PANHANDLE PASSAGES WITH JUSTIN HAAG – WHAT’S UP AT WHITNEY?

Posted 11 months ago

By Corey Sorenson

Photo courtesy of Justin Haag and NEBRASKAland Magazine

Photo courtesy of Justin Haag and NEBRASKAland Magazine

One thing I like is the sight of a fish coming over the side of a boat.

That’s just one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed a boat ride Thursday with Al Hanson and Joe Rydell, fisheries biologists for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s northwestern district. Hanson, district supervisor, and Rydell were collecting data from the frame nets they had set in Whitney Lake the previous day, a process they use to keep tabs on fish populations at bodies of water throughout the region.

I especially wanted to tag along at Whitney because, similar to other fishermen in the region, I’ve been curious about the health of the lake’s fish population after its water level reached an incredible low in 2012. The effects of heat and drought were certainly apparent as there was no water covering a large portion of the lake’s 900 acres after irrigation season last year. Whether the fish were trapped in the shallows to be a prime target for predators or lived to face competition for a diminished food source, the situation has surely had some consequences from an angling perspective.

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Justin Haag of Chadron is a public information officer for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and regional editor for NEBRASKAland magazine. He can be reached at justin.haag@nebraska.gov or 308-430-8515.