Branched Oak State Recreation Area features the largest lake in eastern Nebraska and has long been a popular spot for fishing, boating and camping. Approximately 1,800 acres of water, along with well-maintained campsites, two swimming beaches, hiking trails and an equestrian campground draw visitors from near and far. A marina offers fuel, bait, boat rental, concessions and a bar and grill.
Branched Oak Lake offers great fishing opportunities and is a popular spot with anglers. Available species include blue catfish, bluegill, common carp, channel catfish, crappie, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, largemouth bass, striped bass, walleye, white perch and wiper. There’s a daily bag limit of one walleye, 22 inches or longer, and there’s a 10-inch minimum length limit for crappie. Striped bass, white bass, wiper and flathead catfish are catch-and-release. A wheelchair-accessible deck is available near the marina, and fish cleaning stations are located at areas 5 and 11.
For more information on fishing opportunities here and at parks across the state, visit the interactive public fishing areas map. This map provides detailed information on available species, regulations, public boat ramps, fish cleaning stations and ADA-accessible boat ramps and docks, among other features in reservoirs, lakes, streams and rivers statewide. Lake contour maps are available for some lakes, as well.
Branched Oak Lake is open to all types of boating. Nine ramps and 49 docks are available. The marina sells fuel and also offers boat rental.
Branched Oak features two swimming beaches. There are no lifeguards on duty at either.
The marina sells bait, firewood and fuel, among other amenities, and also offers boat rental and a bar/grill.
The park offers seven miles of hiking trails, six miles of mountain bike trails and three miles of horse trails. A multi-use trail along the southside of the lake offers great wildlife viewing and scenic views of the lake. For equestrian trail riders, the trailhead is located out of the Homestead Equestrian campground.
Branched Oak SRA offers 41 picnic shelters, three of which offer reservations. One of the shelters that take reservations has electricity and accommodates up to 60 people. Contact the park for information and reservations. The park also offers numerous picnic tables and grills.
Branched Oak also offers archery, horseshoe pits and a nationally recognized dog trial area. It’s also a popular spot for wildlife viewing, particularly in the spring when many visitors stop by to view bald eagles.
Branched Oak offers Full Hookups, Electric Plus, Electric, Basic and Primitive camping and offering campers an array of camping amenities. Middle Oak Creek and South Shore campgrounds offer Full Hookups, Electric Plus and Electric camping along with Basic campsites. The lake has five shower houses, modern restrooms, primitive restrooms, dump and fill stations and playground equipment.
Along with the electrical modern camping, Branched Oak offers numerous Basic and Primitive campsites at several of its campground locations.
The maximum occupancy of a campsite is (1) one camping unit and one tent; (2) two tents; and one vehicle that is used to tow or transport the camping unit or one vehicle that is towed by the camping unit. Additional vehicles or trailers must use the designated parking areas.
Camping reservations are available for half of the campsites in Middle Oak Creek and South Shore campgrounds. All other camping is all first-come, first-served and campers register their nightly camping fees in a raised, locked box called an Iron Ranger. Self-service envelopes are provided at each Iron Ranger station. Check or cash only. Iron Rangers are generally located near the park entrance or in the campground area. On-site camping informational signs are provided to help guide campers with the self-registration process.
A park entry permit is required and may be purchased at the park, statewide Game and Parks offices and permit vendors or in advance of your arrival online. Daily permits are $6 for residents and $12 for non-residents.