Outdoor notes: Anglers take home outdoor prizes in the Take ’em Fishing challenge

Anglers take home outdoor prizes in the Take ’em Fishing challenge

LINCOLN, Neb. – Ten anglers took home outdoor prizes in the first round of prize drawings for the Take ’em Fishing challenge, sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and partners who have donated prizes.

Anglers answered the challenge to take a new or lapsed angler fishing with them, for the chance at a range of prizes. To date, more than 700 photos of fishing trips have been submitted for contest entries.

The winners are:

Russell Banzhaf, Lincoln – Fishing pole and tackle kit

David Burkhalter, Elsie – Alps Outdoors crosshair camp chairs and Camp Chef cooking iron

Nicole Enevoldsen, Lincoln – Three-night state park stay

Jacob Hrabik, La Vista – Kearney Archway passes

Colby Klahn, Doniphan – Kearney Archway passes

Bob Koneck-Wilcox, Omaha – DAB guided fishing tour

Dion Menking, Fremont – Vista Outdoors Camp Chef camper stove

Michael Miller, Lincoln – Kearney Archway passes

Bryce Standley, Seward –$100 Scheels gift card

John Vrtiska, Cedar Creek – $50 Scheels gift card

“Having a healthy, growing population of anglers in Nebraska provides tremendous benefits for the state, its wildlife and people,” said Nebraska Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas. “It is exciting to see such a response to Take ’em Fishing. We encourage anyone who loves to fish to take the pledge and help us encourage more people to discover fishing and keep this tradition alive and well in Nebraska.”

There is still a plenty of time to participate. Many resources to help you plan a fishing trip can be found at OutdoorNebraska.org, including a map of places to fish and a schedule of community fishing nights statewide where certified volunteers and equipment are provided.

Game and Parks will continue drawing prizes weekly through Sept. 15. The winner of the grand prize, a Bass Tracker Classic fishing boat, will be announced at the Missouri River Outdoor Expo in September. To learn more about Take ’em Fishing and sign up, visit Outdoornebraska.org/takeemfishing.

Ponca SP and Danish Alps SRA to offer outdoor summer programming

LINCOLN, Neb. – Families can enjoy outdoor recreation and education at a series of events to be held this summer at Ponca State Park and Danish Alps State Recreation Area.

Led by park naturalists, events can include outdoor activities such as kayaking, archery and fishing, and environmental education on outdoor topics ranging from outdoor survival to park wildlife. Guests will enjoy valuable hands-on learning opportunities for all ages, as well as an enjoyable time spent outdoors.

Ponca State Park holds programs daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day; during the rest of the year, events occur each weekend. Events at Danish Alps take place three Saturdays each month, now through Sept. 2.

Activities are subject to change based on weather and staff availability. To learn more and see the full event schedule, visit the Nebraska Northeast Parks Facebook page or Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov. A park entry permit is required.

Application period for big game draw permits begins June 10

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hunters may begin applying for 2019 big game draw permits June 10. Residents and nonresidents may apply for one deer permit, residents may apply for one elk permit, and residents and eligible landowners may apply for one antelope permit.

The application period begins at 1 p.m. Central Time (CT) on June 10. Paper applications must be received by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission by 5 p.m. CT – or by 11:59 p.m. for online applications – on June 28.

Only a nonrefundable application fee is due at the time of application. Drawing results will be available by July 5. Successful applicants will have until July 19 to complete the purchase of their awarded permits. Awarded but unpaid permits will result in applicants losing preference or bonus points and forfeiting the permit. Any forfeited draw permits, as well as unsold draw permits and buy-unit permits, will be sold over the counter on a first-come basis beginning Aug. 5.

Applicants who supply valid email addresses will be notified when the draw is complete. Applicants not providing valid email addresses will be responsible for monitoring their status online at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Applications may be made at OutdoorNebraska.org, via application form, or in person at a Game and Parks permitting office. Details regarding drawings and permits may be found in the 2019 Big Game Guide, which is available at outdoornebraska.gov/guides/ or wherever permits are sold. Drawing statistics from previous years may be found at outdoornebraska.gov/drawresults/.

Draw units are established to provide equal opportunity to obtain permits in those units. They are determined by the overall demand on a unit’s permits. Residents get preference over nonresidents when these permits are drawn.

Enjoy good food, fishing on Father’s Day at a Nebraska state park

LINCOLN, Neb. – Enjoy a good meal or some fishing with dad on Father’s Day at a Nebraska state park.

Four state parks and recreation areas will hold events for the public on June 16 in celebration of Father’s Day:

— Danish Alps State Recreation Area: Join us for a Father’s Day fishing clinic at 10 a.m. Demonstrations on baiting a hook, casting, fish identification, and more will be presented. Bait and equipment will be provided.

— Fort Robinson: Enjoy barbecue ribs at the Father’s Day Buffet from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. No reservations required.

— Platte River State Park: Come hungry to the Father’s Day Buffet from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations are not accepted; please contact the park office for more details.

— Ponca State Park: Treat dad to a made-from-scratch fish fry, including Dutch oven cobbler dessert, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Call ahead for the menu and to make reservations.

A park entry permit is required for each vehicle entering the park. For more information, visit Calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.

Chadron State Park celebrating 98th anniversary

CHADRON, Neb. – Chadron State Park, which became Nebraska’s first state park in 1921, will celebrate its 98th anniversary with its annual celebration Saturday, June 8.

New to the event this year is the Kiwanis Regatta canoe race, which is being moved from its usual date later in the summer. Registration begins at the park’s pond at 2 p.m.

The Run for the Hills foot races, which include a 5k, 10k and a shorter fun-run or walk over the rugged Pine Ridge terrain, will begin at the junction of the Black Hills Overlook at 8 a.m. Registration and course information may be found at pineridgetrailsraceseries.com.

There also will be a classic car show at the park’s baseball field and a wide variety of displays and activities at the park’s newly renovated Trading Post. The building received a new floor, counters and other features over the winter.

Other activities include live music, an opportunity for kids to dive for money, discounted horseback rides, free paddle boat rides, archery and pellet gun shooting, nature and blacksmithing displays, and a lunch of buffalo sloppy joe or hot dog lunch for just 98 cents – appropriate to the park’s age, just one penny more than it cost last year.

Among the displays will be the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s trailer that houses many impressive taxidermy mounts that were confiscated because of game violations.

The anniversary celebration is open to the public free of charge, but a Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required for vehicles.

Following is the schedule:

Run for the Hills races, 8 a.m.; Free paddle boat rides 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Free pellet gun shoot, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Classic car show, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Naturalist activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Buffalo sloppy joe and hot dog lunches, Noon- 2 p.m.; Live music by Cheap Date, Noon-2 p.m.; Free archery card shoot (with prizes) 1-3 p.m.; Kiwanis Regatta, 2 p.m. registration, 2:30 p.m. race; Dive for money at the pool (ages 14 and under), 5 p.m.

Cottonwood Lake reopens

MERRIMAN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has reopened Cottonwood Lake State Recreation Area.

Park superintendent Diane Burress said visitors to the park should be cautious and choose camping areas wisely. Shallow water remains over the paved entrance road in places, and some camping areas are still flooded or muddy.

Flooding prompted closure of the Sandhills park in late May.

Family camp set for June 21-23 at Bridgeport, Wildcat Hills SRAs

LINCOLN, Neb. – Kick off the summer enjoying the outdoors with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission at a Becoming an Outdoors-Family Camp. The camp will be held June 21-23 at Bridgeport State Recreation Area and Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area.

This program is provided to families who are new to camping and the outdoors. With the expert guidance of instructors, families will learn how to fish, camp, kayak, and cook outdoors in a relaxed and safe environment

All food will be provided, as well as fishing, kayaking and shooting equipment. Participants will bring their own tent and camping supplies. Some loaner tents will be available.

Download the registration form at outdoornebraska.gov/bof/. Call Christy Christiansen at 402-471-5547 for more information.

Free educator workshop scheduled June 24-25 in Panhandle

LINCOLN, Neb. – Join the Nebraska Project WILD and Nebraska Natural Legacy Project for a free educator workshop June 24-25 at High Plains Homestead, near Crawford.

Explore the rolling hills and plains of northwestern Nebraska, home of the Oglala Grasslands Biologically Unique Landscape. This is where rocky outcrops and badlands are dispersed among the prairie to provide a unique and intricate landscape for many significant Nebraska species.

This Legacy in Environmental Education Discovery workshop is designed for formal and informal classroom educators from grades 5 through 12. Teachers of all subjects will find this workshop useful. Meals and lodging are provided.

Participants will receive knowledge to use when incorporating local ecology into their curriculums, several educational resources, and field guides and activities specific to the area.

To register, contact Jamie Bachmann at Jamie.bachmann@nebraska.gov.

Celebrate National Marina Day at Lewis and Clark SRA June 15

LINCOLN, Neb. – Enjoy a day on the water at one of Nebraska’s best boating destinations, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, for a celebration of National Marina Day on June 15.

Activities include yoga by the lake, boat tours, kayaking, fishing, archery, hayrack rides, touch tanks and educational sessions. New this year is a lighted boat parade starting at 9:30 p.m. To register your boat, contact the park office at 402-388-4169. Visitors can also attend, for a small fee, a fish fry from 6-7 p.m.

Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area is located 9 miles north of Crofton on Highway 121 in Knox County. A park entry permit is required. For more information, visit Calendar.Outdoornebraska.gov or call the park at 402-388-4169.

Nebraska Big Game Society supports big game efforts with Game and Parks donation

LINCOLN, Neb. – On May 31, Nebraska Big Game Society Board Members Jim King, Craig Hundt and Justin Hertzel presented a donation of $29,000 to Nebraska Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas.

The Nebraska Big Game Society (NBGS) raises money through its membership dues and its fundraising spring auction and dinner. This check represented the sale of the Nebraska Resident Elk tag to the highest bidder. Additional funds raised are earmarked for other important Nebraska big game efforts.

“We are pleased to support the efforts of the Commission, because our missions both support the stewardship of Nebraska Big Game and our natural resources for the long-term,” said NBGS President Justin Hertzel. “The work the Commission does is important for ensuring our outdoor resources are managed in the best interests of the resources, while at the same time providing access and opportunity.”

The Nebraska Big Game Society and its members have donated nearly $460,000 to big game research and conservation efforts, funding projects such as tracking collars for bighorn research, conservation easements, solar wells and fire protection equipment.

“The Commission is very grateful for the critical support of the Nebraska Big Game Society in fulfilling our mission of stewardship of Nebraska’s wildlife resources,” Douglas said. “Hunters, anglers, and our partners, through their dollars, activities and passion, help ensure the sustainability of our fish, wildlife and natural resources for future generations of Nebraskans.”

To learn more about the Nebraska Big Game Society, visit nebiggame.org. For more information on the Commission’s big game efforts, visit Outdoornebraska.org.

June is great month to give urban fisheries a try

LINCOLN, Neb. – Big fish in small waters. That’s what anglers can catch this month in urban ponds and lakes across the state.

Greg Wagner, public information officer with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, says smaller fisheries often are overlooked, especially around Omaha.

“Don’t forget that big fish do live in small waters,” he said. “Metro area anglers shouldn’t overlook what’s in their own backyard. Some of these fisheries are underutilized.”

June is a month when the water warms, making the fish more active and willing to bite. Later in the summer, small aquatic creatures will be abundant in the water, and compete with an angler’s bait.

Nebraska’s urban fisheries typically are stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Each of those species can be caught on simple equipment with a simple bait. “This is nightcrawler time,” Wagner said. “You just can’t go wrong with a worm, especially with a small bobber.”

Shoreline access at some of the state’s urban fisheries, such as Lake Halleck in Papillion, is excellent. Some, like Omaha’s Zorinsky Lake and Lincoln’s Bowling Lake, offer accessible fishing decks.

Urban fisheries are the perfect place to take fishing someone new or someone who has not been fishing in a while. When you do, snap a photo and enter to win prizes in the Take ’em Fishing challenge. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/takeemfishing for details.

Go to OutdoorNebraska.org to buy a fishing permit and to find urban fisheries across the state.