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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

NGPC is partnering with Keith County Commissioners, local public safety officials and the general public on a proposed plan to create higher quality experiences for all at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala State Recreation Areas. To learn more, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/LakeMacChanges 

  • Archery Range
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Food Service
  • Hunting
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Swimming

Nearly everything about Lake McConaughy is big. At 30,000 surface acres it is Nebraska’ largest reservoir, its dam is among the largest of its type in the world and its fish grow to trophy proportions, accounting for several state records. Even its nickname, “Big Mac,” reflects its size.
Located eight miles northeast of Ogallala, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is known to most Nebraskans and residents of neighboring states as a great place for outdoor recreation. Lake Mac’s white sand beaches and clear waters are a favorite with campers, boaters, wind surfers, swimmers, water skiers, picnickers, scuba divers, hunters, anglers and others seeking outdoor fun.

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Attractions

Lake McConaughy Visitor Center/Water Interpretive Center

The Lake McConaughy Visitor and Water Interpretive Center is one-quarter mile south of Kingsley Dam on Highway 61. The Visitor Center makes a great first stop upon arrival as it houses the park office, gift shop and public restrooms and offers a beautiful view of the lake. Nebraska Park Entry Permits, camping registrations, fishing and hunting licenses and more helpful information to enhance your visit are all available here. The Center also houses two 1,000 gallon aquariums as well as interactive educational exhibits depicting the story of water in Nebraska and the history, hydrology and geology of the North Platte River Valley and Lake McConaughy. Learn about the construction of Kingsley Dam made from original photos and 8mm footage in the Ethel S. Abbott Theater.

Looking for a location to host your next meeting? Lake McConaughy’s conference room and Ethel S. Abbott Theater are available to rent for meetings and special events.

Fishing

Fishing has long been a favorite activity at Lake McConaughy, with its cool, clear, deep waters. Game fish species include walleye, channel catfish, Northern pike, wiper, smallmouth and white bass, among others. The area has three fish cleaning stations located at Martin Bay, Otter Creek and Cedar View. The area offers several boat ramps with docks, depending upon water level. Contact the Visitor’s Center for ramp availability. Fuel and boat rental are available from vendors around the lake. Depth and temperature information is available on the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District website.

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.

Hunting

Most of Lake McConaughy SRA, is open to hunting the Tuesday following Labor Day during designated hunting seasons. View the Public Access Atlas for information about public hunting grounds in Nebraska.

Opportunities for small game, turkey, mule and whitetail deer, waterfowl and upland species are abound in the area.

Nearby Clear Creek is a traditional wildlife management area open to hunting, trapping and fishing within the appropriate seasons. This area encompasses more than 3,200 acres of riparian woodlands, wetlands, river channel, lake bed and upland grasslands, and offers excellent deer, turkey, pheasant and dove hunting. Those willing to put in the effort to hike to the river can be rewarded with excellent waterfowl hunting. This area borders Lake McConaughy SRA and is available for public access year-round.

The Special Hunting Area (SHA) of Clear Creek consists of about 300 acres, which includes 10 four-person pit blinds, and is open to hunting for waterfowl and other game species until the Monday before Thanksgiving. At that point, the area is open only to those who are assigned a blind through a drawing held each morning at the Clear Creek check station.

Swimming and Day Use Areas

The area’s white sand beaches make it a popular destination for swimmers and those who want to hang out on the shore and soak up the sun. Swimming is allowed at beach areas unless otherwise posted. Lifeguards are not on duty.
Large designated walk-in, beach day use areas are located near Martin Bay and Arthur Bay Entrances and small walk-in day use areas are located at each Campground at Lake McConaughy that are perfect for those visitors looking for open beaches and water to play for the day. Vehicles and overnight camping are prohibited in these areas.
Other designated walk-in, day use areas are located around the lake for hiking, bird watching, hunting and fishing access. Vehicles and overnight camping is prohibited in these areas.

Boating

As Nebraska’s largest reservoir, Lake McConaughy is a prime destination for water sports recreation. Whether you enjoy water skiing and tubing, sail boating, parasailing or fishing, the Lake’s 30,000 surface acres provide plenty of space for these and other activities. Bring your own boat or personal watercraft or rent one from a private outfitter.
If wind curtails fishing, skiing, sailing and other water sports on the big lake, all is not lost. Lake Ogallala, located below the dam, is often sheltered from the wind. Some of Lake Mac’s bays also remain calm on windy afternoons.
Boat Ramps are available at multiple locations around the lake, depending on water levels. Contact the Visitor Center for ramp availability.
Water levels and lake temperature information can be viewed at cnppid.com.

Concessions

Dining, snacks, groceries, boat rental, bait and other sundries are available at the following concession areas (call for details, exact location and hours):

      • Big Mac Marina: 308-355-5555
      • Kingsley Lodge: 308-284-2775
      • North Shore Lodge: 308-355-2222
      • Otter Creek Lodge: 308-355-2372
      • Ski Patrol: 308-726-7368
      • Van’s Lakeview: 308-284-4965
      • Admiral’s Cove Resort: 308-355-2102

For more information on lake businesses, visit http://www.ilovelakemac.com

Park Programs

The Park Naturalist hosts many events throughout the year. Check the Outdoor Calendar, http://www.ilovelakemac.com or contact the Visitor Center for up to date program information.
Lake McConaughy hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. Check ilovelakemac.com or contact the Visitor Center for up to date special event information.

Camping

Campgrounds

Camping at Lake McConaughy is allowed in campgrounds and designated camping areas, including many beach areas.

Martin Bay Campground

Located near the Martin Bay Entrance off Highway 61, this area features grass sites and most have a table and grill. 93 Basic sites with water available at two locations within the campground. A shower facility is located nearby at the Martin Bay day-use area.

Little Thunder Campground

Located between the Martin Bay and Arthur Bay Entrances on Shoreline Road, this area features hard surfaced roads and pads with 8 Full Service sites and 34 Electric Plus sites, water available throughout the area and a restroom and shower facility.

Lone Eagle Campground

Located between the Arthur Bay and Sandy Beach Entrances on Shoreline Road, this area features hard surfaced roads and 84 Full Service sites with water and sewer available at each site. A restroom and shower facility is also located in the area.

Sandy Beach Campground

Located near the Sandy Beach Entrance off Highway 92, this area features grass sites and most have a table and grill. 26 Basic sites with water available near the parking area. A shower facility is located nearby at the Lone Eagle Campground.

Cedar View Campground

Located at the west end of Lake McConaughy off Highway 92, this area features hard surfaced roads and 85 Electric Plus sites and 17 Basic sites. Water is available at nearly every camp site throughout the area and a shower and restroom facility is located in the center of the campground.

Camping Areas

Camping at Lake McConaughy is allowed in campgrounds and designated camping areas, including many beach areas.

Shoreline Road

With entrances at Martin Bay, Arthur Bay and Sandy Beach, Shoreline Road has 18 designated Camping Areas on the beach and shoreline.

Lemoyne Bay Camping Area

Camping Areas are designated near Lemoyne Bay off Highway 92 including beach areas. A vault latrine is located on site with no water availability.

Spring Park Camping Area

A Camping Area is designated near the Spring Park Entrance off Highway 92. A vault latrine is located on site with no water availability.

Otter Creek Camping Area

Camping Areas are designated near the Otter Creek Entrance off Highway 92. Portable restrooms are available with water available at the fish cleaning station.

Cedar View Camping Area

Camping Areas are designated on the beaches at Cedar View in multiple locations. Portable restrooms are located nearby and water is available at the RV dump station and fish cleaning station.

Omaha Beach Camping Area

A Camping Area is designated near the Omaha Beach Entrance off Highway 92. Portable restrooms are available with no water availability.

Eagle Canyon Camping Area

Camping Areas are designated near Eagle Canyon off Highway 26 including beach areas. Portable restrooms are available with no water availability.

Lakeview Camping Area

Camping Areas are designated near Lakeview off Highway 26 including beach areas. Portable restrooms are available with no water availability.

Ogallala Beach Camping Area

A Camping Area is designated near Ogallala Beach Road off Highway 26. A vault latrine is located on site with no water availability.

High Water Camping Areas

There are Camping Areas designated near Beach Areas 8, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 along with some parking lots designated as Camping Areas along Shoreline Road during High Water years.

Maps

Nearby Attractions

Keith County and the City of Ogallala

Keith County and the City of Ogallala offer a wonderful variety of attractions in the Lake McConaughy Area. Ogallala, better known as the Cowboy Capital, hosts several western themed attractions. For more information on local attractions, visit http://www.ilovelakemac.com.

Ash Hollow State Historical Park

Ash Hollow State Historical Park is a must-see when visiting Lake McConaughy. Ash Hollow is west of the Lake on Highway 26 or 92 and was an important stopping point on the Oregon/California Trail. Ruts of covered wagons carrying westbound immigrants on the Overland Trail can still be seen, and prehistoric cave dwellings have been preserved. Ash Hollow’s Visitor Center offers displays and information on the area’s rich history. The grounds at Ash Hollow offer over 2-miles of scenic hiking trails and a designated area for equestrian riding.
Visit Ash Hollow State Historical Park

Share the Shoreline

Remember to share the shoreline with the many bird species that make their home at Lake McConaughy, especially the endangered Interior Least Tern and threatened Piping Plover that make their nests along the shoreline. Visitors (and their dogs) are reminded to give them a wide berth. Visitors must avoid marked or fenced-off nesting areas of beach, obey all signs and keep all pets on leashes.

Park Fees

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. For a complete list of park and activity fees, click the button below.

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Contact Information

Address: Lake McConaughy SRA | 1475 Hwy. 61 N. | Ogallala, NE 69153-5930
12 mi. north of Interstate 80 on US Hwy 61
Phone: 308-284-8800

Email: Send email