Calamus Fish Hatchery

Located just below the Virginia Smith Dam at Calamus Reservoir, the Calamus State Fish Hatchery is a state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar facility. For more than a century, demand for fish has exceeded the natural supply. The state’s original fish hatchery opened in South Bend in 1879. Today, Nebraska has five hatcheries. The Calamus facility has nearly twice the water supply of the other four. It has 51 ponds, 24 raceways and a modern hatch house, and can raise both cold water and warm water species. The vistitors area is open to the public daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except holidays. You’ll need to schedule group tours 48 hours in advance. Admission is free, and the facility is handicapped accessible. 308-346-4226.

Fishing & Boating

Any fishing and/or boating enthusiast will enjoy the opportunities available at the Calamus Reservoir SRA. Fisherman are encouraged to try their real at the walleye, white bass, wipers (a hybrid of white and striped bass), channel catfish, carp, drum, crappie or any of the other fish in the Calamus Reservoir SRA. The Calamus Reservoir offers 5,123-acres of wetland for boaters and fishermen alike. Five boat ramps are open from spring to fall. Speeds in excess of five miles per hour are prohibited in the fishing areas of the lake. Two fish-cleaning stations are available. Nearby Gracie Creek Pond is stocked with rainbow trout, and has a handicapped-accessible fish dock. Fisherman and boaters are also encouraged to explore the opportunities at other area ponds including Ladybird Lake and the city park pond.


The Burwell area offers many opportunities for the hunting enthusiast. Ninety percent of the land around the Calamus Reservoir SRA is public property and open for hunting during the hunting season. The Burwell area also has a number of private outfitters which provide guided hunting tours. Wildlife hunted in the Burwell area includes coyotes, deer, dove, duck, geese, grouse, pheasants, quail, rabbit and turkey. For additional information on Nebraska’s hunting season, Nebraska’s hunting guides or hunting permits contact the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission at 402-471-0641.

Bird Watching

Visit our bird watching paradise by enjoying over 400 different species in the Nebraska heartland.  Bird watching while plentiful year round reaches its peak each spring with the ritual dance of the native prairie chickens.

Horeseback Riding

Try your hand at horseback riding with our many outfitters. Take an evening ride through the sandhills while enjoying the sunset or rise early to view the sunrise while on horseback.