Outdoor notes: Getting hooked on spring crappie fishing
There is no doubt the fish species that can send the largest number of anglers to the banks during the spring outbreak of fishing fever is crappies.
Everyone loves to sit on a shoreline on a warm afternoon and experience a good crappie bite. On the other hand, with schizophrenic weather changes, no other species of fish can be more frustrating than spring crappies. Consistently successful anglers always are adapting. What can an angler do to maximize the number of spring days catching crappies?
Given some warming weather, crappies may move shallow right after ice-out. Those early movements are not spawning-related, but rather, driven by feeding. The relationship between the predator – crappies – and their prey, determines fish location much of the year. Understanding those relationships is crucial for successful angling.
Crappies love warm areas; they also love bays, coves, corners and similar areas that are protected from the wind, especially cold north and northwest winds. Find cover in those warming areas — emergent vegetation, stalks of last summer’s submerged vegetation, brush piles, fallen trees or beaver lodges — and you likely will find some early spring crappies. Rocks and rocky habitats also hold fish, but, on many Nebraska reservoirs, those hold more crappies later in the spring after the water has warmed more.
Where did they go?
Fish for crappies on a beautiful spring afternoon and everything can be grand. Go back the next day when the wind is blowing and it is spitting snowflakes, and you will be lucky to dry off one crappie. In some cases, those crappies may be in the same location, just tucked deeper into cover. It is more likely they drifted back toward deeper water.
Depending on where they started, how shallow they were, and the severity of the weather change, crappie may not have moved far. Or they may have moved hundreds of yards back to the relative stability of deeper water.
If those crappies moved out of the shallows with the weather change, they likely will not be as active or as easy to catch. Vertical presentations probably will be the best way to catch a few fish – just like when you are fishing through a hole in the ice during the winter.
As spring progresses, the water warms and the weather stabilizes, the wild shifts in crappie location and feeding attitude will lessen. Pick your days and fish when the crappies are most likely to be shallow and catchable or follow the movements and catch fish even when the weather changes.
Keep it simple
Presentations for spring crappies should be relatively simple.
Crappies will chase prey, and at times, they can be quite aggressive. Much of the time, however, they are a lot more laid back. Even though their intent is just as deadly as a muskellunge or flathead catfish, their feeding strategy is completely different. Remember that and you will catch more crappies at all times of year.
Slow and steady, nothing fancy, nothing too aggressive usually is best for crappies, especially in the cold water of early spring. Put a bait in their vicinity, keep it there and give them a chance to move in and eat it.
Where allowed, nothing is simpler than a bobber, split shot, light wire hook, and a small, lively minnow. Dabble that in front of a crappie most anytime and they will eat; that is predator/prey dynamics at its simplest and rawest.
I like light wire hooks because they keep minnows lively. Even with 8-pound test line, you usually can straighten the hook when you get snagged in the woody cover you likely will be fishing. Hook the minnows through the back, just under the dorsal fin.
Use bobbers only as large as needed to suspend the bait. Bobbers that are too big inhibit bite detection and result in less fish caught.
Crappie jigs are a popular option. A selection of 1/64- to 1/8-ounce jig heads and a variety of plastic bodies will give you the tools you need and an infinite variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Other options include tube bodies, imitation minnows, marabou jigs and wax worms.
Jigs are meant to be cast and retrieved, but remember slow and steady is usually best for crappies, especially in the spring. Bobbers are not just for fishing live bait. Attach a bobber on your line at the depth you want to fish and you can fish a jig slower.
The spring crappie bite can be good weeks before the fish are thinking about nesting and spawning. That means when the fish are shallow, they may be in some of the same areas over a couple of months. As they get closer to spawning, the crappies, especially males, will become darker colored. Expect the bite to slow as the fish get closer to spawning. Males will select small territories, then build and defend their nests, which often are located next to shallow water cover objects.
When spawning behavior starts, males stay close to their nests and will not move far to take baits. Fish slowly and put baits right on the crappies to get them to bite during the spawn. Females may stage close by until they are ready to move onto a nest and deposit eggs; they also tend to have something other than feeding on their mind during the spawn.
Once the spawn is over, crappies tend to disperse and head toward more open waters. Depending on the water body, available habitat, and prey, they may venture to emerging beds of aquatic vegetation, wander in the middle of the lake, or utilize some other type of deeper-water habitat.
Some crappies will remain in shallow cover year-round, but most crappies become more difficult to catch as they disperse and roam open water feeding on abundant prey during summer.
Catch these Game and Parks education events in May
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in May. Here are several opportunities:
Bird Crawl in Venture Parks is May 14
Migrate to the Platte River valley May 14 for a daylong birding adventure. To celebrate Nebraska Bird Month and International Migratory Bird Day, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is hosting Bird Crawl in the Venture Parks.
Registered participants will receive an itinerary to guide them, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through three of the region’s Venture Parks: Schramm Park State Recreation Area, Platte River State Park and Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. Each stop will include birding activities such as learning about raptors, dissecting owl pellets, birding hike, games, and building a bird feeder.
Participants must supply their own transportation; each vehicle entering a state park area requires a park entry permit.
Nature Nerd Night to feature Wildlife Research Wonders on May 17
In the Nebraska Nature Nerd Night virtual webinar Wildlife Research Wonders, outdoor educators will discuss the types of wildlife research that take place in the state. The free event starts at 7 p.m. Central time May 17.
Registration is required through the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov. Participants also may submit questions to be answered during the webinar while registering. For more information, contact [email protected] or follow the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission or Nebraska Wildlife Education on Facebook.
Those unable to attend can view the recorded webinar on the Nebraska Game and Parks YouTube Education Channel.
The Nebraska Nature Nerd Night series, for curious adults, takes places on the third Tuesday of every month.
Five Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Nights scheduled for May 18
Grab your fellow nature nerds and join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as it hosts five Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Nights across the state May 18.
Nature is cool, so there is no shortage of topics questions could cover. Get your teams of no more than five players and be ready to compete for prizes. Registration is not required.
These events are for adults only and are free to attend with a purchase from the host brewery.
The Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Nights, which begin at 7 p.m., are at:
- Scottsbluff – Flyover Brewing Company, 1824 Broadway
- Lincoln – Cosmic Eye Brewing, 6800 P St., Ste. 300
- Wayne – Johnnie Byrd Brewing Company, 121 N. Pearl St.
- Elkhorn – Jukes Ale Works, 20560 Elkhorn Drive
- North Platte – Pals Brewing Company, 4520 S. Buffalo Bill Ave.
For more information and or questions, email [email protected].
Homeschool Hike set for May 18 at Schramm Park SRA
Come to Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna on May 18 for Homeschool Hikes, a nature exploration program for homeschool families.
On the third Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m., an outdoor educator leads a guided hike while participants ask questions, draw, observe and make discoveries in nature.
Anglers may find Game and Parks’ website a beneficial fishing resource
When not on a shoreline or the water pursuing fish this spring, anglers can use the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website as a resource to prepare for the next outing.
Many anglers already buy their Nebraska fishing permits online. But by spending some time on the website, anglers of all experience levels may discover something new about fishing in the state.
Among the fishing-related topics to browse are:
- Interactive maps – Click on Maps at the top of OutdoorNebraska.org to find lake depths in the lake contour map (as well as maps you can download and print), discover where boat ramps are located along the Missouri River, locate public fishing areas, and browse public access sites in the Open Fields and Waters Program.
- Fish identification – If you want to learn more about Nebraska’s fish species, download the Fish Key: A Guide to the Most Commonly Caught Fish in Nebraska.
- Fishing events – Find a list of Community Fishing Nights, fishing tournaments and any upcoming public informational meetings.
- Fish stocking – Each year, millions of fish are stocked in Nebraska to enhance fishing opportunities. Explore the stocking database to see the many species stocked in hundreds of waters.
- Beginner fishing – Read Going Fishing, a basic guide that covers everything you need to know to get started fishing. Topics include equipment, tackle, casting, knot tying, tips for targeting species you can catch from shore and much more.
Aside from the Fishing Guide, which include regulations, and the Fishing Forecast, which highlights the best places to catch the biggest and most fish of several species, Game and Parks offers even more resources through its website. Discover videos, fish sampling reports, and area-specific publications on fishing in the Omaha metro area, the Sandhills, along the Interstate 80 corridor, and Nebraska’s trout streams.
Mobile fishing permits may be purchased from and displayed on a smartphone or tablet. Like a paper permit, the angler must display the mobile permit upon request by a conservation officer. Save the image of the permit on the device by taking a screenshot.
For more information on fishing in Nebraska, explore Outdoornebraska.gov/fishing.
Work at Summit, Wagon Train affecting angler, boater access
Aquatic Habitat improvement projects are underway at Summit Lake and Wagon Train Lake in eastern Nebraska that affect angler and boater access.
Summit Lake’s water level is 8 feet below normal. Removal of sediment from the lake’s south basin is almost complete; construction will move to the west sediment basin.
The Summit project is nearly 50% complete, but boaters can expect limited access for watercraft launching this season until the water level returns to normal.
Construction at Wagon Train has concentrated on preparation of the basin where sediment will be stored after removal.
The water level currently is down 4 feet. There are plans to continue to lower the water level before construction in the lake basin and sediment dikes begins. Anglers and boaters can expect limited access this season.
“We hope anglers and boaters are understanding during these maintenance projects as we work to enhance these reservoirs for future recreational use,” said Jeff Jackson, aquatic habitat manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The Aquatic Habitat Program, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, works to improve conditions for aquatic life through better management or rehabilitation of existing resources and collaborates with partners to build new waters to make them the best they can be. Funding is provided by the purchase of the Aquatic Habitat Stamp, which is included in the price of a fishing license.
Another season of family fun scheduled with Community Fishing Events
Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for another spring and summer of fun with Community Fishing Events.
Community Fishing Events provide opportunities for people of all ages who have never fished or have not fished in years to learn and enjoy the activity. Rods and reels, as well as bait and fishing instruction, will be available for free.
“We invite you to join us at one or several of our events to learn how to fish or to bring a friend and spend time fishing,” said Larry Pape, fisheries education specialist. “Spring and summer can be busy, but fishing is a fun, convenient activity that can provide quality time for everyone, and we are here to help you have great outdoor experiences.”
Look for the Community Fishing Events Trailer at each site. Appropriate fishing and park permits are required. All fishing regulations apply.
The fourth year of the Discover Fly-Fishing program also will kick off May 26 at Lincoln’s Holmes Lake. Discover Fly-Fishing events, which are held in conjunction with Community Fishing Events, are free and open to anyone interested in a basic introduction to fly-fishing. Learn about the equipment and how to use it, then watch a fly-tying demonstration. Loaner fly rods will be available.
The following Community Fishing Events are from 6-8 p.m., unless otherwise noted. The schedule is:
May 8 – Scottsbluff, Riverside Discovery Center Pond
May 26 – Lincoln, Holmes Lake
June 1 – Omaha, Fontenelle Park Pond
June 2 – Grand Island, Mormon Island State Recreation Area No. 1
June 8 – Papillion, Lake Halleck
June 10 – North Platte, Birdwood Lake
June 12 – Scottsbluff, Terry’s Pit
June 15 – Lincoln, Holmes Lake
June 16 – Omaha, Towl Park Pond
June 21 – Lincoln, Bowling Lake
June 22 – Bellevue, Kramer Park Lake
June 30 – Norfolk, Skyview Lake
July 5 – Omaha, Benson Park Pond
July 6 – Lincoln, Holmes Lake
July 8 – Broken Bow, Melham Lake
July 12 – Papillion, Lake Halleck
July 13 – Lincoln, Bowling Lake
July 14 – Norfolk, Skyview Lake
July 15 – Holdrege, North Park Lake
July 19 – Omaha, Fontenelle Park Pond
July 20 – Papillion, Prairie Queen Lake
July 26 – Bellevue, Kramer Park Lake
July 27 – Gibbon, Windmill SRA No. 2
July 28 – Grand Island, Mormon Island SRA No. 1
Aug. 2 – Papillion, Lake Halleck
Aug. 3 – Lincoln, Holmes Lake
Aug. 5 – Kearney, Fort Kearny SRA No. 6
Aug. 13 – North Platte, Iron Horse Lake
Sept. 11 – Scottsbluff, Riverside Discovery Center Pond
Discover Fly-Fishing – 6-8 p.m.
May 26 – Lincoln, Holmes Lake
June 1 – Omaha, Fontenelle Park Pond
June 23 – Bellevue, Kramer Park Lake
July 13 – Lincoln, Bowling Lake
July 28 – Grand Island, Mormon Island SRA No. 1
Family Fun Event – 6-10 p.m.
June 8, June 22, July 6, Aug. 3 – McCook, Red Willow Reservoir
Hooked for Life – 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
May 7, June 4, July 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 10 – McCook, Barnett Park Ponds
May 21 – Kearney, Fort Kearny SRA No. 6, Free Fishing Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
May 25 – Kearney, Archway Lakes, Cops and Bobbers, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
May 30 – Kearney, Fort Kearny SRA No. 6, Fish Fort Kearny, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
June 4 – Loup City, Bowman Lake, Polish Days Family Fishing, 1-3 p.m.
June 18 – Grand Island, Mormon Island SRA No. 2, Family Outdoor Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
June 18 – Ravenna, Ravenna Lake, Family Fishing at Annevar Days, 2-4 p.m.
June 18 – Lincoln, Conestoga Lake, Day at the Lake, Aquatic Habitat 25th anniversary event
June 22 – Kearney, Archway Lakes, Reels and Rescues, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
June 23 – Lincoln, Wildwood Lake, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District 50th Anniversary Celebration, 5:30-8 p.m.
June 25 – Lincoln, Branched Oak Lake, White Perch Tournament, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
July 9 – Lincoln, Branched Oak Lake, Family Fishing Event, 9 a.m.-noon
July 16 – Lincoln, Holmes Lake, Cornhusker State Games, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
July 23 – North Platte, Lake Maloney, Carp-O-Rama, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
July 26 – Kearney, Archway Lakes, Hooks and Ladders, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
July 26 – Bellevue, Kramer Park Lake, Discover Bow Fishing, 6-8 p.m.
Oct. 15 – Omaha, Fontenelle Park Pond, Fontenelle Family Fishing Frenzie, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/familyfishing for more information on Family Fishing Events or OutdoorNebraska.org to purchase fishing or park permits.
Top nine state parks for horseback riding
Horseback riding is a great way to get outdoors and see the diverse beauty of Nebraska — via miles of extensive equestrian trails in your state parks.
With beautiful scenery, amenities for horse and rider, and considerable acres to roam, here are nine Nebraska Game and Parks locations every equestrian should put on their list for this year.
Fort Robinson State Park: Located in Nebraska’s scenic Pine Ridge, Fort Robinson is truly a horse rider’s paradise. The park offers 20 miles of equestrian trails and great accommodations for both horse and rider. Put your horse up in one of the many stalls available in the large barns, while you kick back at a campsite, lodge room or spacious cabin. Many more miles of trails can be found in Nebraska National Forest land adjacent to the fort.
Branched Oak State Recreation Area: Featuring the largest lake in eastern Nebraska, Branched Oak is a popular recreation spot – and can accommodate equestrians, with 6 miles of interlocking multipurpose trails and a horse camp. Trails wind through trees, open grasslands and scenic overlooks, and the horse camp offers 15 electrical rock pad campsites, water, restrooms, grills, picnic facilities, an accessible mounting ramp, hitching posts and corrals.
Summit Lake State Recreation Area: Named in honor of Nebraska Game and Parks’ 100th anniversary, the Centennial Trail at Summit Lake provides new opportunities for riders in northwest Nebraska. The trail covers more than 10 miles and follows the perimeter of the park. It also features a rock crossing through the lake, a unique feature. Game and Parks plans to add equestrian campgrounds to the park in 2023 or 2024.
Danish Alps State Recreation Area: Take a leisurely ride around the 219-acre Kramper Lake at Danish Alps, named for the early Danish settlers in the area. Besides the scenic horse trail, the park also offers an equestrian campground with 14 horse corrals, hitching posts and water. Stay for fishing, camping and picnicking opportunities at this park in Dakota County.
Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area: Riders at this park can enjoy more than 6 miles of heavily wooded and scenic lake overlook trails, which make for the perfect outdoor adventure. You can also take advantage of a campground with corrals for horses, water, restrooms and picnic areas.
Willow Creek State Recreation Area: Located 1.5 miles southwest of Pierce, scenic Willow Creek State Recreation Area offers a 10-mile horse trail encircling Willow Creek Reservoir and an equestrian campground. All 10 camping sites have paved pads, 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electrical hookups, picnic table and fire ring. This lakeside campground also includes 10 barbless wire fence corrals, hitching posts and a water hydrant.
Pawnee State Recreation Area: Enjoy a scenic ride around the lake with Pawnee’s 6 miles of multipurpose trails. For those who wish to camp with their horses, Pawnee offers a primitive camp that includes picnic tables, drinking water, fire rings and pit toilets. The area has mature trees that provide plenty of shade.
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: Known as the site where James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok began his bloody gunfighting career, Rock Creek Station has a rich history. Take a trip back in time and ride at this former stage and Pony Express station, which offers 5 miles of trails and a horse camp with 20 corrals, water for horse and rider, picnic tables and grills. Additional riding is available at the adjacent Rock Glen Wildlife Management Area, though riders must observe special regulations.
Two Rivers State Recreation Area: One of the most popular recreation areas in the state, Two Rivers can accommodate equestrians as well. It offers about 12 miles of wooded trails both in the recreation area and the adjoining Two Rivers Wildlife Management Area, though trails in this area are closed during hunting season. The park also offers an equestrian campground with firepits, picnic tables, water and restrooms.
To learn more about these parks, visit OutdoorNebraska.org. A Nebraska state park entry permit is required for each vehicle entering a park.
Commission will consider big game hunting recommendations
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider recommendations for 2022 deer, antelope and elk hunting seasons when it meets April 28 at Niobrara State Park.
The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. in the Eagle View Group Lodge within the park, located at 89261 522 Ave., Niobrara.
A public hearing is scheduled for proposed amendments to Commission orders pertaining to season dates, bag limits, permit quantities and areas open for deer, antelope and elk hunting. The changes will help the agency manage big game populations at socially acceptable levels, address declining mule deer populations in some areas of the state, and maintain resident access to hunting permits.
Staff will recommend:
- including the Pine Ridge deer management unit into the Mule Deer Conservation Area,
- creating permit quotas on Statewide Whitetail Buck and Restricted Statewide Buck permits,
- a sales cap on nonresident either-sex or buck-only deer permits for all permits except landowner and youth,
- adjusting elk and antelope limited landowner permit quotas to 75% of the general permit quota to meet statute change, and
- minor adjustments on other deer, elk and antelope permits to meet management objectives.
The commissioners also will hear staff updates on the Take ’em Fishing challenge, the change of status of wolves, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park projects, a Lake McConaughy fisheries public meeting, walleye spawning, and shooting ranges and programs.
A complete meeting agenda can be found at outdoornebraska.gov/publicnotices.
Explore the parks with these Game and Parks events in May
May is Bird Month in Nebraska. What better place is there to celebrate than in a state park area? The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has several bird-related events in May for people to explore, as well as many other opportunities. Here are several:
Platte River Art Show set for April 29-May 1
View paintings, sculpture, photography, pottery and more from reputable Midwestern artists at the Platte River Art Show on April 29-May 1 at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.
The show begins with a wine and cheese tasting from 6-9 p.m. April 29 at Peter Kiewit Lodge. The show continues from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. April 30 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 1.
Arbor Day celebrating 150th anniversary
Come to Nebraska City April 29-May 1 and celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day where it all began – Arbor Lodge.
Take a self-guided tour of the home and learn about the history of Arbor Day. Experience the Women of Arbor Lodge display, get a peek into spring planting on the Morton Farm and view vintage postcards of Arbor Lodge. The park grounds are open for anyone wanting to explore. Check out the 52-room mansion for free Arbor Day, April 29.
Open hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 29, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. April 30 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 1. There is no cost for park entry.
North Platte plans Mini BioBlitz
From 10 a.m. to noon May 2, Nebraska Game and Parks will host the North Platte City Nature Challenge Mini BioBlitz at Cody Park, along the North Platte River.
Participants will learn how to identify aquatic species, plants, fungi and birds. Participants are welcome to stay at each station as long as they please.
This Mini BioBloitz is part of the statewide City Nature Challenge, a global effort to document nature in urban areas and learn about the animal and plant life discovered there. In addition to the statewide challenge, North Platte, Lincoln, Norfolk, Omaha and Scottsbluff are hosting the challenge in their backyards.
To learn more, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/citynaturechallenge.
Eugene T. Mahoney SP to host Sip Nebraska May 6-7
Sip Nebraska will bring together local wine, craft beer, spirits, and their fans to celebrate Nebraska’s beverage industry May 6-7 at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.
Enjoy a full weekend of unlimited tastings from Nebraska’s best-produced wines, hard ciders, craft beers and spirits from 4-10 p.m. May 6 and 1-10 p.m. May 7.
Other activities include lawn games, live music, dance lessons, park tours, and food and craft vendors.
Visit the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for more information and to buy tickets.
Take part in birding hike May 14 at Fort Robinson SP
All ages are invited to participate in a birding hike May 14 at Fort Robinson State Park.
The hike will begin at 9 a.m. at the Post Playhouse, then continue down to the flat White River Trail, a chipped-rock trail that runs through the park.
Hikers should dress for the weather, and bring sturdy shoes, water and sunscreen. A limited number of binoculars and field guides will be available.
This program is free, but a park entry permit is required.
Sherman Reservoir SRA to host Fishing and Furs
Enjoy some fishing and learn fun facts about mammals during Fishing and Furs on May 14 at Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area.
It will be all about angling and education with the park naturalist from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Marina Bay. Fishing poles and worms will be provided.
A park entry permit is required.
Make birdhouses and feeders May 14 at Swanson Reservoir
Celebrate Nebraska Bird Month by making birdhouses and feeders from recycled materials May 14 at Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area near Trenton.
This event is great for all ages. Supplies will be available while they last, but participants may bring their own building materials, such as milk jugs, nesting materials and stickers.
Meet at the large shelter on Trail 4 directly across from the marina at 1 p.m. A valid park entry permit is required.
Tyler Vanderheiden Memorial Run to benefit Platte River SP trail
Registration is open for the Tyler Vanderheiden Memorial Run, an annual race aimed at raising awareness and understanding of mental health that also acts as a fundraiser for Nebraska Game and Parks state park trails.
The run is May 14 at Cody Park in North Platte. Participants may choose between a 2-mile or 5-mile distance and run it virtually.
This year, funds raised will help support the construction and upgrade of the Platte River State Park trail that leads to Stone Creek Falls. Improvements are aimed at making the trail Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.
Wildcat Hills Nature Center to host total lunar eclipse viewing party
Come to the Wildcat Hills Nature Center from 9-11 p.m. May 15 and join a total lunar eclipse viewing party.
Dress comfortably and prepare to stay up late to view the Blood Moon, the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2022.
This program at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area is free, but a park entry permit is required.
Enders Reservoir plans BioBlitz
Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area will be hosting a two-day BioBlitz on May 20-21 for people of all ages.
Participants will help set reptile, amphibian and mammal traps, as well as bat nets on day one. On day two, they’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the animals captured and released during the bioblitz.
Professional biologists from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, will present on mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, aquatic species, and pollinators — and pollinator planting.
Find the complete schedule in the events listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.
The event is free, but a Nebraska state park entry permit is required. Park permits can be purchased at the park the day of the event or online at OutdoorNebraska.org.
Enjoy Car Show, Migratory Bird Day at Indian Cave SP
Join a full day of activities at Indian Cave State Park on May 28 with the Show and Shine Car Show and the Eighth Annual Migratory Bird Day.
Registration for the car show, which includes automobiles, trucks, tractors and motorcycles, is from 2-3 p.m. Awards are at 6 p.m. Enjoy Hot Wheels races at 4 p.m.
Migratory Bird Day events include hands-on activities, bird crafts and games from 4-7:30 p.m., a fish fry from 6-7:30 p.m., and the Glow in the Dark Bird Egg Hunt at 9 p.m.
Visit the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for more information. A park entry permit is required.
SCI, Platte River Chapter donates $1,000 to Hunters Helping the Hungry
Safari Club International, Platte River Chapter, recently donated $1,000 to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for the Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
Hunters Helping the Hungry is a program that allows hunters to donate whole field-dressed deer at participating processors to be distributed by charitable organizations and food pantries statewide. Processing is paid for solely by donations.
During the SCI’s first convention and banquet Jan. 28-29 in Kearney, the board decided to donate to the HHH program.
“It’s about giving back to the local community,” said Shane Westcott, president of the chapter, which has more than 250 members. “The Hunters Helping the Hungry program is a very well-respected program, and the board just felt it was a very worthy cause that we wanted to support.”
Since the HHH program began in 2012, 4,424 deer have been processed, yielding 213,876 pounds of venison and providing more than 855,000 meals.
Donations are tax-deductible and often are contributed by hunters when they purchase permits. Participating meat processors accept only whole deer in good condition, harvested and donated by hunters, to ensure a good yield of ground venison. Ground venison is then distributed to Nebraskans in need through a partnership with charitable organizations.
“I extend my sincere appreciation to the Platte River Chapter of the Safari Club International for their generous donation to Hunters Helping the Hungry,” Nebraska Game and Parks Director Tim McCoy said. “This program helps feed those most in need, and this donation will help to provide more meals to people in Nebraska. I would also like to thank our participating processors and hunters; they are instrumental in the success of the program.”
The Commission continues to seek participation from processors to expand the availability of the program across Nebraska.
Learn more about the program and how to support it at OutdoorNebraska.org/HHH.
Lewis and Clark SRA’s Lighted Boat Parade seeks participants
Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area invites boaters to sign up for its Fourth Annual Lighted Boat Parade, set for June 18.
The parade, which has a tropical paradise theme, is held in conjunction with the SRA’s Fifth Annual National Marina Day.
The top prize for this parade will be a two-night cabin stay at either Ponca State Park, Niobrara State Park or Lewis and Clark SRA, $200 in Nebraska Game and Parks Bucks, and a canvas print of their winning boat entry. Second- and third-place prizes also will be given.
New this year, each parade entrant will be eligible to receive Game and Parks Bucks thanks to program sponsors.
Join us for this fun celebration. At least 10 entries must register by June 6 for the parade to go on. Register at forms.office.com/g/WpnDeZ18zd or contact the park office at 402-388-4169 or [email protected].