Freshly stocked fish biting often at Flanagan, Duck Creek as fishing 'populations just explode'

Tommy McCaslin caught this 40-pound flathead catfish at Branched Oak Lake, northwest of Lincoln. “For around here, that’s a pretty big one,” he said.


If you think the fishing is fantastic at Lake Wanahoo, and Daryl Bauer does, just wait for the action at Flanagan Lake in northwest Omaha and the Duck Creek Recreation Area near Peru.

“These two new ones are going to be right behind Wanahoo,’’ says Bauer, the fisheries outreach program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Fishing is always great at new lakes, Bauer says. There’s lots of cover in the flooded trees and vegetation, which attracts bugs and other things that fish love to eat. The stocked fish also have little competition.

“Those populations just explode in those new habitats,’’ Bauer said.

Largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and channel catfish have been stocked at both Flanagan and Duck Creek. Northern pike and redear sunfish have also been added at 220-acre Flanagan Lake.

Fishing should stay excellent longer, Bauer said, because Game and Parks worked with the natural resources districts on water quality and habitat features at both lakes.

Standing timber was left and flooded, cover such as underwater gravel bars and rock piles was added along the shorelines and in the middle of both lakes, and there’s plenty of access such as boat ramps, docks and jetties.

“It’s all up to the fisherman to find that (structure) and sit on top of them and catch them,’’ Bauer said.

Fishing will slow

May and June fishing has been excellent across the state, Bauer said, but it will start to slow down.

It’s not so much the heat but the plentiful food available in the summer.

“They are well -fed and tough to catch then,’’ Bauer said.

Fish still feed, but those periods are usually short. Prime times are early in the morning, after dark or right before a storm rolls in.

“Be ready to take advantage,’’ Bauer said. “It may only last a few minutes. They’ll all be fed and it will be over.’’

McCaslin cleans up

The World-Herald published an article on Omahan Tommy McCaslin and his catfishing adventures in 2015. He always cleans up the areas where he fishes.

He’s been in pursuit of the “big one’’ for 10 years. He finally caught a nice-sized specimen at Branched Oak Lake.

It’s about a 40-pound flathead catfish. It was released, as always.

“For around here, that’s a pretty big one,’’ he said. “I lost a really , really big one on the Missouri River that was probably 60 to 65.’’

McCaslin, 28, is still picking up trash when he goes fishing. The situation hasn’t improved.

“People still need to do a better job,’’ he said. “I find beer bottles and beer cans and old fishing line almost every single time I go out.’’

Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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