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Everyone knows the song about "a home where the deer and the antelope play." For the people who live around the Great Plains Reservoirs, that home is a reality. Neenoshe Reservoir is the largest of the reservoirs in the group and a great place to boat fish or watch birds and wildlife.
All the Great Plains Reservoirs are natural-basin reservoirs also known as modified playa lakes. Playa is Spanish for beach and describes over 25,000 shallow lakes, some only a foot deep, that dot the Southern Great Plains. Playa lakes are shallow depressions usually with clay and compacted sediments on the bottom. Their water levels fluctuate seasonally, and they have historically provided mini-oasis for the native peoples of the short grass prairie. In recent times playa lakes have been used to store water including flood water for irrigation.
Fed by the Amity Canal from the Arkansas River, the Great Plains Reservoirs are one of the most extensive projects of its kind in the west for storing flood water for irrigation. Built and modified by the Great Plains Water Company, the reservoirs were used for irrigation for the first time in 1990. Nee Noshe, which is Cheyenne for Standing Water, is one of four reservoirs in the system including Neesopah, Neegronda, and Neeskah. With the exception of Neeskah all the reservoirs are networked together with a system of canals and gates.
In addition to providing valuable irrigation water, Neenoshe is a great place to fish. Stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), the reservoir is home to wiper, saugeye, crappie, channel catfish, large mouth bass, and bullhead. Annually Neenoshe along with Neegronda hosts walleye and bass tournaments. Anglers will find plenty to challenge them on this warm water lake.
Note: Water levels have declined steadily over the past decade, as irrigation companies have stored water in other reservoirs. Once considered to be one of the best warm water fisheries in Colorado, game fish numbers have declined sharply in Neenoshe Reservoir. Colorado DOW strategies will focus on rebuilding this fishery.
There is boating on Neenoshe including sailing, as well as windsurfing and waterskiing. Public boat ramps are available, but there are not any marinas around the reservoir and fuel must be carried in. Primitive camping is allowed, and there is a lot of water fun to be had on this quiet lake.
Nine miles south of Eads in Kiowa County, all the Great Plains Reservoirs are part of the Queens State Wildlife Area. There is excellent hunting in the area for deer, antelope, rabbit, pheasant, and other small game and waterfowl. Visitors that prefer to hunt with a camera can shoot the large flocks of snow geese or bald and golden eagles. Snowy, mountain, and piping plovers also make their homes at Neenoshe.
Precious water teaming with fish and surrounded by golden prairie and wildlife not pressured by encroaching civilization makes Neenoshe and the Great Plains Reservoirs a great place to visit.
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