Weekend Plans: Lake Wanahoo, Nebraska | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Kevin Slifer holds up a giant Lake Wanahoo pike at sunset. Kevin Slifer holds up a giant Lake Wanahoo pike at sunset. Photos: Courtesy Don Stubbings

Explore the coves and weed beds of Lake Wanahoo for big largemouth and bigger pike.

If there was lake you could design as a kayak angler there would be certain features such as plenty of fish and big ones!,  plenty of affordable camping, ease of launching, and the best feature make the entire lake is a no wake zone.  Well that lake exists in the heartland of Nebraska.

Located about 30 miles north of Lincoln in Wahoo, Lake Wanahaoo is a 662 acre reservoir designed for a variety of fishing experiences. . The lake was designed for fishing with hundreds of acres of flooded timber, deep creek channels, rips rap, and vegetation. Shore fisherman have the option of jetty fishing, or from the abundance of accessible shoreline.

A strong population of largemouth bass most averaging over 15 inches with a few close to 20 commonly caught. A species introduced to the lake which will challenge kayak anglers is the northern pike. They are plentiful and will test your skills as an angler they feature an aggressive attitude and will have you counting your fingers and toes as you release these beasts as part of the mandatory catch and release program for northern pike.

Bass have a length minimum of 21 inches to keeping the population strong.  Other species are also plentiful, including walleye, crappie, bluegill and catfish.

Camping is available throughout the lake area campsites can be found for as little as $8 for large are tent camping with a picnic table and fire ring with grill at each site. The site has room for up to 4 tents and many are within a quick walk to the restrooms.  For those who prefer RV/Camper sites have options as well for $19 with a gravel pad and power. Pay showers are the standard here with $1 giving you six minutes of cleaning power. Each shower is completely stand alone with a bathroom and changing area.

Lake Wanahoo Trip Costs: 

$5 a day for park access

What Tackle to Bring For Lake Wanahoo Largemouth and Pike

Your bass equipment should be fine for northern pike.  However, braid and wire leaders are common when specifically chasing the pike. Crankbaits and swim jigs and the louder the color the better. As for bass all the standards as well as chatter baits and shaky head jigs in timber produce good numbers but don’t forget top water in the shallower weed beds.

Safety Considerations When Catching Pike

A good net will help you keep all your fingers and toes from the northern pike aggressiveness once landed. It is not uncommon to get a few minor cuts when handling pike, so a good stock of band aids is always a good idea.  

When To Go:

Fishing at Wanahoo is open year round however, April-November may be your most comfortable fishing times. Challenge yourself in in late October with the spooky bass tourney held at the lake.

Where To Stay:

Enjoy the Lake and the great sunsets and camp, or for those who want to stay in the comforts of home there are several hotel options in the region.

Where To Eat:

Many may decide to eat fireside and enjoy a campfire meal such as “Accidental Fish Tacos” (See my recipe below). Or you can venture a short distance in to Wahoo and enjoy Starvin Marvin’s BBQ or a variety of other restaurants.

Who To Call:

If you’re looking for Kayak Rentals or a Guide Services Kayak Jack is a can’t miss. Marty "KayakJak" Hughes is a great guide and a legend in the kayak fishing circles in Nebraska. kayakjak.com

Downside: There is no swimming beach or swimming permitted making it difficult for the variety of family activities and those who want to cool off after a long day on the lake.

For info for camping and current lake info Wanahoo Gatehouse: 402-443-1037-The staff at the lake is helpful and park staff patrols throughout the night. For more info the Outdoor Nebraska website has maps and other regulations.

“Accidental” Fish Tacos

As the story goes…we had a 23 inch walleye but no oil and no fish fry but we had bacon, eggs and rosemary triscuits, tortillas and for some reason, an avocado.  


2 lbs  Walleye Fillets chunked

1 Avocado

½ Box of Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits crushed

Bag of flour tortillas

2 eggs beaton

½ pound of bacon

Cook the bacon until rendered, remove the bacon and leave the grease. Coat each piece of fish in egg then coat with triscuit breading. Cook in bacon grease until golden brown. Take a tortilla smear with avocado put a couple pieces of bacon and a few pieces of fish and wrap the tortilla. –Enjoy


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