Nebraska anglers still have plenty of time to enter the Midwest Walleye Challenge and be eligible for prizes, as well as to gather data that biologists can use to help manage walleye populations.

Anglers in 13 states and one Canadian province are participating by entering the waters in which they pursue walleyes and photographing fish they catch. 

The collection of angler catch data during the Nebraska challenge, which runs through June 30, can help the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission learn more about Nebraska walleye fisheries. In the process, Nebraska anglers can see how their walleye fisheries compare to others in the Midwest.

So far, Nebraska anglers have entered 124 fish caught from 34 different water bodies. Most popular water bodies have been Lake McConaughy, Elwood Reservoir, Tri-County Canal, and Zorinsky Lake. Walleyes up to 30 inches have been entered by Nebraska anglers, among the largest entered by any state or province.

Weekly prizes have been awarded to several Nebraska participants.

Anglers can choose to be part of the free prize pool or, with a $25 entry, compete for cash prizes.

Go to and click on “Find Events to Join” to learn more.

Stay safe paddling with these top tips

Nothing brings out paddlers like warm temperatures and fresh spring air.

Those enjoying Nebraska’s water bodies and water trails through May are urged to be cautious as air temperatures are rising, but the water is still cold and can be dangerous.

To stay safe, follow these Nebraska Game and Parks safety tips for paddlers:

  • There’s safety in numbers, so paddle with a friend or friends.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return home.
  • Watch the weather forecast; it can change quickly.
  • Be prepared; wear appropriate clothing for the water temperature.
  • Keep your phone and other essential supplies, such as a map and first-aid kit, in a waterproof case or bag. Attach it to your vessel in case you capsize.
  • Beware when paddling rising waters where otherwise visible obstacles may be hidden.
  • Know your physical limits and skill level, and don’t overdo it.
  • Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water instead.

Game and Parks also reminds paddlers that every kayak or canoe on the state’s waters must have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket of suitable size and readily accessible for each person on board. Each child on board age 12 and under must wear a properly sized lifejacket, as do paddleboard users of all ages.

For information on Nebraska water trails or to report your experience of a recent trip, visit; search “water trails.”

Indian Cave ends trail rides, makes way for shooting range

Wrangler-guided horseback trail rides at Indian Cave State Park in southeast Nebraska will be discontinued beginning with the 2024 season, while alternative recreational opportunities are developed.

The decision was based on the program’s lack of financial sustainability and staffing shortages. The rising costs of horses and corresponding care, including feed, veterinarian supplies, farrier work and fencing materials, have outpaced the declining number of riders each season and the subsequent revenues they bring in. Finding adequate staff with equestrian experience also is a challenge.

The park’s horses will be transferred to other state parks areas that offer guided trail rides to the public and will be working members of those trail ride teams. Indian Cave’s 16 miles of equestrian trails, as well as its equestrian campground, will continue to be maintained for guests who travel with their own horses.

“We understand this activity has been enjoyed by our visitors for many years, and we know change can be hard,” said Kevin Holliday, state parks Southeast Regional Superintendent. “But we look forward to sharing new opportunities with park guests at Indian Cave, while maintaining other old favorites.”

The park, known for its cave featuring prehistoric Native American petroglyphs, its seasonal events, iconic trees and wildlife, also offers shooting sports, such as an outdoor archery range and black powder demonstrations. The park will build upon these popular programs with plans to add an indoor archery range and air gun shooting gallery, complete with moving targets, for guests to enjoy.

The new shooting facility will be built with federal grant funding and will utilize the existing horse barn and adjacent parking lot. Once fully developed, the building will be capable of hosting hunter education classes and other outdoor educational opportunities. Plans call for development of the shooting facility to begin later this year.

For those seeking equestrian opportunities, trail rides — offered either by Nebraska Game and Parks or by contracted vendors — still will be offered at Chadron, Eugene T. Mahoney, Fort Robinson, Niobrara, Platte River and Ponca state parks and at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.

Find additional outdoor recreation opportunities at