WAHOO – “It was a very busy and unusual month of April.”
Lake Wanahoo Recreation Supervisor and Water Resources Specialist Bret Schomer has been putting in some long days.
With current national and state directives aimed at keeping individuals home, outdoor recreational activities have become a way for people to maintain a sense of normalcy – and many are doing it on Lake Wanahoo’s 1,777 acres.
A cool start to the month of May has not tempered the excitement.
After Mother Nature failed to cooperate with the ice fishermen, activity at the recreation area has spiked for almost two months now.
“We have seen a huge increase in the number of people we have had out here compared to what we normally see in April and May,” Schomer said.
All 74 camper pads on the west side of the lake have been full many times, even during the week, according to Schomer.
“That is unusual this early in the spring,” he said.
With camping restrictions at all of Nebraska’s State Parks, Wanahoo has become a popular place for campers.
“We have seen a lot of first time campers here early this year. They don’t appreciate the wind, but they enjoy the fishing and the quietness,” Schomer said.
While the NRD recreation area remains open there have been many changes to park operations during the COVID-19 health emergency.
There is no tent camping allowed right now at Wanahoo because access to the restrooms is closed.
All of the playground areas remain closed.
All group gatherings are limited to 10 people or less and groups larger than 10 are subject to prosecution at the hands of local law enforcement.
Schomer has said that people have observed and followed the social distancing guidelines for the most part and that have been very few instances of people breaking the rules.
Right now camping at Wanahoo is done on a first come first serve basis, but starting on May 15 campers must make a reservation. It can be done online at lpnnrd.org.
Fishing has been as popular as camping this spring at Wanahoo and has been good according to Schomer, especially the crappie bite.
A recent stretch of cold weather slowed it only temporarily.
“The crappie bite had been really good. We got the water temperature up there for a time and guys were catching a lot of fish. The colder weather slowed it down a little, but when temperatures warm up it will be really good again,” Schomer said.
Entry to the park requires a Lake Wanahoo park permit from Lower Platte North Natural Resources District.
Permits can be purchased online, at Wahoo Corner Market or at the park kiosk on the west side of the lake.
“We sold 125 permits on May 1 at the kiosk. It was 90 degrees that day, it seemed like everyone was here at the lake that day,” Schomer said.