Calamus Reservoir, Nebraska, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Nebraska - Sandhills -

Located in central Nebraska, the Calamus Reservoir is a wonderful place to relax, appreciate the beauty of nature, and enjoy some fun on the water. The reservoir was built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by constructing a dam across the Calamus River. The dam, which was completed in 1986, was originally called the Calamus Dam, but the name was changed to Virginia Smith Dam in honor of Virginia Dodd Smith, one of Nebraska’s state representatives. She served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1991 and worked hard to make positive changes for her state. The operation of Virginia Smith Dam is controlled by the Twin Loups Reclamation and Irrigation District. The 5,124-acre Calamus Reservoir is used for irrigation, causing the level of the lake to fluctuate as the lake’s water is distributed to the surrounding area.

Calamus Reservoir is a great place to enjoy many types of outdoor recreation. It’s a popular lake for fishing, with a variety of fishing tournaments held there each year. Some of the species of fish that can be caught in the lake include bass, channel catfish, walleye, northern pike, perch, and wipers. Calamus State Fish Hatchery is below the dam, and those interested in learning about fish production can take a tour of the hatchery. It is operated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and produces millions of trout, muskie, walleye, and other fish species each year.

Many different water sports can be enjoyed on Calamus Reservoir. It is a great place for boaters; there are several boat ramps from which to gain access to the lake, and all types of boats are permitted. However, the upper part of the lake is restricted to boats going less than five miles per hour. Some of the many ways to enjoy the pleasures of Calamus Reservoir are by gliding through the water on a sailboat, or splashing through the waves on water skiis. Windsurfers also enjoy this lake, and the “Windsurfing Rodeo” is an exciting surfing event held on Calamus Reservoir each year.

Calamus Reservoir is part of the 11,720-acre Calamus State Recreation Area. The recreation area is well set up to accommodate all who want to stay and enjoy the area, with a visitor center and a variety of camp sites, both modern and primitive. There are also many other amenities available – picnic tables for a relaxing outdoor meal, ramps for boaters to use, and sandy beaches for a refreshing swim.

Those who appreciate nature will find much to love about Calamus Reservoir and the surrounding area. Hiking and birdwatching are two of the activities enjoyed in the area. Birdwatchers will enjoy keeping their eyes peeled for the many different species of birds that make their home on and around the lake. Some of the birds in the area include pelicans, herons, and cormorants; other birds such as prairie chickens and grouse are also common. And wintertime brings the chance of seeing a majestic bald eagle gliding over the lake.

Tucked in the heart of this Midwestern state, Calamus Reservoir is the perfect place to stop and enjoy some fun in the great outdoors.

Things to do at Calamus Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Birding

Fish species found at Calamus Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Calamus Reservoir Photo Gallery

  • PENTAX Image

Calamus Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Twin Loups Reclamation and Irrigation District

Surface Area: 5,124 acres

Shoreline Length: 31 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,244 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 2,253 feet

Average Depth: 25 feet

Water Volume: 127,400 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1962

Drainage Area: 147 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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