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Thread: Crappie in any of these lakes?

  1. #1
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    Default Crappie in any of these lakes?

    Anyone familiar with any of the below Lakes/Reservoirs. I have an opportunity to head out that way (writers trip) and was wondering if anyone here knew anything about them:


    Swanson Reservoir
    Merritt Reservoir
    Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
    Lake McConaughy
    Box Butte Reservoir


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slab View Post
    Anyone familiar with any of the below Lakes/Reservoirs. I have an opportunity to head out that way (writers trip) and was wondering if anyone here knew anything about them:


    Swanson Reservoir
    Merritt Reservoir
    Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
    Lake McConaughy
    Box Butte Reservoir


    Fairly familiar…I’m aware of the angling opportunities of all the listed waters and have been a part of state fisheries management practices on two of the reservoirs. I still keep abreast of the current management practices and enjoy the present fishing conditions at most of these locales.

    As you may already know, each of these public waters have similar and very different angling opportunities. It really depends on the type of fishing one is seeking. Additionally, each water body has it’s highlights and draw backs. Maybe more specifics would allow for greater discussion.

    I would suggest that there is some exceptional crappie fishing in NE other than the listed waters.

    Feel free to contact via pm or phone: 308-520-2414.
    "Indeed, the single biggest reason we're not catching fish spring, summer, winter, or fall is that there are no fish where we're fishing."

    Gord Pyzer

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much for your help Bill. I don't really have more information about the trip. It's a fishing specific Journalist trip. I asking them if there will be any Crappie fishing included, but I'm seeing mostly Walleye and Bass being mentioned. If there are Crappie there, I was thinking I'd try to cover/include that part, particularly since I'm a Crappie guy! lol
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  4. #4
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    Ok…Yes, there is crappie in each of the listed waters. Although, for the most part Swanson, Merritt and Box Butte would probably be your best bet for catching quality and quantity of crappie… With Merritt offering the best crappie fishing out of the three.

    Once again, if you need more specifics don’t hesitate to ask.

    Take care
    "Indeed, the single biggest reason we're not catching fish spring, summer, winter, or fall is that there are no fish where we're fishing."

    Gord Pyzer

  5. #5
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    I'll start with Merritt. Crappie in Merritt have been on a slow decline, but their next cycle is coming up, not to mention drought conditions in the past several years may have played a factor as well. The next panfish sampling is actually scheduled for this year out there. But back in 2010, they found a large crappie population below 5", 3 years later while the numbers were down again, size increased very well, where a large portion of crappie were between 8 - 10". Given reports by anglers, those crappie are still growing in size. It will be interesting to see what the 2015 sampling report shows. But Merritt does offer some other great fishing opportunities such as pike, muskie, white bass, excellent walleye and catfish.

    Valentine Wildlife Refuge, there are only two lakes that have crappie in them one is Hackberry, which has the best size structure for crappie (10 - 14") but population is not high. They were not stocked in there, but there are some crappie less than 5" so natural recruitment is quite possible. Clear Lake is the other one, but I couldn't find a stocking report for it, low water level last year prevented sampling.

    Swanson doesn't do panfish or crappie sampling. Neither does Lake McConaughy.

    Box Butte Reservoir sampling doesn't look good on paper, but due to higher water levels, flooded vegetation, sampling was difficult, but confidence is high that crappie numbers are high and size structures are high with a majority over 10".

    i don't know how much leeway you will have in your trip to explore outside of these locations, but might I suggest some other spots for crappie, not based on personal experience because I live in Eastern Nebraska, but word of mouth and sampling reports. Near Box Butte Reservoir, I would also try out Whitney Lake as well. Crappie fishing is suppose to be very good out there this year. Near Lake McConaughy, I would also try heading up to Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge and fish both Blue Lake and Island Lake which is suppose to have the best population of crappie in the entire state this year.

    In my general opinion, I feel crappie fishing is better in the western part of the state rather than the eastern half, lakes are larger, clearer, and don't see as much heavy traffic and harvesting as the other lakes in Nebraska. Which to me, means bigger better crappie.

    Enjoy your time in Nebraska and feel free to share with us your experience here.

  6. #6
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    Wow, thank you all so much for the information. I still have to verify my schedule as to whether I can go or not, but the good news is, there are Crappie there. Yeah baby, now we're talking my language! Not that I'm prejudice, it would just be nice to include a Crappie fishing report if I do take the trip. And if I do, I'm sure I'll have a great time no matter what we fish for. Nebraska sounds like fun.
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