State Recreation Area
4175 540th Rd. | Hay Springs, NE 69347
Perhaps best known as the home of the Walgren Lake Monster, this northwestern Nebraska attraction on the edge of the Sandhills offers a wide variety of activities in a serene setting. Whether or not you see the Walgren Lake Monster, a mythical Loch Ness Monster-like creature that made national headlines decades ago, with a little luck you might see monsters of another variety – fish. The 50-acre lake is known for its excellent panfish population, shaded campgrounds and stone picnic shelter. The lake is located 2 1/2 miles east of Hay Springs and 2 1/2 miles south of U.S. Highway 20 on gravel roads.
Walgren Lake is a prime location for watching birds and other wildlife. In addition to waterfowl, an adjacent prairie dog colony on private property attracts a wide variety of plains wildlife.
Walgren Lake offers abundant panfish populations, including yellow perch, crappie and bluegill. Anglers are also apt to land largemouth bass, northern pike walleyes and black bullheads. A handicapped-accessible fishing pier provides access for shore-bound anglers. The lake does experience considerable vegetation late in summer and low water levels in dry years.
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 opportunities at Walgren Lake include waterfowl, rabbits, dove and pheasants.
Boaters may get on the water at the lake’s concrete boat ramp and dock. The lake has a 5-mph speed limit.
The serenity of the 80-acre park makes it an attractive place for a family outing. The stone picnic shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Picnic tables and grills are located throughout the area, and children will be entertained by the vintage playground equipment.
Hunting is allowed on portions of the area after Labor Day. Popular game includes waterfowl, dove, pheasants and rabbits.
Stock up on drinks and snacks at nearby Hay Springs, which offers dining and fuel. Also nearby is Rushville, with lodging, dining fuel and more. Walgren Lake SRA is situated near the Pine Ridge and is managed by staff of another popular regional attraction, Chadron State Park.
Walgren Lake SRA offers 40 primitive camping sites under the shade of cottonwood trees. Visitors will revel in a good night’s sleep as the area’s remote location and low traffic makes it a quiet getaway. Most camping sites offer fire rings. The area has two vault latrines. Campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis. Visitors must pack out what they pack in as the campground has no trash service.
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.