Nebraska's diverse fisheries provide ample opportunities for fly fishing enthusiasts. From the meandering Platte River to the stunning Sandhills lakes and the serene streams of the Pine Ridge region, Nebraska boasts a variety of scenic locations to cast a line.
This article will explore the top 14 places to fly fish in Nebraska, highlighting unique information about each location, popular fly fishing spots, and the type of fish you can expect to catch.
Best Fly Fishing Locations in Nebraska
Nebraska's Sandhills region is a hidden gem for fly fishing. This vast grassland's numerous lakes and ponds offer excellent opportunities to target bass, bluegill, crappie, and even northern pike. The tranquil setting and breathtaking landscapes create a serene ambiance that enhances the overall fishing experience.
In addition to its diverse fisheries, Nebraska's fly fishing scene benefits from its lesser-known status. This means less crowded waters and more solitude, allowing anglers to fully immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the tranquility of their surroundings. Here are some of the top locations in the Cornhusker State:
1. East Verdigre Creek
East Verdigre Creek, located in northeastern Nebraska, flows through picturesque landscapes; this scenic waterway is nestled amidst rolling hills and lush vegetation. The creek meanders for approximately 22 miles, offering anglers ample opportunities to test their skills.
Access points are abundant along its course, allowing fishermen to easily explore its diverse fishing spots. Notable access points include the Verdigre Creek Bridge, conveniently located near Verdigre, and the Verdigre Public Fishing Area, providing anglers with ample parking and well-maintained trails.
Recommended fly patterns for the East Verdigre Creek, Nebraska:
2. Elm Creek
Elm Creek, which is situated close to the town of Elm Creek, is a great spot for fly fishing. It's a spring-fed creek stocked with rainbow trout, so it's perfect for anglers looking for a good catch. Keep in mind that it's a put-and-take trout fishery where 1000 rainbows are stocked in March and 500 more in September.
Recommended fly patterns for the Elm Creek, Nebraska:
3. Holmes Lake
Holmes Lake, located off South 70th Streets and Pioneers Boulevard, is a regional park in the heart of Lincoln, Nebraska's capital city. It is a favorite spot for fly fishing enthusiasts. This urban lake is stocked with trout, bass, and bluegill, providing a convenient and accessible fishing spot.
Recommended fly patterns for the Holmes Lake, Nebraska:
4. Lake McConaughy
Lake McConaughy is a stunning reservoir in Nebraska, renowned for its exceptional fly fishing opportunities. Spanning over 35,000 acres, the lake offers anglers a diverse range of fish species, including rainbow trout, walleye, and catfish.
Ideal fly fishing access can be found along the lake's shoreline and at various boat ramps, such as Martin Bay, Cedar Vue, and Van's Lakeview. These locations provide convenient entry to the water, allowing fly fishermen to cast their lines and enjoy the tranquility and abundant fish populations that Lake McConaughy has to offer.
Recommended fly pattern for the Lake McConaughy, Nebraska:
5. Lake Ogallala
Adjacent to Lake McConaughy, Lake Ogallala is another great location for fly fishing. This picturesque reservoir spans approximately 320 acres and offers a serene environment for anglers to pursue their passion.
The lake is stocked with various fish species, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and bluegill, providing ample opportunities for a rewarding fishing experience. Access points for fly fishing can be found at the Ogallala Lake State Recreation Area, offering convenient entry to the water.
Recommended fly patterns for the Lake Ogallala, Nebraska:
6. Long Pine Creek
Long Pine Creek flows through the scenic Pine Ridge region, offering a picturesque backdrop for anglers. Anglers can find brown and rainbow trout at Long Pine Creek in Pine Glen, making it a great spot for those looking to complete a Trout Slam.
A Trout Slam certificate, pin, and bragging rights can be earned by catching all four Nebraska trout species, which include rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat. Access points for fly fishing can be found at Long Pine State Recreation Area, Keller Park, and multiple bridge crossings along the creek. These locations provide convenient entry to the water, allowing fly fishermen
Recommended fly patterns for the Long Pine Creek, Nebraska:
- Copper John - Size 18
- Formerly known as prince - Size 14
- The Frenchie - Tungsten - Barbless - Size 16
7. Niobrara River
As one of Nebraska's most scenic waterways, the Niobrara River attracts nature lovers and fly fishers alike. The river begins in the High Plains of Wyoming, specifically in southern Niobrara County. It flows towards the east, passing by Lusk as an intermittent stream and entering the northwestern part of Nebraska. From there, it heads southeast across Sioux County's Pine Ridge area.
Spanning over 500 miles, the Niobrara River, a designated National Scenic River, is home to a diverse range of fish species, including brown and rainbow trout. Access points for fly fishing can be found at various locations along the river, such as Smith Falls State Park, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, and multiple public access points.
Recommended fly patterns for the Niobrara River, Nebraska:
8. North Platte River
The North Platte River is a renowned destination for fly fishing in Nebraska. Its tailwater section below Lake McConaughy is famous for its trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout, making it a must-visit spot for avid anglers.
This river spans 700 miles and is well-known for its large trout population, including rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout. Multiple fly fishing entry points along the river, such as Gray Reef, Miracle Mile, and Fremont Canyon, are known for having great fishing conditions.
Recommended fly patterns for the North Platte River, Nebraska:
9. Soldier Creek Wilderness
Soldier Creek Wilderness is a great spot for fly fishing in Nebraska's Sandhills. The area covers 7,794 acres within the Pine Ridge section of the Nebraska National Forest. Its trout-filled streams are perfect for passionate anglers seeking solitude and tranquility.
The area can only be reached on foot via trails since no roads exist. To get there, travel 2.5 miles on U.S. Highway 20 from Crawford to Fort Robinson, then take Soldier Creek Road for 6 miles north. The Soldier Creek Campground provides access to the wilderness via various trails.
Recommended fly patterns for the Soldier Creek Wilderness, Nebraska:
10. Standing Bear Lake
Standing Bear Lake is a popular urban fishery located just northwest of Omaha. It offers excellent fly fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie, providing a convenient escape for city dwellers.
Recommended fly patterns for Standing Bear Lake, Nebraska:
11. Sutherland Supply Canal
The Sutherland Supply Canal is a man-made waterway that attracts fly fishing enthusiasts seeking warm water species. Anglers can target carp, catfish, and various panfish in this canal near Sutherland.
Recommended fly patterns for the Sutherland Supply Canal, Nebraska:
12. Two Rivers State Recreation Area
Located between the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers, the Two Rivers State Recreation Area offers a scenic outdoor destination offering a wide range of activities. With an area of 622 acres, it encompasses two beautiful lakes, including the Platte River.
The park boasts diverse wildlife, including deer, turkeys, and waterfowl. It's a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts, particularly fly fishing. Fly fishermen can access the Platte River from multiple points within the park, providing opportunities to catch various fish species, such as trout, bass, and catfish. This park is stocked with trout, making it a great spot for beginners and families.
Recommended fly patterns for the Two Rivers State Recreation Area, Nebraska:
13. White River at Fort Robinson State Park
White River, located at Fort Robinson State Park in Nebraska, is a picturesque waterway that offers exceptional fly fishing opportunities. Flowing through the stunning Pine Ridge region, the river boasts crystal-clear waters and abundant fish populations.
Anglers can access the White River from various points within the state park, allowing for an immersive fishing experience. The river is home to a variety of sought-after species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Anglers can enjoy the challenge of catching these prized fish, including some trophy-sized specimens, in this serene river.
Recommended fly patterns for the White River at Fort Robinson State Park, Nebraska:
14. Woods Reserve Ponds
Tucked away in the Woods Brothers Wildlife Management Area, the Woods Reserve Ponds are a hidden oasis for fly fishing enthusiasts. Fort Robinson State Park is a 22,000-acre Pine Ridge playground in the state's northwestern corner. Although the park is full of terrestrial sights, those who enjoy fishing know that there are ten fishing ponds and coldwater streams to explore.
The ponds range in size from .5 acres to 2.5 acres, and to enhance the current population of largemouth bass and bluegill, they will be stocked with yellow perch, channel catfish, rainbow trout, and crappies. Additionally, the ponds were updated to include angler access pads and a canoe-kayak launch.
Recommended fly patterns for the Woods Reserve Ponds, Nebraska:
What Gear Do I Need to Fly Fish in Nebraska?
To fly fish in Nebraska, you will need basic fly fishing gear, including a fly rod, reel, fly line, leader, tippet, and a selection of flies. A 5-6 weight rod is suitable for most Nebraska waters. Additionally, a pair of waders and wading boots are recommended for fishing in rivers and streams.
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Nebraska:
Nebraska offers a variety of fishing permits, including daily, annual, and non-resident options. It's important to check the state's fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits before fishing. Fly fishing in Nebraska primarily focuses on trout, but anglers can also target other species, such as bass, panfish, catfish, and walleye, in certain locations.
Many of Nebraska's fishing spots are easily accessible and family-friendly, making them ideal for beginners and experienced anglers alike. Catch-and-release practices are encouraged to preserve fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing opportunities for future generations.
Where is the best place to fly fish in Nebraska?
The best place to fly fish in Nebraska depends on your preferences and the type of fish you want to target. However, the North Platte River, Lake Ogallala, and the Niobrara River are often regarded as top destinations due to their excellent fishing opportunities and scenic beauty.
Where is the best trout fishing in Nebraska?
Trout fishing enthusiasts will find exceptional opportunities in Nebraska. The best trout fishing locations include the North Platte River, Lake Ogallala, Long Pine Creek, East Verdigre Creek, and the White River at Fort Robinson State Park.
Where are the biggest trout in Nebraska?
The North Platte River, particularly its tailwater section below Lake McConaughy, is known for producing some of the biggest trout in Nebraska. Anglers have the chance to hook into trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout in this renowned fishing destination.