Monday, May 25, 2015

Where There's a Will...

Where there’s a will, there’s a way is a popular expression perhaps coined by fishermen. If there are fish swimming in a lake, fishermen will figure a way to get their hook in front of them.

This was proven to me on a recent trip to Nebraska where I had the chance to fish Lake McConaughy near Ogallala. It’s a huge lake (largest in Nebraska) and surprisingly, it was built by private enterprise instead of the government. The purpose for the lake is two-fold, to produce hydro-electric power and provide water for irrigation. Recreation such as fishing, boating or water sports was down the list and the management of the lake still puts hydro-power and irrigation before recreational needs.

To recreational users, that means the water level in the 35,000 acre lake fluctuates annually and sometimes drastically. Boat ramps built for normal water levels sometimes terminate high and dry when water levels fall below target levels. In other areas, boat ramps are non-existent.

The fishing trip I made on Lake Mac, as it’s know locally, originated at Van’s Lakeview Fishing Camp. ( There, they’ve come up with a unique answer to how to deal with the fluctuating water levels in the summer.  They do have a concrete ramp to launch boats in the traditional way, but when the water drops low enough to make the ramp unusable, they have a trio of specially modified trucks to put your boat where it needs to be.

They have a gently sloping, sandy bottom bay adjacent to the camp. Just unhook your trailer and go park. They will hook up and back your boat into the water 20 or 30 yards - whatever it takes to make it float. At the end of the trip, the process is reversed.  In between, fish for walleyes, pike, hybrid stripers, smallmouth and all the other species for which the lake is famous.

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