Harlan County Lake

Quick Facts

Harlan County Lake


(308) 799-2105

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located in southcentral Nebraska, this reservoir is the second largest lake in the state.The Republican River Valley was once occupied by one of the greatest concentrations of buffalo on the Great Plains and was a favored hunting ground for the Pawnee, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indian tribes. The great number of buffalo led the Pawnee to call it the "Manure River". The present name of "Republican" was derived from the Republican band of Pawnees that lived and hunted in the river valley. It is also well known for its excellent walleye, catfish and white bass fishing.

Map of Harlan County Lake

Latitude, Longitude: 40.065461, -99.296494



  • Boating

    Harlan County Lake has several boat ramps accessible at most lake elevations. There is a day use fee from 01 April to 31 October for launching boats at Gremlin Cove, Hunter Cove or Methodist Cove parks. The boat launching fee is waived with a paid camping permit at any Corps of Engineers operated park.

  • Camping

    Primitive, tent, and RV camping are available in six different Corps of Engineers managed parks around the lake, as well as Patterson Harbor and Alma City Park. Camp pads with electrical hook-ups located in Methodist Cove and Hunter Cove parks.

  • Fishing

    The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers, performs a variety of fisheries management activities to improve the lake's aquatic habitat. The most sought after species include Walleye, wipers, white bass, northern pike and channel catfish. Other game fish present in lesser numbers include large-mouthed bass, crappie, and bluegill. Fishermen are encouraged to use one of the fish-cleaning stations at Hunter Cove or Methodist Cove parks to prepare their catch.

  • Hiking

    Harlan County Lake offers a variety of trails of varying length and style. The River's Edge nature trail is located along the Republican River within North Outlet Park. This trail winds through the river bottom forest and is well maintained with many trees identified by markers.

  • Horseback Riding

    The trailhead for the horseback riding trail is located South of Alma on Hwy 183. This trail meanders through the rugged hills bordering the south edge of the lake.

  • Hunting

    Pheasant, quail, prairie chicken, Whitetail and Mule Deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel can be found in huntable populations. Fur-harvesters may also find coyote, bobcat, beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon and opossum to pursue.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    An all terrain vehicle (ATV) trail is located on 475 acres of rolling hills South of Harlan County Dam near Republican City. A vault toilet is located at the trailhead and parking area

  • Picnicking

    Typical picnicking available outside of campgrounds. Pack out style recreation is advised.

  • RVing

    Full RV parking and camping available including water and electrical hookups.

  • Water Sports

    An annual day use pass may be purchased from the Corps of Engineers office or fee booths at Hunter Cove or Methodist Cove parks.


Cold and dry winters with monthly average rainfall of less than one half inch. Followed by hot summers and averages of over 3 inches precipitation per month.



From Lincoln, 145 mi W on I-80, 41 mi S on US 183.

Phone Numbers


(308) 799-2105