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Rick’s Picks, Oct. 7

Rick’s Picks, Oct. 7

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Have you noticed the leaves changing colors this week? It seems like the fall color change started about a week ago. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.

Nebraska’s archery deer is underway and it runs until Dec. 31. The archers I’ve talked to tell me they are seeing lots of deer being pushed around by harvesting operations. I am hearing some reports of success by archers around the region. There is plenty of time to still get out and enjoy what Nebraska has to offer.

I was also told by some local individuals that they are dodging deer at dawn and dusk when driving around North Platte. It is that time of the year! Be vigilant and be careful. I had to dodge a big muley buck on south U.S. Highway 83 earlier this week.

Our fall turkey seasons (archery and shotgun) are open. I am getting good success stories. There are lots of turkeys out there, so it is no surprise. This is one of Nebraska’s longest hunting seasons and it runs until Jan. 31, 2022.

OK, on to fishing: Most species of fish are shifting to their fall feeding cycle. Fishing seems to be picking up in a few areas across the region.

Big Mac’s water level is about 57% of full and holding steady. Walleye fishing in the big lake is mostly happening out in the mid-channel areas in 40 to 50 feet of water. Go after these fish with deep diving crankbaits and slab baits. Crankbaits with a blue color seems to have the edge. Kastmasters with a blue/chrome color scheme are getting lots of bites, too. If you want bass, go to the north shoreline and go shallow. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are being found in 2 to 5 feet of water, in and around the rocks.

Lake Ogallala anglers are catching a few trout. Lake Ogallala water levels will be lowered to facilitate some required maintenance on the Nebraska Public Power District Supply Canal gates. A coffer dam will be installed in the lake to keep water away from the gate area while the work is being conducted. Water to the canal has been shut off and the canal is almost empty. Water in the canal from Keystone to Lake Maloney will be extremely low until December.

Sutherland Reservoir inflows are just a trickle at the moment. White bass are the only fish that seem to be active in the inlet right now. Fishing is slow. The inlet is also full of baitfish so there is plenty of natural forage for bigger fish to eat. Tossing a lure out that looks better than the real thing may be an exercise in futility. Lake levels are still about where they were last week, but walleye fishing in the main body of the lake and the area around the bubbles has slowed down. If you like going after catfish, they seem to be biting throughout the lake. Cutbaits and night crawlers are working well for channel catfish.

There is very little flow at the inlet of Lake Maloney. Be prepared for the lake’s water level to drop a bit with the low flows. Inlet activity is sporadic at best. A few walleye and white bass are being taken with live baits and slip bobber rigs at the inlet. Minnows and night crawlers seem to be the best baits for walleye at this time. Try the outlet area for some wiper.

Get outside and enjoy the outdoors. The forecast looks to be decent for the weekend — I’ll be out there.

— Rick Windham

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