NEBRASKAland

NEBRASKAland July 2016

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

Issue link: http://mag.outdoornebraska.gov/i/695082

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Seeing the Change at Prairie Queen Story and photos by Jeff Kurrus H aving wet a line in a number of states throughout the country, I have never seen a lake more fishable, especially from the shore, as Prairie Queen Recreation Area in Sarpy County. With a design team led by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission fisheries biologist Steve Satra, construction began in October 2012 on this one-of-a-kind lake and it was opened to the public March 31, 2015. At a modest 135 acres, the lake is the furthest example from a fish bowl one can imagine. With underwater shoals, various rock and gravel locations, man-made fish attractors and aquatic vegetation, there seems to be a never-ending amount of structure to fish. And it's structure anglers can get to, whether in a boat or on land. There is a four-mile paved walking trail encircling the lake, with foot access to the waterline in too many spots to count. Five riprap breakwaters can be fished from, as well as various spots on both the north and south ends of the lake where shorebound anglers can reach flooded timber. Nearly two years ago, I had the opportunity to photograph Prairie Queen when the lake was near completion but had yet to fill. A few weeks ago, I revisited it and was given a small glimpse of what additional fishing opportunities there are just under the surface. Drop-offs, buried gravel and underwater shoals and fallen trees can be found on numerous parts of the lake, and a more detailed list of fish attractors can be found at the Lake Maps section at OutdoorNebraska.org, a map which also includes contour changes. For those in the eastern part of the state, the lake is a stone's throw from Lincoln and on the southwestern edge of Omaha in the city of Papillion's jurisdiction. Yet once people start to learn about this lake, they won't just be coming from down the street to fish it. They'll be driving from miles in all directions, with anglers shaking their heads as they leave for the day. "We just couldn't fish all of it," they'll say, giving them another reason to return to the most fishable lake around. ■ Constructed by the Papillion Creek Watershed Partnership, Prairie Queen Recreation Area is a gem in the heart of the Papillion, Omaha and La Vista area. 58 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2016 Prairie Queen Recreation Area

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