State Recreation Area
42285 York Point Rd. | Burwell, NE 68823-9803
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pumpkin carving event each autumn.
Dining, snacks, groceries, boat rental, bait and other sundries are available at the following concession areas (call for details, exact location and hours):
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.
Calamus offers Electric Plus and Basic camping spread over three 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 and fill station is available at Little York Point. Additionally, camping is permitted in the parking lots of the Valley View Flat and Hannaman Bayou campgrounds in designated spots.
Hannaman Bayou and Valley View Flat campgrounds offer Basic non-pad campsites with access to water, restrooms and shower houses. There is a group campground that accommodates up to eight tents in the Valley View Flat Campground. Reservations are available for this area. Beach camping is not permitted at Calamus SRA.
Camping reservations are available for half of the electrical campsites up to a year in advance. All other camping is all first-come, first-served and campers register their nightly camping fees in a raised, locked box called an Iron Ranger. Self-service envelopes are provided at each Iron Ranger station. Check or cash only. Iron Rangers are generally located near the park entrance or in the campground area. On-site camping informational signs are provided to help guide campers with the self-registration process.
Picnic shelters at Calamus State Recreation Area may rented for your activity.
A park entry permit is required to visit state parks and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors, or in advance of your arrival online. View those fees, as well as attraction and amenity pricing.
Reservations are accepted for cabins, lodge rooms, and group lodges up to one year in advance of the arrival date. Reservations for camping are accepted up to 180 days in advance of arrival date. The Reservation Call Center hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (CT) and closed on holidays.
Our 76 gorgeous state park and recreations areas host a plethora of events throughout the year. From bird hikes to kayak races, Living History events to family outdoor days, our parks host something fun for every outdoor enthusiast.