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Top Places for Bass Fishing in Nebraska

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Nebraska
Photo Courtesy of Steve Carpenteri

Anglers will find plenty of room for bass fishing in Nebraska on its many lakes, ponds, rivers and creeks. The most consistent action will be found on major lakes including Box Butte Reservoir, Branched Oak Lake, and Elwood Reservoir, but good fishing abounds in smaller reservoirs, rivers and creeks statewide. Nebraska's state-record largemouth was caught in a sand pit near Columbus and the state-record smallmouth was pulled from the Missouri River.

Duo Realis Crankbait M65-8A

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 8 feet

A highly detailed crankbait, the M65 confronts bass with a realistic baitfish appearance plus sound generated by a metal plate and steel ball. Available in two models and a variety of colors, this crankbait is effective in both stained and clear water.

Price: $12.99

Sebile Action First Bull Crank

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 4-7 feet

Patrick Sebile's Bull Crank is an excellent lure, especially at that low price point of $6.95. The Xternal weight system helps to keep a low center of gravity, dig deep, and stay on track, reducing the need to tune. It features a wide body to increase visual presence.

Price: $6.95

Storm Arashi Silent Square Bill

Length: 2 1/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3 feet

The Square Bill's self-tuning line tie lets you burn it and still have it track straight. The circuit board lip provides strong vibration up the line and helps the lure deflect well in cover, especially downed trees.

Price: $8.99

Gary Yamamoto Chikara

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 2-4 feet

This popularly-priced, rattle-equipped crankbait is designed to be worked through heavy cover and still get the job done. The Chikara features internal 3D holographic foiling that provides flash and cannot be chipped. The lure's value is enhanced by Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

Price: $7.99

Strike King KVD-1-5-Flat Side

Length: 2 ¼ inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 8-10 feet

This flat-side crankbait has a good thumping action and a tight wobble, and that means it's a great crankbait for cooler months or highly pressured lakes. Adding some weight to the hooks helps to cast the relatively light Flat Side on baitcasting gear, especially in windy situations.

Price: $5.79

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 5/16 ounce
Depth: 6-8 feet

On a medium or slow retrieve, the Rap Crank is amazing: it tracks straight, then pops laterally and juts back onto the original track, ready for the waiting strike.

Price: $8.99

Spro Baby Fat John 50

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 0-2 feet
Spro Baby Fat John 50

This smaller version of the established Fat John effectively imitates smaller forage, and works on spotted and smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. It runs shallow at any speed, and its fiberglass lip makes it kick out and 'hunt ' frequently before returning to true.

Price: $12.03

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 5 feet

It's a good-looking lure, and fine quality for a hard-to-beat price. The XPS rattle is subdued, which is nice for spooky bass. The oval split on the line tie helps it run straight and avoid line slipping between rings.

Price: $4.29

Megabass Knuckle Jr

Length: 2.2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 1-3 feet

You'll be a megafan of Megabass lures because of their innovation and uncanny attention to detail. The Knuckle Jr.'s two-position adjustable bill really gives you two lures in one, making it easier to swallow the premium price.

Price: $4.29

Livetarget Bait Ball Square Bill

Length: 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3-4 feet

The Bait Ball is a crankbait with realistic 3D baitfish bodies inside the main body. The smaller lures inside cleverly mimic a school of shad. This crankbait casts very well and has a tighter wobble than most square bills, making it a perfect crank for clear water.

Price: $14.99

Box Butte Reservoir

Box Butte Reservoir is a 1,600-acre lake and state recreational area on the Niobrara River. The reservoir is just south of the majestic Pine Ridge. Largemouth bass fishing will be slow until the water temperature reaches 50 degrees. Fish deep and slow. Jigs and plastic baits may be the best bet for largemouth bass. As the water warms try sinking jerk baits and other bottom-bumping lures.

Branched Oak Lake

This 1,800-acre lake is north of Lincoln. Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area is the most popular in Nebraska with over 1 million visitors each year. Its 14 access areas, two developed campgrounds and seven primitive campgrounds provide bass anglers with a wide variety of options all season.

Elwood Reservoir

A positive aspect of the recent extended drawdown of Elwood Reservoir was tremendous growth of terrestrial vegetation in the exposed lake bed.  This vegetation was inundated in 2010 and has provided excellent habitat for bass and other fish species.  While the flooded vegetation has made fishing conditions difficult in some areas, the bass fishing at Elwood Reservoir should be exceptional for years to come.

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