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Sutherland Reservoir is 3,017-acre lake located just south of the town of Sutherland, Nebraska. Located in the Prairie Lakes tourism region, the lake is part of the Nebraska Public Power District's (NPPD) hydropower system, and supplies water to the Gerald Gentleman Power Plant. The Sutherland State Recreation Area, operated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPG), includes the lake and 37 acres of wilderness with three public access areas. The recreation area offers visitors a great spot for camping, boating, fishing, and swimming.
The Sutherland Reservoir dam was constructed between 1933 and 1935 as part of an irrigation storage and hydroelectric system. Although still used for hydropower, the lake is more popular as a recreational area. Camping is encouraged and there many campsites located around the lake. The north side of Sutherland Reservoir is a private camping area and has electrical hook-ups for RV owners.
There is one beach on the Sutherland Reservoir which is well used by swimmers and sun bathers in the summer months. Motorized craft are welcome on the lake for a leisurely cruise, an afternoon of fishing or an overnight stay. There are several boat launches that will get your out on the water and closer to record size fish. Fish in the lake include channel catfish, rainbow trout, striped bass, walleye, white bass, and yellow perch. From boat or shore, angling enthusiasts will enjoy the challenge of casting for wily native sport fish. A handicapped fishing area is located near the canal inlet. The average depth of the lake is 25 feet with certain spots reaching to 60 feet. Ice fisherman venturing out on the lake in the winter months need to be especially careful. Heated water discharged from the hydroelectric power plant can cause thin ice areas.
Bird watchers will be thrilled with the number of wintering American Bald Eagles that use Sutherland Reservoir as a feeding area. NPPD maintains a protection program for the eagles. A wide variety of waterfowl to include geese, ducks and great blue herons are attracted to the reservoir's open water and surrounding fertile croplands. Each spring, thousands of Sandhills cranes make a stop at Sutherland Reservoir and other areas lakes on their way to their nesting grounds. Crane watching is a favorite past time for locals and visitors alike.
Other activities around Sutherland Reservoir include seasonal hunting in designated wildlife management areas, hiking along woodland trails, a nine hole golf course for both beginners and seasoned golfers, and trap shooting ranges.
The town of Southerland, located north of Sutherland Reservoir has a number of shops, restaurants, and stores if you need to stock up on supplies. 20 miles east in the town of North Platte, you'll find the historical home of Buffalo Bill Cody and the remains of the Oregon trail used by settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners, and business men migrating to the Oregon Territory to start new farms, lives, and businesses.
From water skiing, swimming and boating, to hunting, fishing and camping, Sutherland Reservoir allows for year-round outdoor fun and adventure.
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