Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version

Spring 2013


2013 Authors


Interstate 80 Lakes Fish Population Survey 1-16


Spanning a stretch of 150 miles along Interstate 80 from Grand Island to Hershey more than 60 small lakes are available for public fishing. Fisheries staff from the Kearney office has the management responsibility for the Interstate lakes located from Grand Island to Elm Creek. These man-made lakes, most of which were created for fill material when the Interstate system was developed in the 1960’s, range in size from 1 to 42 acres. The ground water fed lakes have excellent shoreline access for anglers and usually contain clear water and abundant aquatic vegetation, providing excellent habitat conditions for largemouth bass and bluegill. In addition, most of the lakes contain channel catfish, while others have crappie, rock bass, walleye, and northern pike. The fish populations are surveyed on a five year rotation and the following graphs and text display these results.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are present in all of the Interstate lakes in the central portion of Nebraska, with the exception of War Axe, which has smallmouth bass. Lakes with high densities of smaller bass, include Windmill, Ft. Kearny, West and Middle Mormon Island, Bufflehead, Kea Lake, Coot Shallows, and Sandy Channel #2. Lakes that traditionally produce large bass include Cheyenne, Windmill #1, Bassway Strip, Bufflehead, Blue Hole West, and Sandy Channel #8. Most of the I-80 lakes have a 15-inch minimum length limit on black bass. Exceptions include; Mormon Island SRA, Cheyenne, West Wood River, War Axe, and Archway Lakes, all of which have a 21-inch minimum length limit. In addition, Kea West is designated as a catch and release only lake for all species. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release on bass in the I-80 Lakes as they are easily over-harvested.