Lake Wanahoo, Nebraska, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Nebraska - Metro -

Also known as:  Wanahoo Reservoir

The newest lake in Nebraska’s Metro Region, Lake Wanahoo will officially greet visitors on April 28, 2012. This attractive gem is eagerly anticipated as one of the best fishing and recreation lakes in this part of Nebraska. And, although not publicly seen yet, the Lake Wanahoo Dam has been hard at work behind the scenes. Already it has prevented what would have predictably been catastrophic flooding had the dam not held back flood-stage waters on Sand Creek during 2011.

Although touted for the benefits of wetland restoration, great fishing, camping opportunities and nature observation, Lake Wanahoo is part of a much larger project along Sand Creek. A series of seven proposed dams upstream will maintain more equitable water levels to prevent flooding and stabilize water flow. The Lake Wanahoo reservoir forms the 662-acre lake and a large new wetland to promte wildlife habitat and filter sediments. The nearby City of Wahoo, just a mile to the south, has often suffered flooding due to the confluence of Sand Creek, Wahoo Creek and Cottonwood Creek just south of the town. Containing the excess water during spring thaw and periods of heavy rainfall will benefit not only Wahoo, but the nearby towns of Ithaca and Ashland. Because the new lake is only 30 miles from the large population centers of both Omaha and Lincoln, Lake Wanahoo expects plenty of visitors.

A collaborative project of the Lower Platte North Nebraska Resources District, City of Wahoo, Saunders County, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and several other agencies and interested parties, the construction of the massive project was undertaken by the USACE to prepare the reservoir base and build the dam. The project was carefully planned to include lake bottom structure that would support fish habitat. It includes a mid-lake breakwater structure below a 110-foot pedestrian bridge to prevent shoreline erosion.

Although a major highway alteration project is planned to cross the Lake Wanahoo Dam, a temporary road is already in place. The USACE is completing work on a campground facility that will include space for both tent and RV camping and boat launch facilities. A day use area will be developed with picnic shelters, volleyball courts and hiking/biking trails. Under discussion is the possibility of constructing a shooting range and youth education center at the site. A wildlife management area is planned for the northeast side of the lake, which may be open for upland game and waterfowl hunting in season. Current plans call for any hunting program to be an adult/youth mentoring program only. When completed, the site will encompass 1600 acres, much of which will become natural habitat for wildlife.

Lake Wanahoo has recently filled completely. Black crappie, blue catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and northern pike already have been stocked. Live bait fish will not be permitted to prevent the introduction of invasive species. The entire lake will be a no-wake zone, and no powerboats or personal watercraft will be permitted. Representatives from the Lower Platte North Nebraska Resources District have been quoted as saying, “The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has spent $1.4 million to enhance the fishery, creating deep water areas, rock mounds and other structures. Many trees were left to create underwater habitat. From the top of the dam, they look like a submerged forest.” Is it any wonder anglers are so anxious to try out the new lake? Fishing experts warn that the northern pike fishery probably will not last a great many years as area lakes don’t have the environment that is most conducive to pike. Still, it will be great fun trying to catch them as long as it lasts. The other species will grow over a period of years to replace them.

Even before officially opening, bird watching groups in the area are getting reports of sightings of migratory songbirds at Lake Wanahoo. The northern part of the lake is already home to deer, herons and swallows which have built mud nests under the pedestrian bridge. Cottonwoods and other trees are being left standing to enhance the fishery. The additional wetlands will help to replace those lost in the Todd Valley over the years, welcoming back wildlife that have left the area due to lost habitat. The City of Wahoo is looking forward to the addition of Lake Wanahoo to their already extensive system of local trails and may untimately operate the campground areas.

Wahoo plans to have everything visiting campers will need in the way of supplies, shopping and services. The city already holds a community pool and several parks. The Saunders County Museum and Park, as part of the Saunders County Historical Society, sponsors the 1860-70’s Wauhoo Plowboy Vintage Base Ball Club, with a ‘traveling team’ that plays other towns locally. Dressed in period dress, the Wauhoo Plowboy Vintage Base Ball team calls their games 80% historical & 20% performance. The City of Wahoo offers a full schedule of activites, to the delight of residents and visitors alike. Some are the Wahoo Rodeo, Saunders County Fair, Polka Fests, 3-on-3 Basketball Jam, Wahoo Country Music Show, Coin Show, Swap Meet, Wahoops, downtown Holiday Lighting & Parade, and Christmas on the Prairie.

If visitors to Lake Wanahoo should ever run out of activities in Wahoo, both Omaha and Lincoln offer a variety of cultural and sports venues to suit everyone in the family. Art galleries, museums, performance theaters and zoos are all located within the 30-mile radius. Wahoo has several hotels located within a mile of Lake Wanahoo. Towns in the area offer a number of small motels, campgrounds and the occasional bed-and-breakfast. Real estate is available but not directly on the lake. As all planning is not yet finalized, it is unclear whether any development will be permitted close to the shoreline, but there is property in the vicinity available for sale. All that is missing are the lakelubbers. And after April 1st, they’ll be here, too. Won’t you be one of them?

* All statistics are estimates as lake mapping is not yet complete and may change.

Things to do at Lake Wanahoo

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Wanahoo

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Blue Catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Lake Wanahoo Photo Gallery

Lake Wanahoo Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Enginers

Surface Area: 662 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,219 feet

Maximum Depth: 40 feet

Water Volume: 7,151 acre-feet

Completion Year: 2010

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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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