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Niobrara National Scenic River Fish

The Niobrara River drainage contains the largest number of fish species occurring in Nebraska. The Scenic River is unique in that it contains several species representing glacial relict populations, including the pearl dace and blacknose shiner. The latter species is almost entirely limited in Nebraska to the cool, clear side streams of the Scenic River. Blacknose shiners and pearl dace are currently state listed threatened species and status changes have been proposed for both species by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologists. Blacknose shiners are extremely rare in Nebraska, and the last known sighting of this species occurred in the Niobrara drainage. Previous studies on pearl dace populations within the designated reach and its tributaries found them to be more widely distributed and abundant in the Sandhills region than originally thought. In addition, the Niborara River and its tributaries also provide important potential habitat for other state listed sensitive species including finescale dace and northern redbelly dace.

Angling opportunities are abundant along the Niobrara National Scenic River and it's many tributaries. Rainbow and brown trout are present in several spring-branch canyon tributaries, and can provide a challenge for any avid fly-fishermen. For others more interested in using the more popular and traditional "rod and reel" method, anglers can try their hand at channel catfish, carp, bluegill, green sunfish, grass pickerel, and many other fish species. A valid Nebraska fishing license is required.

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