The Johnson Lake Trail Project is working toward completion of a trail that will encircle the lake. Over 7.6 miles of concrete trail provides opportunity for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous workout. The trail is open to walkers, runners, bikers, skaters, cross country skiers, and all forms of non-motorized transportation.
The trail features 15 rest areas, including two gazebos and 7 parking areas. The trail connects other lake attractions including two State Recreation Areas, four restaurants, three lodging establishments, and several water stops. The trail wanders through a variety of settings, from parks, to meadows, to lakeside, to tree groves, to gardens, to bridges, to agricultural fields, and through an archway. If you come for a day, be sure to bring your camera. You can ride around the lake in one hour, but may want to slow down and take the day to enjoy all that is offered.
For more information on the Johnson Lake Trail visit the trail website.
Below are some photos showing the work being done on a section of the trail in November of 2013.
Play Hard & Be Safe
Water Fun...Johnson Lake
BOATING SAFETY CHECK-LIST
1. Check weather, wind direction and strength, have suitable clothing.
2. Tell someone when you plan to return.
3. Equipment; Enough life jackets for each person in your boat, fire extinguisher, throw cushion, anchor, bail bucket, line (rope), lights, oar, cell phone, sun glasses, sun screen, towels and cooler.
4. Check fuel, tire pressure, wheel bearings, boat key on floatable key chain, and money.
5. Always check the boat plug.
6. Know the water depth, any hazards; protect the bottom of your boat and your prop.
7. Know the people in your boat. Do they swim?
8. Check for registration, insurance, properly licensed, boat numbers, emergency numbers in the boat, first aid kit, sun block, and oar.
9. Understand boating laws (distances from shore, distance from other boaters, right of way, no wake zone, etc.)
10. Avoid alcohol consumption and do not operate any water craft if you have been drinking.
You are now an Ambassador of Fun on Johnson Lake. How much fun you have depends on how well you plan your visit!
For details on Boat Safety Classes see Events Calendar.
Hook, Line & Sinker
Species of game fish in the lake include white bass, walleye, crappie, wipers, channel catfish, flathead catfish, striped bass, largemouth bass, northern pike and perch.
The lake is best known for the white bass and walleye fishing, yielding hundreds of "Master Angler" fish over the years. The best time of the year to catch white bass is during spawning from late April to mid May. After spawning is over, white bass are most frequently found along the shoreline and near the outlet canal on the northeast side of the lake. From midsummer to late September, the white bass move into deeper water in pursuit of shad and other small fish.
Walleye fishing is at its best in the spring when they spawn near the rocks on the dam's face. In late May and June walleye can be found on the flats and areas where the lake's bottom drops off into deeper water.
Nebraska Games & Parks Permits Are Required. Permits may be purchased on-line or at the Game and Parks Campground Office, Portside Express, and LakeShore Marina Bar & Grille.
Two campgrounds, with both primitive and modern camping facilities, provide access to day-use and overnight visitors.
At the Main Area on the southeast end of the lake, the Commission operates a campground with gravel pads, complete with electrical hookups.
There are also showers, restrooms, a dump station and an up-to-date fish cleaning station. The swimming beach is nearby.
Across the lake, the South Side Inlet Area offers more gravel camping pads with electrical hookups and modern restrooms. The fishing pier here is readily accessible to the handicapped. This area also has a boat ramp and fish-cleaning station. The North Side Inlet Area is available for primitive camping and has another handicapped accessible fishing pier, drinking water and vault toilets.
Park Entry Permits Are Required.
To make campsite reservations, visit the Nebraska Games and Parks Website or call 402-471-1414
Go Wild In The Wild
Eagle Viewing...Johnson Lake
Each year, bald eagles travel to areas along the Platte River from as far away as Canada, Alaska and the Great Lakes states to find a wintering area with an abundant food supply.
They have become winter residents of wooded areas adjacent to the Platte and reservoirs, the supply canal and area below Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District hydro plants.
Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District, in cooperation with area Chamber of Commerce, makes the J-2 plant available for eagle viewing during the winter months. Schedules and details can be accessed through the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District website.
UPDATE! CENTRAL'S EAGLE-VIEWING FACILITIES WILL NOT BE OPEN THIS WINTER (2020-2021) DUE TO COVID.
Enjoy this Johnson Lake Eagles video (with sound on). Video was produced February 27, 2021 and shared with permission of the photographer.
Johnson Lake has been referred to as Nebraska's best-kept secret partly due to the pure enjoyment of lakeside living, but also due to the number of attractions, activities and outright outdoor fun!
The Lake offers a wide variety of on-the-water fun including boating, sailing, water skiing, Jet Skiing® and wakeboarding. Johnson Lake is known across the region for excellent fishing (boasting some of the best walleye fishing the country), hunting and wildlife viewing.
The fun isn't all about being near or on the water. The area offers a local 18-hole golf course including 11 courses within a 50 mile radius. The hike and bike project provides residents and visitors with 7.6 miles of off-road trails at the lake.
Other attractions include two public beaches, two state campgrounds, shopping, and annual events such as the Memorial Day Community Garage Sale, Art and Wine Festival, Fourth of July Fireworks Show, fishing tournaments, sailing regattas, Antique Shows (Lexington).
Come see for yourself. We guarantee you'll have a great time!
See Service Listing for businesses and phone numbers.
For more details on these and other events at Johnson Lake and the surrounding community, please contact the Johnson Lake Chamber.