Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 218
Number of Sites with Electric: 28
Located in a narrow valley of the Snake River, 26 miles southwest of Valentine, Merritt Dam was completed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in May 1964. The dam is a homogenous, rolled-earth, filed structure, 108 feet high with a crest length of 3,222 feet. It is the first Bureau dam to have soil cement surfacing instead of traditional rock rip-rap protection. The only similar dam in Nebraska is the Calamus Dam completed in 1986 near Burwell.
Merritt Reservoir offers some of Nebraska's premiere 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 irrigation season. Walleye, crappie and white bass have long been the favorite choices of anglers, though lunker-size catfish have recently been "discovered" in the Snake River arm.Ready access to the lake is available at public boat ramps in the Powder Horn, Main, Beed's Landing and Snake River areas. Anglers will particularly enjoy the modern fish cleaning stations at the Beed's Landing and Main areas.
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