Harlan County Lake, Nebraska, USA
Harlan County Lake covers an impressive 13,250 acres in south-central Nebraska’s Frontier Trails region. Just seven miles from the Nebraska / Kansas state line, Harlan County Lake stretches seven miles long with 75 miles of shoreline. The entire lake is open to public access and is a recreational delight. Recreational activities include camping, fishing, hunting, boating, and water skiing, Harlan County Lake was created by impounding the…
Keep scrolling to read more.
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Harlan County Lake! Article topics include:
- All About Harlan County Lake
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Harlan County Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Harlan County Lake Gifts
Looking for Harlan County Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.
All About Harlan County Lake, NE
Harlan County Lake covers an impressive 13,250 acres in south-central Nebraska’s Frontier Trails region. Just seven miles from the Nebraska / Kansas state line, Harlan County Lake stretches seven miles long with 75 miles of shoreline. The entire lake is open to public access and is a recreational delight. Recreational activities include camping, fishing, hunting, boating, and water skiing,
Harlan County Lake was created by impounding the Republican River. Harlan County Dam was created out of necessity. In 1935 raging waters flooded the Republican River Valley and Republican City. It was estimated that between 100 and 120 lives were lost with an addition of over 10,000 cattle. The devastation prompted the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct the Harlan County Dam. Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1942, and amended by the act of 1944, the dam was completed in 1952 but the lake did not reach full pool until 1957. With construction of the dam, the town of Republican City had to be moved to higher ground due to the fact that the whole area would be under water with the completion of the dam. Now during low lake levels, visitors of Harlan County Lake can walk through old Republican City; many of the old foundations of houses and businesses still remain.
Harlan County Lake is considered some of the best fishing in Nebraska. Fish species include walleye, white bass, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie and wiper. In addition to fishing, Harlan County Lake offers ample opportunities for hunting. Fur-harvesting goes back to the time of William Cody (Buffalo Bill) who trapped beaver and otter for fur in the Republican River Valley before Harlan County Lake was built. Buffalo Bill states in his autobiography that on a fur hunting expedition he and a companion collected 300 beaver and 100 otter skins. In the present day, fur-harvesters may find coyote, bobcat, beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon, and opossum. Other animals that can be hunted are pheasant, quail, prairie chicken, whitetail and mule deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel. All Federal-owned land is open to hunting with the exception of the developed parks and administration areas. All Federal and State hunting regulations apply when hunting at Harlan County Lake.
There are nine recreational parks located around Harlan County Lake. The Corps maintains six established campgrounds; primitive, tent, and RV camping is available. Methodist Cove and Hunter Cove Parks offer camp pads with electrical hook-ups. In addition to camping, Harlan County Lake has two full service marinas on the east end of the lake, Patterson Harbor and North Shore Marina. Boat ramps are available at Gremlin Cove, Hunter Cove, Methodist Cove, Patterson Harbor, Alma City Park and Cedar Point Park. Alma City Park boat ramps are for high lake levels only, while Cedar Point Park is for low lake levels.
Visitors who love nature will enjoy Harlan County Lake’s trails. There are trails for hiking, horseback riding, and all-terrain vehicles. The 500-acre ATV trail is located on the south side of Harlan County Dam near Republican City. Another delight for nature lovers can only be enjoyed during the winter months. Hundreds of Bald Eagles stop over the lake on their annual migration, and it is a site to behold.
Harlan County Lake will indeed be a repeat vacation spot for anyone visiting for the first time. With so much to do and see it is no wonder that Harlan County Lake is one of Nebraska’s hot spots. Whether visitors want a relaxing swim or an exciting hunt, they will not be disappointed with Harlan County Lake.
Things to Do at Harlan County Lake
These are some activities in the Harlan County Lake, NE area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
- Water Skiing
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- City Park
What Kind of Fish Are in Harlan County Lake?
Harlan County Lake has been known to have the following fish species:
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- White Bass
Find Places to Stay at Harlan County Lake
If you’re considering a Harlan County Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. Read our full disclosure policy here.
More Sites to Book a Harlan County Lake Vacation
Our interactive Harlan County Lake lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
Harlan County Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: Army Corps of Engineers
Surface Area: 13,250 acres
Shoreline Length: 75 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,946 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,974 feet
Water Volume: 327,600 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1957
Drainage Area: 7,164 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
We strive to keep information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. If you’ve found something here that needs updating, please touch base by filling out our Content Correction form.
Shop Harlan County Lake Gifts
More Harlan County Lake news from LakeLubbers.com
- Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
- The Harlan County Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
- New Harlan County Lake photos coming soon!
- You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
- Share this Harlan County Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers: