Dove season got off to a good start Wednesday. It was a bit damp in the morning, but the afternoon turned out well. Nebraska’s dove season runs from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, but don’t wait too long to get out in the field. All it takes is a few nights in a row of temperatures in the lower 50s or cooler to get the birds moving south.
Archery season for deer also opened Sept. 1. There are plenty of deer out there, but standing crops are hiding many of them and their movements. Harvesting will start soon and that will cause deer to be on the move and give archers a better chance at a shot, but it also means you need to be more aware when driving. Harvest causes deer to move and cross roads any time of the day. Be careful out there.
Big Mac’s water level is trending down slowly. The lake is now at 56% full. There is an old saying that when water levels are dropping, the fish get lock jaw. We may be seeing a little of this now. Fishing may pick up a bit in the upper reaches of the lake if we get some inflows from rains. That may be the best spot to look for walleye and wiper this weekend. Use live baits and concentrate on areas that have vegetation in the water.
Bank anglers at Lake Ogallala are having limited success. The best trout fishing is still at the lower end of the lake and in the Nebraska Public Power District canal below Lake Ogallala. Power Bait has been doing the best in the lake, Power Bait and salmon eggs are good to use in the canal. If you fish the North Platte River below the lake, try small spinnerbaits and spoons below the rock weirs.
At Sutherland Reservoir, white bass and walleye fishing with live bait and small crankbaits has been a little better at the inlet the past day or so. Early morning and late evening are the most productive times. Walleye fishing in the main body of the lake has been tough, but jigging live bait around the Bubble has been a bit more productive. Catfish are providing most of the angling activity. Drifting cut baits off of Hershey Beach seems to be the hot spot.
Lake Maloney’s inlet activity is sporadic. Live bait is the best offering for walleye and white bass and wipers. The Two Tree Island area, a sunken island in the southern portion of the lake, has been producing some walleye. Drifting in the middle of the main lake and over the Two Tree Island “hump” is accounting for most of the walleye being taken. Minnows and night crawlers on Lindy Rigs are the best presentations.
Don’t overlook our interstate lakes. Birdwood Lake, Brady Lake, Fremont Slough, Hershey and East Hershey lakes are still providing some consistent angling opportunities. A great “kid fishing” spot at the moment may be Iron Horse Lake by the 20th Century Veterans Memorial in North Platte. Lots of hungry bluegill can be caught from the dock at the east end of the lake. No big fish, but lots of fun.
You can try the Tri-County Canal System east of town. Water levels are good and there are walleye and sauger below the checks. Smallmouth bass are still providing lots of excitement in the riprap along the banks of the canal. Catfishing is the biggest success story in the canal using cut baits in slower, deep waters. The Cottonwood Canyon area has produced some 10-pound plus catfish recently.