Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
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Merritt Reservoir, NE

Status: Open year round.
Max reservation window: Fri Apr 24 2015
188 site(s) found

Description

Situated in a narrow, picturesque valley of the Snake River, Merritt Reservoir is 26 miles southeast of Valentine in Nebraska's unique Sandhills. Fishing & Boating: Merritt offers some of Nebraska's premier fishing. It is a deep lake with excellent inflow from the Snake River and Boardman Creek. Consequently, the reservoir is well insulated against excessive drawdown during the irrigation season.

Walleye, crappie and white bass have long been the favorites with anglers here, although lunker catfish have recently been discovered in the Snake River arm. Fishermen also like the addition of modern fish cleaning stations at Merritt.

Ready access to the lake is available at five public boat ramps at the Powder Horn, Main Cedar Bay, Beed's Landing and Snake River area. Motorboat travel through the island channel in the Powder Horn Arm is one-way from north to south. In the Boardman Creek, Powder Horn Arm and Snake Arm areas, no one may operate or manipulate water skis, surfboards, or similar devices and the speed of all vessels must be reduced.

Camping and Picnicking: For campers, primitive and/or modern overnight facilities are available at all areas on this scenic reservoir. A dump station is located at the Main Area, southeast of the dam. There are 28 electric sites, and 18 standard sites without electricity in Cedar Bay Campground and 20 electric sites and 11 standard campsites without electricity in Beed’s Landing. There are 140 tent sites found throughout the lake, over 200 picnic tables and 8 picnic shelters. Other facilities include drinking water, fire grates and grills, one modern restroom with an ADA accessible coin operated shower as well as several vault toilets.

Hunting: Hunting is permitted, in season at Merritt Reservoir beginning the day after Labor Day. Sharp-tail’s and prairie grouse are prime upland species in the Sandhills. Both whitetails and mule deer along with wild turkey offer good action here. There is some excellent waterfowl hunting on the lake and on the sandhill lakes in the area.

Area Concession: Merritt Dam Trading Post, the area concession, is located at the east end of the dam. Facilities there include permits, fee camping with RV hookups, modern cabins, hunting and fishing guide service, boat and pontoon rentals, groceries, bait tackle, ice, fish freezing and fuel. Area Attractions: Merritt lies in the heart of Nebraska's unique Sandhills. Smith Falls State Park, 3 miles west of Sparks, is the site of the state's tallest waterfall and some unique flora and geology. The state's other major waterfall, Snake Falls, is just 3 miles north of Merritt. McKelvie National Forest lies immediately to the north with its thousands of acres of grassy Sandhills and grouse hunting. Other sites include nearby Valentine National Migratory Bird Refuge, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife and Valentine State Fish Hatchery. The drive along U.S. 20 across northern Nebraska is one of the most scenic in the region.

Geography:

Situated in a narrow, picturesque valley of the Snake River, Merritt Reservoir is 26 miles southeast of Valentine in Nebraska's unique Sandhills.

Recreation:

Camping, fishing, boating, skiing, picnicking and hunting to name a few activities one can enjoy at Merritt Reservoir. Merritt lies in the heart of Nebraska's unique Sandhills. Smith Falls State Park, the site of the state's tallest waterfall and the Scenic Niobrara River trail providing excellent canoeing, kayaking and tubing. McKelvie National Forest lies immediately to north, with its thousands of acres of grassy Sandhills and grouse hunting. Other sites include nearby Valentine National Migratory Bird Refuge, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife and Valentine State Fish Hatchery. The drive along U.S. 20 across northern Nebraska is one of the most scenic in the region.

Facilities:

Merritt Reservoir has a shower building in the Cedar Bay Campground Area, modern camping with electrical campsites, trailer dump station, boat access, fish cleaning stations, day use facilities also include picnic tables and grills. Merritt Trading post is the lake's concession. Concession provides camp necessities, hunt/fish licenses and park entry permits, boat rental and fuel available.

Nearby Attractions:

Smith Falls State Park, the site of the state's tallest waterfall and the Scenic Niobrara River trail providing excellent canoeing, kayaking and tubing. Niobrara River Canoe/Kayak & Tube outfitters available in Valentine. McKelvie National Forest lies immediately to north, with its thousands of acres of grassy Sand hills and grouse hunting. Other sites include nearby Valentine National Migratory Bird Refuge, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and Valentine State Fish Hatchery. The drive along U.S. 20 across northern Nebraska is one of the most scenic in the region.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boat Rental
  • Camping, Improved Site
  • Comfort Station
  • Dump Station
  • Electric Hook Ups
  • Fire Rings
  • Fish Cleaning Station
  • Gas/ Groceries
  • Handicap Access
  • Mobile Food Service
  • Park Entrance Fee
  • Parking
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Picnic Tables
  • Retail , Bait & Tackle
  • Showers
  • Water
  • Water Drinking
Alerts and Important Information
Merritt Reservoir was built for irrigation by the Bureau of Reclamation and expereinces water fluctations. Boaters should be causious of water levels.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
42.0, -100.88583
42°0'0"N, 100°53'9"W

Location for Merritt Reservoir is 28 miles south of Valentine on Highway 97. Or 47 miles north of Mullen on Highway 97.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Merritt Reservoir
Valentine Maintenance Shop, 420 First Street
Valentine NE 69201

Phone Number:

Information: (402) 376-3320