Nebraska I-80 Lakes have the Best Bass Fishing in the State

Alan Grudzinski   Tuesday, May 01, 2007 3:04 AM

Hello fellow anglers. Are you ready for spring Bass fishing? I sure am! In my opinion, the I-80 lakes offer the best, most consistent, public bass and bluegill fishing in Nebraska.

You really can't pick a "Bad" I-80 lake. But, a little research can help you pick the cream of the crop.

The I-80 lakes are found along the interstate, from Grand Island to Hershey. While most people call them "Lakes", they are actually borrow pits created when I-80 was constructed. As the dirt and fill material was removed, the pits filled with water creating these small lakes. Most are from 10 to 30 acres in size, ranging from 15 to 25 ft deep. In general, the water is very clear.

I researched I-80 Bass fishing, by viewing fish-sampling data. Special thanks to NGPC District 6 Fisheries Supervisor, Brad Newcomb, for sending me the information. Bass populations are sampled by electro-fishing. A small electrical current momentarily stuns the fish so they can be measured. After measuring and recording data, the fish are released unharmed. These fish-sampling surveys show the number of fish caught per hour of electro-fishing, and the size-structure of the population, for each lake. The NGPC uses this data to monitor and manage fish populations. But, as an angler, I use this data to find the best combination of large bass and good numbers.

My top picks for bass are: Bassway Strip WMA, War Axe SRA, Mormon Island SRA, Sandy Channel SRA, and West Wood River WMA. Let me give you some details about each lake.

Bassway Strip WMA is located at the Minden I-80 exchange. The best bass fishing is found in the first (west) lake. This lake has a low-to-moderate bass population, but also has some 20"+ fish available. As a bonus, about half the bluegills sampled are 8" or longer. Bassway is a good choice for big Bass and large bluegills. This lake has a lot of good weedlines to fish.

War Axe SRA is located at the Shelton I-80 exchange. This 14 acre lake has moderate bass population, but about 60% are 15"+. You won't catch a bunch of Bass here, but the fish you catch will big. Not much for weedlines, the fish seem to relate to the sharp drop-offs and sparse shoreline cover. War Axe is a good spot for big Bass.

Mormon Island SRA is located at the Grand Island I-80 exchange. There are 3 lakes, from 19 to 42 acres. My pick is the 42 acre west lake. It has an average-to-good Bass population, with 20"+ fish available. Many good weedlines, along with offshore cover, make Mormon Island a great spot for numbers and big Bass. Good numbers of bluegills are present too.

Sandy Channel SRA is located 2 miles south of I-80, at the Elm Creek exit. The main lake, #8, has a boat ramp and is my pick for bass. It has very good bass population, with 30% being 15"+, and some 20"+ fish available. Great weedlines, irregular shoreline, and extended sandbars provide excellent fishing for numbers and big bass.

West Wood River WMA is located 1 mile west of the Wood River I-80 exchange. This 15 acre lake was renovated in 1996 and re-stocked in 1997. The Bass population is excellent, with almost 600 Bass electro-fished per hour ! Most of the Bass are still small, but about 10% are 15"+. The lake has some moderate weedlines and shoreline cover. Good numbers of bluegills are also present. This lake is my top pick for catching great numbers of smaller bass. If anglers practice catch-and-release, this lake will just get better.

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6 Comments

re: Nebraska I-80 Lakes have the Best Bass Fishing in the State
5/10/2007 5:01:25 PM  Jon Farsen says,

I drive through Nebraska for almost 10 years weekly on I80 for work. I never thought to bring along a rod. Thanks!

re: Nebraska I-80 Lakes have the Best Bass Fishing in the State
2/2/2009 6:37:07 PM  jason says,

i read an article a few years ago about a lake in nebraska about big blegills do you know of such a lake? a seem to remember it was on the eastern side of the state and about center north to south? write back with any info thanks

re: Nebraska I-80 Lakes have the Best Bass Fishing in the State
2/2/2009 6:37:27 PM  jason says,

i read an article a few years ago about a lake in nebraska about big blegills do you know of such a lake? a seem to remember it was on the eastern side of the state and about center north to south? write back with any info thanks

re: Nebraska I-80 Lakes have the Best Bass Fishing in the State
5/25/2011 3:34:47 PM  Steve says,

Are there any good Bass fishing lakes around Omaha, Ne

re: Nebraska I-80 Lakes have the Best Bass Fishing in the State
7/9/2012 12:10:05 PM  Bass Daddy! says,

Omaha Papio D-4 hwy 32 and 96th st.. Walk up access but not bad for Large Mouth bass, I wanna know if those ponds towards grand island are still hittin? or where in SE Nebraska they catching Masters at?

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