Students in kindergarten through 12th grade can discover the outdoors by participating in the third annual Nebraska Fish Art Contest.

This international art and writing competition gives young people the opportunity to highlight their artistic talents while learning about fish, fishing and aquatic conservation. Participants can win prizes and recognition in Nebraska and internationally.

The free contest, sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Wildlife Forever and Bass Pro Shops, is accepting entries through March 31, 2022. Enter at statefishart.org.

Artists create an original illustration of any fish species and submit a one-page creative writing detailing their species’ habitat and efforts to conserve it. Entries are categorized in four grade levels: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Educators nationwide use Fish On!, the State-Fish Art Lesson Plan, to utilize the competition as a learning tool in the classroom. Judging will be in April and winners announced in May.

Changes to the contest this year allow any fish species to be depicted, digital contest registration and submissions to be accepted, and printable contest entry forms made available. Additionally, many specialty awards are available.

“The Nebraska Fish Art Contest was especially popular last year, with students submitting very creative and beautiful works of art,” said Larry Pape, Game and Parks aquatic education specialist. “We look forward to seeing this year’s student artist submissions.”

For more information, contact Pape at [email protected]ska.gov.


Crofton Dam Race is July 30 at Lewis and Clark SRA

Registration is open for the Crofton Dam Race 2022, which will be July 30 at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area.

Choose your adventure between three events: a sprint triathlon with kayaking instead of swimming, a half-marathon, or a 12-mile bike race.

The Crofton Dam Race, which is open to athletes of all experience levels, will help raise funds for a new hike-bike trail at the SRA.

• The Crofton Dam Race triathlon includes a 1.5-mile kayak paddle across the lake, a 5K run through the Weigand campground and a 12-mile bike ride along the rolling hills overlooking the lake, ending in Crofton. Competition is in team, individual and youth divisions. Participants must be at least 14 years of age.

• Crofton’s Dam Bike Race is a 12-mile ride in the hills of the Weigand area.

• Crofton’s Dam Half Marathon is a 13.1-mile race along the lake.

Plan to stick around the finish line in Crofton for a party with food and music.

For more information or to register, visit croftonsdamrace.com. Registration fees increase after July 23.

Participate in virtual fisheries meetings in March

Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in a virtual discussion on fisheries management during meetings March 14-16.

Four meetings – one for each Game and Parks district – will occur over three days, with fisheries biologists presenting updates on regional projects and providing local fishing outlooks. The informal, interactive gatherings will provide a chance for questions, dialogue and feedback.

Registration to attend a regional session is required at OutdoorNebraska.org/FishingEvents.

Meetings are:

  • March 14 — 7 p.m. CST, Southeast District
  • March 15 — 7 p.m. CST, Southwest District
  • March 16 — 6 p.m. CST, Northeast District
  • March 16 — 8 p.m. CST, Northwest District

The virtual meetings will be via Zoom, a free app that can be downloaded to a web browser or mobile device. Participants are encouraged to submit questions using Zoom’s chat feature.

All sessions will be recorded and made available on Game and Parks’ YouTube channel for later viewing.

Trout stockings begin; Two Rivers Trout Lake opens March 12

It’s time to go trout fishing again in Nebraska. Rainbow trout are being stocked in city ponds and lakes across the state in March to enhance fishing opportunities this spring, especially in urban areas.

Additionally, the Two Rivers State Recreation Area Trout Lake in Douglas County will open March 12. By then, more than 12,000 rainbow and tiger trout will have been stocked in the lake.

All trout caught in the Trout Lake must be harvested and not released. Anglers first must purchase from the park office a daily trout tag for $6. Each tag is good for a daily bag limit of four trout. A person may have up to three tags per day and 12 trout in possession. An adult angler may have two children under the age of 16 fishing under the authority of his/her tag, but the group bag limit still is limited to four trout per tag.

The Trout Lake (Lake No. 5) will be open from 7 a.m. to sunset each day. Anglers, except residents younger than age 16, must have a Nebraska fishing license. All vehicles entering the park must have a park entry permit. Anglers possessing trout on any other lake at Two Rivers must have a trout tag, as well. Anglers will be allowed to use one fishing rod and reel each.

Trout fishing is a great way to introduce children to fishing because simple and inexpensive equipment may be used.

“Rainbow trout are especially good for new anglers because they will bite readily on anything, including corn, wadded up pieces of bread or worms, and are easy and safe to handle,” said Larry Pape, aquatic education specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “You can use a simple spin-cast combo or a spinning rod and have a fun day catching trout.”

For resources to help beginners or even experienced anglers, visit outdoornebraska.gov/howtofish.

The following is a schedule of tiger and rainbow trout stockings for this spring, including quantities. The dates can change because of weather or unforeseen circumstances:

Tiger trout:

Feb. 18 – Curtis Golf Course Pond, 300

Feb. 22 – Chadron State Park Pond, 500; Alliance Golf Course Pond, 400

Rainbow trout:

Feb. 25 – East Branch of Verdigre Creek, Royal, 200

March 14 – Fremont Lakes SRA No. 2, 900; Fremont Lakes SRA No. 2, 4,100

March 15 – Bridgeport SRA Middle Lake, 2,000; Bridgeport SRA Northwest Lake, 1,400; Humboldt City Park Lake, 350; Pawnee City Pond, 300; Rotary Club Lake, Auburn, 800; Stanton Lake, Falls City, 200; Lake Halleck, Papillion, 1,200; Weeping Water Pond, 1,500; CenturyLink Lake, Eugene T. Mahoney SP, 2,500

March 16 – Fort Kearny SRA No. 6, Kearney, 1,200; Windmill SRA No. 2, Gibbon, 600; Holdrege City Lake, 1,000; Steinhart Park East Pond, Nebraska City, 800; Louisville SRA 1A, 600; Heartwell Park Lake, Hastings, 450; Such’s Lake, Grand Island, 650

March 17 – Ponca SP Pond, 750; Niobrara SP Pond, 600; Auble Pond, Ord, 750

March 18 – Ponca State Park, 750; Geneva Pond, 300

March 19 – Ta-Ha-Zouka Park Lake, Norfolk, 1,500 (9 a.m. Central time); Pawnee Park West Lake, Columbus, 1,500 (10 a.m.); Neligh Park Pond, West Point, 900 (11 a.m.); Holmes Lake, Lincoln, 4,000 (12:30 p.m.)

March 21 – Terry’s Pit, Terrytown, 1,500; Riverside Park Pond, Scottsbluff, 900; Rock Creek Lake, Parks, 500; David City Park Pond West, 600

March 22 – Two Rivers SRA No. 5 (Trout Lake), 3,500; Bridgeport SRA Middle Lake, 2,000; Bridgeport SRA Northwest Lake, 1,400

March 28 – North Morrill Pond, 2,250; Middle Morrill Pond, 450

March 29 – Oxford City Lake, 150; Lake Helen, Gothenburg, 2,000; Plum Creek Park Lake, Lexington, 750

Other stockings of rainbow trout in March as time and weather allow – East Branch of Verdigre Creek, 600; Elm Creek, Elm Creek Wildlife Management Area, 1,000; Two Rivers SRA Lake No. 5 (Trout Lake), 10,500; Grove Lake WMA sandpit, Royal, 75; Gracie Creek Pond, 500

The following are a list of stockings of rainbow trout in April as time and weather allow –

East Branch of Verdigre Creek, 1,000; Two Rivers SRA Lake No. 5 (Trout Lake), 10,500; Keller Park SRA No. 4, 250; Keller Park SRA No. 5, 400; Sand Springs, Plum Creek Valley WMA, 400; Lake Ogallala, 12,000; Lake Carter P. Johnson, Fort Robinson SP, 2,500; Gilbert-Baker WMA Pond, 600; Birdwood WMA, North Platte, 1,000; Gracie Creek Pond, 1,000

Chadron City Reservoir North, 1,700; Chadron City Reservoir South, 1,700; Chadron SP Pond, 500; North Morrill Pond, 2,250; Middle Morrill Pond, 450; Riverside Park Pond, Scottsbluff, 900; Bridgeport SRA Northwest Lake, 1,400; Terry’s Pit, Terrytown, 1,500; South Grabel Pond 2, Fort Robinson SP, 1,200; Middle Grabel Pond, Fort Robinson SP, 600; Cherry Creek Diversion Pond, Fort Robinson SP, 250; Rock Creek Lake, Parks, 1,500

For information on fish stocking online, including upcoming trout stocking dates, visit outdoorNebraska.gov/fishstockingreports.