Fishing

Tips & Tricks

We want to help you fish like the
pros!

Steve has put together a detailed guide of
tips for some of his most sought after fish-
White Bass, Wiper, and Walleye.
Click here for our fishing tips!

Learn to use some of our favorite
lures and rigs!

Brush up on how to use some of these
lures and rigs to catch the most fish.
Learn to fish Lytle Secret Tail Spinner Learn to fish ProMinnow Swimbaits Learn to fish with a dropshot rig

Looking for a general guide to everything fishing? The Nebraska Game & Parks Commission has got you covered. Their Going Fishing Guide covers everything from equipment and tackle, knot tying and casting techniques, tips on fishing from shore, fish identification, and regulations. Click here to view the Going Fishing Guide.

Common Fish Species of Nebraska

Largemouth Bass
species-bass-borderFamily: Sunfish
Range: Statewide
It is an important predator, especially in small waters, and thrives in warm, moderately clear waters having little or no current. Young primarily feed on small crustaceans (mostly water fleas), insects, and small fish; whereas, adults primarily feed on fish, crayfish, and large insects, along with almost any other animal that swims or falls into the water.
 
White Bass
Family: Temperate Bass
Range: Most common in Platte and Republican river systems and reservoirs.
They often feed near the surface where prey fish, small crustaceans, and aquatic insects concentrate. Gizzard shad are the staple food item for adults. White bass school together and move rapidly about in pursuit of small fish which will leap from the water to avoid capture during a feeding frenzy.
 
Smallmouth Bass
Family: Sunfish
Range: Statewide, most common in upper Missouri River, Lake McConaughy, and Tri-County canal system.
Young primarily eat aquatic insects and their larvae along with small fish. Crayfish are an important food item for adults as well as fish. Has little tolerance for siltation and turbidity and thrives in streams with rock or gravel bottoms and riffles.
Wiper
Family: Temperate Bass
Range: Stocked in select reservoirs statewide.
The wiper is a hybrid between white bass and striped bass. I tis similar to the white bass but differs by having prominent, broken and unbroken horizontal lines along the sides and usually 2 tooth patches on base of tongue. Its feeding habits and angler fishing tactics are similar to those for white bass.
 
Walleye
Family: Perch
Range: Statewide
Walleye are primarily nocturnal predators and largely feed on fish but will also eat insects and crustaceans. Their opaque, luminous eyes are very efficient at gathering available light as they move onto flats or shoal areas in pursuit of prey.
Northern Pike
Family: Pike
Range: Statewide
It prowls vegetated areas in search of food (primarily fish) – providing an important role in regulating and maintaining population balance of various prey fish species. Does best in Sandhills lakes.
   
Channel Catfish
Family: Catfish
Range: Statewide
Primarily bottom-feeder, consuming living or dead items. Diet is varied and includes fish, crayfish, insects, mollusks, and plant material. Avoid the hard spines (one in the dorsal fin and one in each pectoral fin) that can inflict a puncture wound if the fish is mishandled.
Flathead Catfish
Family: Catfish
Range: Eastern and southwestern Nebraska.
Primarily a nocturnal predator, feeding at or near the bottom – rarely eats dead or decaying matter. Smaller flatheads mostly eat aquatic insects while larger flatheads primarily consume fish and crayfish. Avoid the hard spines on this catfish as well.
   
Crappie
Family: Sunfish
Range: Statewide
White Crappie - Primarily feeds on small fish, but will also eat aquatic insects and large zooplankton. Black Crappie - Aquatic insects and large zooplankton compose a larger portion of diet of black crappie than white crappie.
Bluegill
Family: Sunfish
Range: Statewide
Insects are the predominate food item, often captured at the surface of the water, followed by small crustaceans, small fish, and snails; sometimes algae if animal food is scarce. Nests are close together in shallow water during spawn.
 
Yellow Perch
Family: Perch
Range: Prefers cool water; most common in Sandhills and Panhandle lakes – both natural and man-made. Small crustaceans, insects, and fish make up the bulk of the diet. A schooling fish that does best in shallow, well-vegetated lakes, but can become stunted if predation is insufficient.
Drum
Family: Drum
Range: Statewide, rare in Panhandle and Sandhills.
Primarily a bottom-feeder; eating mostly clams, snails, and crayfish, along with immature aquatic insects and small fish. The flattened, relatively large throat-teeth are used to crush mollusk shells.

 

*Reference: Nebraska Game & Parks

Did you know?

Nebraska is home to more than 100 species of fish, 78 of which are presumed to be native.

It is important to have a basic ability to identify the variety of fish species found in Nebraska because of fishing regulations for different species.

If you make an outstanding catch, it may qualify for a Game and Parks Commission Master Angler Award.

Each year thousands of Nebraska anglers qualify as Master Anglers by catching trophy-size fish. Steve's clients often catch many award winning fish each year. Click here to see award qualifications.

More than 70 species of fish have been recognized as state records in Nebraska.

State records have been caught by rod and reel or taken by bowfishing, underwater spearfishing or surface spearfishing. Compare your biggest catches to the list and then review the rules because you never know when you might catch the next state record!

*Reference: Nebraska Game & Parks