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Branched Oak Lake, part of the Branched Oak State Recreation Area, is conveniently located northwest of Lincoln, Nebraska's state capital. Branched Oak Lake is the largest lake in the Army Corps of Engineers' Salt Valley Project and is a popular vacation destination. Recreational activities include swimming, hunting, fishing, water skiing, boating, camping, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking and more.
Branched Oak Lake, also known as Dam Site #18, was created by impounding Salt Creek. Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1958, Branched Oak Lake was completed in 1967 by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is one of 10 lakes in the Salt Creek and Tributaries Flood Control Project, known as the Salt Valley Lakes by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC). The project covers a total of 11,239 acres, and 4,289 of these acres are covered by water. Branched Oak Lake's 1,800 acres are leased by the Corps of Engineers to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Branched Oak State Recreation Area (SRA) offers incredible campgrounds with more than 300 campsites, most with electrical hook-ups. Camping is permitted in nine public use areas around the lake. Facilities include heated shower buildings, fish cleaning stations, and trailer dump stations. Both the Middle Oak Creek Campground and the South Shore Campground offer hard-surfaced campsites with electrical hookups as well as non-electrical tent sites. The South Shore Campground also provides day use areas for picnickers and boaters who do not need a boat ramp. A State Park Permit is required for entry. Visitors enjoy two swimming beaches at Branched Oak Lake (Liebers Point and north shore) with roped-off swimming areas. There are no lifeguards so visitors must swim at their own risk.
Branched Oak Lake offers an excellent trail system, including a Wildflower Nature Trail, Mountain Bike Trail, and Horse Trails. Branched Oak Lake even has an 800-acre Dog Trial Area, where championship dog trials are held each year.
Fishing and hunting are both popular at Branched Oak Lake. Anglers will find walleye, northern pike, crappie, channel and flathead catfish, bullhead, bluegill, white perch and largemouth bass. Jetties have been placed around the lake to offer excellent fishing for crappie and wipers. Branch Oak Lake offers shoreline trapping for fur-harvesters, and woods and grassland areas for hunting. Animals around the lake include, quail, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, and deer. Hunters and trappers are not permitted within 100 yards of the public use areas.
Plan your trip soon to Branched Oak Lake where you can indulge in your favorite recreational pleasures.
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