Rock Creek Lake SRA: Serenity in southwestern Nebraska – Lincoln Journal Star

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Rock Creek Lake SRA: Serenity in southwestern Nebraska

An aerial photo shows Rock Creek Lake State Recreation Area in Dundy County.

Nebraskaland Magazine

JULIE GEISER
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
In the southwestern corner of Nebraska, in Dundy County, lies a truly serene area that is sure to surprise those who venture there.Rock Creek Lake State Recreation Area is a 54-acre area with a 50-acre lake fed by the cold spring waters of Rock Creek.Located four miles north and a mile east of Parks, this quaint SRA has primitive camping at roughly 43 non-pad sites, one vault toilet and five primitive restrooms. A new water well is scheduled for completion this summer. The area offers numerous picnic tables and grills for day use and camping.When the lake opened in 1935, it was an 80-acre body of water that was the deepest lake in the state at the time. Back then the lake was stocked with bass, trout, crappies and bullheads.Currently, the lake’s fishery is on the rebound after going through a renovation.In 2019, fish surveys showed significant declines in abundance and growth of largemouth bass and other sport fish due to the high numbers of gizzard shad in the lake. In 2020, the lake underwent a fish renovation to improve water quality and sportfish potential by eliminating the shad. Sport fish were salvaged from the lake before rotenone was applied to remove undesirable fish. In an effort to prevent accidental introduction of gizzard shad again, a “no live baitfish” regulation now is in place.

The lake was restocked last fall with largemouth bass, black crappie and yellow perch. Adult redear sunfish, adult largemouth bass and channel catfish are planned to be stocked this year. Rainbow and tiger trout will not be stocked into the lake until spring of 2022 to allow the stocked fish to gain a good foothold.Typically, Rock Creek is one of Nebraska’s great trout fisheries and is known for holding some of the biggest largemouth bass around. Sean Farrier, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission fisheries biologist for the lake, is confident the lake will return as a trophy fishery.“About year three after a renovation, the fish will take off, and we’ll be seeing some of those bigger fish again,” he said.Boats can launch from the boat ramp and dock that is visible when you enter the SRA. All boats are allowed at Rock Creek, and it’s not uncommon to see large bass boats to smaller jon boats and kayaks on the no-wake lake.Whether it’s fishing, camping, hiking or a quiet place to relax, consider Rock Creek SRA this summer.

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An aerial photo shows Rock Creek Lake State Recreation Area in Dundy County.

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