Rick Windham

Rick Windham writes about the outdoors from North Platte. He can be reached at RWmedia@atcjet.net

Deer hunters are done with their firearms season.

In general, reports are that a lot of deer were harvested, but the feedback I’ve received from hunters around the state indicate that many hunters didn’t see as many deer, especially mature deer. I experienced the same thing.

We still have muzzleloader season and a late antlerless season to go.

Archers are also back in the field looking for deer. Total numbers for the deer harvest won’t be available until late January.

Don’t forget that Nebraska’s fall turkey season is still going until Jan. 31, 2018. This is one of Nebraska’s longest running hunting seasons. Fall season permits allow the hunter to take two turkeys of either sex per permit, and you can purchase two permits.

Waterfowlers are reporting moderate success. Locally, duck and goose seasons are running.

Colder weather has moved into the area, and more frigid temperatures are covering the northern plains. That should push more waterfowl south. The new birds that are arriving from the north are congregating primarily along the rivers and on Sutherland Reservoir. A few birds have been using Lake Maloney.

If you are still in the fishing mood, here’s some information for you:

Lake McConaughy

Big Mac’s water level is about 80 percent full right now.

Inflows are about 1,150 cubic feet per second. The few intrepid anglers out on the water are catching some walleye midlake in 25-35 feet of water. Other walleye can be found along the dam in 3-8 feet of water. Nighttime fishing has been more productive. Large shallow running crankbaits with a firetiger pattern are working well.

Lake Ogallala

Trout fishing is providing some activity.

Fishing from the bank at the west side of the lake has been fair. Power Bait is working well. Anglers on the dam at the lower end of the lake report better fishing. Most of the fish being caught are in the 12-15 inch range. Flows out of Lake Ogallala into the North Platte River are about 25 cfs. Bigger trout are being caught in the river between the rock weirs.

NPPD Canals

Water is flowing again from Keystone down to Lake Maloney, but fishing is slow due to water only returning to canals recently.

Fish really haven’t had time to re-populate the canals, but it won’t take long.

Sutherland Reservoir

Water is flowing at the inlet again.

About 500 cfs is going into the lake and the lake level is up from last week. Fishing in the inlet and on the main lake is sporadic. Waterfowlers are out on the water more than anglers.

Lake Maloney

Water is flowing again, about 470 cfs and lake levels are beginning to rise. Fishing all around the lake is very sporadic. The inlet may be the best spot to get a line wet this weekend.

A few duck hunters have blinds on the flats uncovered by lower water levels and they had had some success along the east side of Scout Island.

Tri-County Canal System

Water levels are about normal and flowing.

Some walleye and sauger are being caught below the checks between North Platte and Jeffery Lake. Minnow on a Lindy rig seem to be the best technique at this time.

Have a great weeke­­­nd outdoors.

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