The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will receive $200,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the Cool-Water Stream Management project.
The project involves cooperation with private landowners, government agencies and other organizations to manage and assess cold-water streams in Nebraska. It uses stewardship practices within watersheds and waterside areas, and stream enhancements to provide long-term benefits to landowners and aquatic communities.
Public and private streams will be managed, and appropriate stream areas will be demonstration sites, where information will be collected to evaluate effectiveness of management. This program will enhance cold-water stream habitats for at-risk fish species and trout. It also should provide angling opportunities, improve water quality and reduce soil erosion.
The project is one of the 117 projects receiving $19,501,444 in grant awards from the trust this year.Of these, 85 were new applications and 32 are carry-over projects.
The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $305 million in grants to over 2,200 projects across the state.Leave babies alone
It is natural for some people who see a young wild animal apparently abandoned by its mother to want to rescue it. The correct course of action is to leave it alone.
Here are some rules of thumb from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission regarding wildlife babies:
» A lone fawn, or other young bird or mammal, may appear to be abandoned or injured, but the mother frequently is off feeding or drinking. Do not move it. The longer the fawn is separated from its mother, the slimmer the chance that it will be reunited with her. In some cases, other deer will adopt an orphaned fawn.
» It is normal for a doe to leave its fawn to keep it from being detected by predators. Predators can see the doe as it feeds, so she leaves the fawn hidden and leaves the area to draw attention away from the fawn’s location.
» Do not try to raise wildlife babies as pets. As animals mature, they become more independent and follow natural instincts to leave and establish their own territories. Rescued animals are poorly prepared for life in the wild.
» Most wildlife babies are protected by state or federal law and it is illegal to possess them.
Pony Express rides again
The Pony Express will ride again June 11 and 12 at two Nebraska state historical parks.
Each year, members of the National Pony Express Association recreate the Pony Express by carrying letters over the original trail in a commemorative ride over a 10-day period. The 1,966-mile, eight-state event is conducted 24 hours a day until the mail is delivered to its destination.
Riders will hand off the letters to a fresh team at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park near Fairbury at 1:45 p.m. on June 11. A handoff will also take place at Fort Kearny State Historical Park at 6 a.m. on June 12. Biscuits and gravy will be available for visitors at 5:45 a.m. free of charge.
For more information, visit nationalponyexpress.org or call Fort Kearny at 308-865-5305. A park entry permit is required.
Landowners can join program
Private landowners have until June 14 to enroll their land in the Open Fields and Waters Program. Through OFW, landowners can earn additional income for allowing walk-in hunting, trapping and fishing access on their properties.
According to John Laux, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s upland habitat and access manager, OFW is a “win-win” for private landowners and hunters.
“Participating landowners benefit from the extra income and our hunters and anglers, who help fund the program, have more places to go,” Laux said.
With more than 97% of Nebraska’s land in private ownership, obtaining access to private lands continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing today’s hunters and anglers.Increasing public hunting opportunities is a primary objective outlined in the Berggren Plan, Game and Park’s five-year initiative aimed at improving the pheasant hunting experience in Nebraska.
“Last year, we added nearly 60,000 acres and hope to continue to expand the program in 2019,” Laux said.
More than 700 landowners participated in OFW in 2018, opening over 316,000 land acres, 600 acres of ponds/lakes, and 42 miles of streams to public access across the state.
In addition to receiving annual, per-acre payments, participating landowners are also afforded protection from liability under the Nebraska Recreation Liability Act. Payment rates vary from 50 cents to $15 per acre, depending on habitat type and property location.
Rain affects some state parks
Most of the Nebraska’s 76 state park areas are open for outdoor recreation. But the most recent period of extended heavy rains has brought water levels back up in Nebraska, affecting some state parks and trails.
At Ponca State Park, Riverfront Campground is closed until further notice because of high Missouri River levels. The docks at the boat ramp have been removed until further notice, but the main boat ramp and the one at the park’s north addition are open.
At Indian Cave State Park, access roads to the boat ramp and the historic cave are closed temporarily because of impacts from the rising Missouri River. The cave access road is closed after a half-mile-long section of the river bluff slid onto the road. Portions of hiking trails 10 and 11 adjacent to the landslide area will be closed until they can be assessed for safe public use. The timeline for reopening the boat ramp, roads and trails has not been determined.
Riverview Marina State Recreation Area at Nebraska City still is closed as it has been underwater since the March flood.
Dead Timber State Recreation Area in Dodge County has flooded again and remains inaccessible.
Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area in Cherry County is only accessible via Nebraska Highway 97 from Valentine. The highway north from Mullen to Merritt is closed temporarily because of water on the road following recent heavy rains.
The latest section of Cowboy Trail to close is Oakdale to Neligh. A bridge just west of Oakdale was accessible after the March flood, but recent high flows of the Elkhorn River eroded away a 150-foot section of trail leading to the bridge.
» Archery paddlefish season until June 30
» Community Fishing Night, Benson Lake, Omaha
» Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Handgun Series, Platte River SP, Louisville. Also June 12, 19
» Ride the Ridge, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford
» Community Fishing Night, Mormon Island SRA Lake No. 1, Doniphan; Oak Lake, Lincoln
» Discover Fly Fishing, Oak Lake, Lincoln
» Food Plot Establishment and MCM Techniques, Beede Outdoors, Unadilla
» Final day landowners may apply for one elk permit
» Community Fishing Night, Birdwood Lake, North Platte
» Wildflower Walk, Wildcat Hills SRA, Gering
» Hooked for Life, Red Willow Reservoir, McCook
» Introduction to Kayaking, Danish Alps SRA, Hubbard
» Tractor Show, Indian Cave SP, Shubert
To share your trophy picture or calendar item, send it to Outdoor Sports, World-Herald Sports Dept., 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102 or email the photo and details to firstname.lastname@example.org. A daytime or cellphone number must be included.
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Name: Bob Story, at left, Central City Species: Channel catfish Where: Loup Canal in Platte County Size: 26.5 pounds Noteworthy: The 75-year-old landed the fish with some help from friends. Despite a severe fish kill a few years ago and March flood damage in the upper canal in March, the fishing in the lower half has been good this summer.
Name: Maezlyn Witherbee-Alef, Bennington Species: White crappie Where: Lake near Plattsmouth Size: ¾ of a pound Noteworthy: It was the 4-year-old’s first crappie. She is pictured with her grandfather, Mark Witherbee.
Name: Nate Ruffino. Species: Muskie. Where: Eagle Lake Sportsmen’s Lodge in Ontario, Canada. Size: 40 pounds, 50 inches. Noteworthy: Ruffino was casting on the dock when a 25-inch northen pike hit his bait. While reaching for his net the muskie came out and grabbed the pike. It took three people to net the fish and hoist him into the boat. Nate was fishing with his father, Tom Ruffino, and friends Frank and Andy Tworek, Ron Schmidt and Frank Mason.
Name: Hunter Redfern, Elkhorn.
Where: Stanton, Nebraska.
Noteworthy: The 9-year-old was hunting with his dad, John, at his Gram’s farm when he shot this cottontail rabbit. It was Hunter’s first animal harvested with a .22 rifle.
Name: Claudia Riggert, Pierce, Nebraska.
Where: Pierce County. Size: 4x4.
Noteworthy: The 11-year-old killed her first deer from 217 yards with her .243.
Name: L.D. “Spike” Gross, Fremont.
Where: Lake Michigan out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Noteworthy: The fish was caught on flash bait from the deck of the Top Banana, a charter boat. The captain was Patrick Vesser.
Name: Jay Wiederholt, with children Mara and Max.
Species: Largemouth bass.
Where: Neighborhood pond in Sedalia, Missouri.
Noteworthy: Jay is a dedicated golfer. His brother-in-law, Bob, offered to take him fishing via golf cart. Several bass were caught and released.
Species: White-tailed deer
Where: North of Loup River in Howard County
Size: 11x8 points. Brow tines 9 inches
Noteworthy: Henk said this is his biggest trophy. It appeared out of a tree-lined draw just 15 minutes after he got in his stand at 2 p.m. He shot it from 150 yards.
Name: John Beeson, Omaha Species: Deer Where: Otoe County southwest of Palmyra Size: 4x4 Noteworthy: The UNK senior killed the deer with one shot from 80 yards with a Savage .270 rifle. It’s the third deer of his hunting career.
Noteworthy: The 93-year-old has caught virtually all varieties of trout over the years but never the hybrid tiger trout. It was a goal of his before he quit fishing. He caught two that day.
Name: Derek Rutherford, Omaha.
Where: Private lake near Valley.
Noteworthy: After several nibbles and lots of patience, Derek landed the biggest fish he’s ever caught. It was released.
Name: Emmett Golda, La Vista
Species: Bass Size: 3 pounds
Where: Halleck Lake in Papillion
Noteworthy: Moments after dropping his line in the water, the 3-year-old needed a little assistance from grandpa Keith Bonner to reel in this fish caught with a bait worm. It was his first time fishing. His parents are Luke and Kay Golda.
Name: Klaus Brotzki, Omaha.
Where: Private lake in north central Missouri.
Noteworthy: It was caught in 12 feet of water using a chartreuse and white chatterbait. It was weighed and released.
Where: Saunders County sandpit lake
Noteworthy: The fish qualifies for Nebraska Game and Parks' Master Angler recognition. This is the second big catfish Grant has caught with his grandfather, Jeff Carney. Once the fish was released, he turned to his dad, Ben, and said: "This never gets old!"
Species: 15½-inch crappie
Note: The 6-year-old caught the Master Angler fish on an outing with his family. He used a minnow as bait.
Name: Bridget White, Springfield, Nebraska
Where: Off the coast of Cancun in the Caribbean
Noteworthy: Bridget and Phil White caught six trigger fish and one white and one red snapper while out on a fishing charter.
Species: Bluegill and crappie
Ben Zupan also was on his first ice fishing outing, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission event at Lake Wanahoo. Game and Parks provided gear and bait and even drilled the holes. The 16-year-old caught 15 fish, and grandpa Patrick McPherson caught four.
“Over the last 12 years I’ve enjoyed teaching him how to fish,’’ McPherson said. “He’s become an extremely good fisherman who loves the outdoors and can’t wait to go fishing. And, he’s a better and smarter fisherman than his grandpa. Don’t tell him that.”
Name: Jamison Childers, Omaha
Where: Douglas County private pond
It was priceless, Paul Childers said, to see the smile on grandson Jamison’s face when he pulled in his prize on the youngster’s first ice fishing trip.
“Seeing him sitting in his chair and all of a sudden hearing, ‘Papa, I got one.’ All I did was put a few fingers underneath the pole and he reeled them in,’’ Childers said.
The 6-year-old caught a 17-inch and a 19-inch bass on a private pond in Douglas County. Childers caught a 21-incher.
This past July, the 8-year-old caught a pike at Lake of the Woods in Canada.
Name: Becky Connolly with guide Dean Roy, who is holding the fish. Husband Dan is to the left.
Size: 47-¼ inches, about 37 pounds
Noteworthy: The fish was caught on a jig and nightcrawler while fishing for walleye with a 6-pound line and a light-action rod. It was released unharmed.
Name: Don Paltani and grandson Wyatt, Bellevue
Noteworthy: Paltani said it was a proud moment. Wyatt helped out with everything in taking care of the deer. “It is a moment to not be forgotten,” Paltani said. “We look forward to more proud moments like this one when Wyatt comes of age to hunt.”
Name: Clay Gathye, Gretna, and grandpa Larry Gathye, Omaha
Where: Pine Ridge in western Nebraska
Noteworthy: The 10-year-old shot his first deer on opening day using his grandpa’s .308 rifle.
Name: Charlie Loofe, Elkhorn
Where: Buckskin Lake near Newcastle, Nebraska
Noteworthy: The 10-year old was fishing with grandfather Mike Loofe of Wakefield.
Name: Michael Marcuzzo, Omaha
Species: Flathead catfish
Size: 25 pounds, 39 inches
Noteworthy: Marcuzzo was fishing with a friend at a local park when he caught this master angler with a bluegill. The fish was released.
Name: Truman Stickland, Red Oak, Iowa
Where: Viking Lake in southwest Iowa
Noteworthy: Truman and brother Bennett caught some small fish, then Truman reeled in this one. Mom wasn’t impressed, but Truman insisted he take it home. They then checked with Todd Carrick of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who said it was a master angler catch.
Name: Jeff Schindler, Valley
Noteworthy: Jeff was fishing with dad Ron and brothers Brad and Rod. As he was reeling in a rock fish, this monster latched on. The quick-thinking captain gaffed it before it let go. Both fish were landed in the boat.
Name: Jack Taylor, Bellevue
Where: Private pond in Sarpy County
Noteworthy: He was fishing with his father, Aaron Taylor, and Jerry Lovell.
Name: Doug Mellema, Kansas City, Missouri
Where: Smithville Lake, Missouri
Noteworthy: The fish was caught on the second cast of the morning, using a Rapala Fat Rap, firetiger color. It was netted by Doug’s father, Warren Mellema of Omaha.
Name: Dean Cowles, Plattsmouth
Noteworthy: Dean, 92, was fishing for trout when he caught this koi.
Name: Davis Koile, Valley
Noteworthy: The 7-year-old used a green pumpkin worm with a chartreuse tip rigged wacky style on a drop shot rig. The fish, which weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces, was his first master angler bass. This catch made him “want to get even bigger ones.”
Name: Andrue Hackendahl, Elkhorn
Where: Lawrence Youngman Lake
Size: Just over 10 inches
Noteworthy: The 9-year-old thought another little fish was stealing his night crawler. It was released.
Name: Ainsley Anderson, Omaha
Where: Lake Pokegama in Minnesota
Noteworthy: The 11-year-old used a Silver Wally Diver to catch the 9-pound fish, which was her second master angler walleye.
Name: Hayden Anibal, Bennington
Where: Sandpit lake near Schuyler
Noteworthy: The 11-year-old used a night crawler to nab her master angler fish.
Name: Emma Anibal, Bennington
Where: Sandpit lake near Schuyler
Noteworthy: The 12-year-old used a night crawler to catch the bass.
Name: Carter Cushing, Gretna
Noteworthy: The 14-year-old was fishing with his family, including sister Avery. The catfish put up a good fight and was released.
Name: Erik Hultquist, Omaha
Where: Fraser River, Tabernash, Colorado
Noteworthy: The 14-year-old was fly-fishing for the first time on a river.
Name: Gary Jacobsen, Omaha
Where: Kenai River in Alaska
Noteworthy: He was fishing with son Chris of Tekamah, Rick Beane of Minnesota and Dan and Eric Jensen of Kenai.
Name: Frankie Jordan, Omaha
Where: East Silent Lake, Minnesota
Size: 4 1⁄2 pounds, 19 inches
Name: Mitch Stanley, Elkhorn
Where: Boy Lake, Longville, Minnesota
Size: 5-1⁄4 pounds, 21-1⁄2 inches long
Noteworthy: Mitch was fishing with his grandfather, Gary Lortz. He caught the master angler fish with a leech. The fish was released.
Name: John Swinarski, Omaha Species: Whitetail deer Where: Sarpy County Size: 7-pointer Noteworthy: Swinarski wants to thank the farmers and landowners who allow hunters on their land. “Really appreciate it,’’ he said. “We are always looking for more hunting land.’’
Names: Cooper and R.J. Hladik, Sedalia, Missouri
Species: Largemouth bass Where: neighborhood pond in Sedalia
Noteworthy: The boys also caught dozens of scrappy bluegills that were about 10 inches. They used hot dog bites and worms to catch green sunfish, too. All were released.
Couy, Reece and Nick French with a 113 1/4 pound blue catfish. It was 5-foot-1 inches tall with a girth of 3 feet 11 inches.
Name: Doug Finnicum, Omaha Species: Largemouth bass
Where: Douglas County private lake Size: 4 to 6 pounds
Noteworthy: It was his largest bass from this lake.
Name: John Schulte, Omaha Species: Pheasant Where: Public land near Columbus Noteworthy: The 13-year-old used his 20 gauge shotgun to kill his first rooster during the youth pheasant opener. He was hunting with springers Ruby, who flushed the wild rooster out of a plum thicket, and Camo, who retrieved it.
Daniel Beck of Louisville with the 14-point buck he shot in Cass County on opening day last season.
Drake Clements got a 16-point buck on the first day of the firearm deer season. It was the 11-year-old’s first buck.
Name: Kevin Marr, Omaha Species: Wiper Where: Lake Manawa
Size: About 8 pounds, 3⁄4 inches Noteworthy: Marr fishes at the lake every Monday. This time it was cold and windy, but he persevered on the fourth cast. It took about 17 minutes to bring the fish in.
Name: Michael Bebout Species:Whitetail deer Where: Johnson County by Sterling on his grandmother’s land. Size: 5x5 Noteworthy:Michael shot this 3 1/2 year old deer at 160 yards with a Browning .270. It is his biggest buck so far. This buck was so well hidden in the timber that, after shot, they walked within 2 foot of the deer and couldn’t see him. Michael found him.