Nebraska Game and Parks Commission



Richard Peckham

Date of this Version

June 1970


Published by STATE OF NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS COMMISSION DIVISION OF FISHERIES. Copyright © 1970 Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Used by permission.


Pelican Lake is a 819 acre natural sandhill lake located on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in Cherry County. Like all sandhill lakes in this region the lake is relatively shallow having a maximum depth of only 7.5 feet.

Pelican is a light alkaline lake having a recorded pH range between 7.0 and 9.5. Total alkalinity values ranged from 185 to 360 ppm, in recent years.

Submergent vegetation is common and includes the following:.. sago pondweed, coontail, curleyleaf pondweed, floating leaf pondweed and milfoil. Emergents consist of hardstem bulrush, reed grass (Phragmites) , arrowhead and cattail. Hardstem bulrush is scattered lightly throughout the entire lake, while the others are confined primarily to the margin.

In 1958 the lake was treated with toxaphene to eliminate the-heavy carp and bullhead population. Northern pike, rock bass, largemouth bass and bluegill were restocked in 1960.

A 16 hour sample in May, 1961, using 2 gill nets (125 ft. variable. mesh) captured is northern pike averaging 14.0 inches and one carp (11.4 inches) . No other fish were captured.

The fish population was again sampled in July, 1962, by state and federal biologists. Six 125 foot experimental gill nets captured 28 northern pike, 5 carp, 5 bluegill and 1 largemouth bass. The northern pike averaged 19.0 inches and 1.63 pounds.

Beginning in 1963 the lake was utilized was a source of northern pike spawners. A total of 39 trap net days yielded 1,657 northern pike. The lake has been utilized each year since 1963. In the last four years (1966-69) an average of over 4,150 northern pike spawners have been utilized annually from Pelican Lake for artificial spawning purposes. A high of 4,777 were trapped in 1968.