Fishing on the Missouri River may be cut off now because of flooding, but there will be a bonus in three or four years.
Plus, there are lots of other places in the state to satisfy the need to get out on the water.
“High-water events are part of the eco-system,’’ said Daryl Bauer, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s fisheries outreach manager. “A lot of the fish will thrive. We’ll see some big production of young fish this year.’’
Bauer said the flooding replenishes the whole system. New habitat is created, which provides places for young fish to hide and feed.
All is not lost along the Missouri either, he said.
Fish are moving up tributaries, which could provide anglers a place to go if access is available. Sadly, former farm fields also are producing fishing opportunities instead of crops.
Flooded sand pits may produce a few surprises in the coming months.
“Everything depends on being safe,’’ Bauer said.
Mike Holly, who caught a state record bighead carp near Yankton., S.D., earlier this summer, said he pulled off the river when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started releasing higher amounts of water.
“I don’t mess with it,’’ he said.
With the mud and rain, he said it has been a lousy summer for bow fishing because archers can’t see fish in the water.
“I’d just as soon sit home and save my gas until the water clears up,’’ he said.
Away from the Missouri and Platte Rivers, Bauer said, rivers are not flooding. Popular fishing and paddling streams, such as the Elkhorn and Niobrara Rivers, are flowing normally.
Some Missouri River boaters and anglers are looking 50 miles west. Game and Parks officials have been seeing more traffic at the reservoirs around Lincoln.
“Branched Oak Lake, in particular,’’ Bauer said. “It’s the biggest one, and some of the folks who can’t boat on the Missouri are looking for big water where they can boat.’’
Sand Hills and Interstate 80 lakes are another option, as well as bodies of water in the central part of the state, such as Calamus Reservoir near Burwell.
Swanson Reservoir near Trenton in southwest Nebraska is hot for anglers, and the catch is picking up at Lake McConaughy near Ogallala in western Nebraska, Bauer said.
Good reports also are coming from Harlan County Lake near Alma in south-central Nebraska.
“They are catching lots of walleye and white bass,’’ Bauer said.
Anglers have been having a slow time at Merritt Reservoir, southwest of Valentine in north-central Nebraska.
Things will pick up, Bauer predicted, as summer progresses and cool weather leaves the area.
However, it could be fall before things are back to normal on the Missouri, Bauer said.
“We saw this happen in 1993,’’ he said. “We had the floods of 1993, and there were a lot of fish produced that year.’’
Contact the writer: