Located in Nebraska’s beautiful sandhills, Calamus State Recreation Area is among the most popular places for camping, fishing, boating, picnicking and hiking in the state. Features of the area include a 5,123-acre lake and surrounding 4,958 acres of gently rolling land, covered with native grasses and forbs. Some 1.2 miles of the Calamus River and 3.5 miles of other streams meander through the area.Make a Reservation
Primary sport fish at Calamus State Recreation Area are walleye, white bass, wipers (white/striped bass hybrid), channel catfish, carp, drum, muskie, northern pike and crappie. In addition, catchable rainbow trout are stocked regularly in adjoining Gracie Creek Pond. In spring and early summer, walleye are tops on most anglers’ lists. As summer progresses white bass, wipers and catfish show up. Two fish-cleaning stations are on-site.
For more information on fishing opportunities here and at parks across the state, visit the interactive public fishing areas map. This map provides detailed information on available species, regulations, public boat ramps, fish cleaning stations and ADA-accessible boat ramps and docks, among other features in reservoirs, lakes, streams and rivers statewide. Lake contour maps are available for some lakes, as well.
All types of boats are permitted at the lake, which offers four docks and five ramps. Calamus State Recreation Area also offers access to the Calamus River.
Dining, snacks, groceries, boat rental, bait and other sundries are available at the following concession areas (call for details, exact location and hours):
- Husker Marine: 308-346-4410
- Homestead Knolls Sports Center: 308-346-5695
- Calamus Marine: 308-346-5678
- Creekside: 308-346-5666
- Sandhills Service: 402-241-8424
One of Nebraska’s five fish hatcheries is located at Calamus State Recreation Area. Located below the dam, the hatchery has self-guided tours and displays on raising fish and other topics, making it an interesting and unexpected stop for many lake visitors.
The fresh air and cool evenings of the Sandhills make Calamus a great spot for picnicking and grilling out. The area offers 204 picnic tables, 216 grills and one shelter.
Swimming is permitted at Calamus Reservoir, however, no lifeguards are on duty, and swimming is at your own risk. Swimming is not allowed within 50 yards of boat ramps and docks.
Calamus offers naturalist programs, birding events and a huge pumpkin carving event each autumn. Visit the calendar to view upcoming events.
Calamus offers 132 pad sites with 30- and 50-amp electrical hookups spread over three different campgrounds. Shower houses are available at Homestead Knolls, Nunda Shoal and Valley View Flat campgrounds. All three areas offer mature shade trees, water and modern restrooms and each area is within walking distance of the lake. A dump station is available at Little York Point. Additionally, RV and camper camping is permitted in the parking lots of the Valley View Flat and Hannaman Bayou campgrounds in designated spots.
Calamus offers 52 non-pad sites without electricity. Water and modern restrooms are available, and shower houses are available at Homestead Knolls, Nunda Shoal and Valley View campgrounds. Reservable group tent sites that accommodate up to eight tents are available in the Valley View Flat Campground. Beach camping is not permitted at Calamus SRA.
A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online.
Residents $30 for an annual permit, duplicate annual permits are available for $15 and daily permits for $6.
For vehicles not registered and licensed in Nebraska $45 for an annual permit, duplicate annuals permits are available for $22.50 and daily permits for $8.
Primitive tent camping – $8
Camp pad with electric – $19-$20
Valley View Community Group Camp: $28
Winter camping rate with electric – $15
Reserve a Picnic Shelter: $45 per day
For a complete list of all state park, state recreation area and state historical park fees, click here.
Dining, lodging, fuel and groceries are available in nearby Burwell. Burwell is also home to Nebraska’s oldest rodeo, which takes place each July.
Calamus Outfitters offers tubing, canoeing and tanking trips down the Calamus River. They also offer guided bird watching and hunting.
Address: Calamus SRA | 42285 York Point Rd | Burwell, NE 68823-9803
Phone: (308) 346-5666
Email: Send email