years and fish populations have responded. Trophy wipers are abundant in Elwood, as well as walleyes, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, pike and a few muskies.

Lewis and Clark Reservoir: Walleyes and sauger have been scattered over the reservoir but expect the best bite in relatively shallow water near shore or on mud flats. Likewise, look for some big white bass and catfish in shallow water, especially where there may be some current flowing.

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Daryl Bauer is the fisheries outreach program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Contact him at daryl.bauer@nebraska.gov. Read his blog, Barbs and Backlashes, at OutdoorNebraska.org.

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