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Fishing Hugh Butler Lake

AKA: Red Willow Reservoir, Hugh Butler Reservoir

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, white bass, striped bass, wiper and northern pike at Hugh Butler Lake in Nebraska.

Hugh Butler - Red Willow Reservoir, NE

Big crappie and bass call Hugh Butler Lake (Red Willow Reservoir) home. They reside here in both quantity and quality. State records for both white and black crappie were taken here. The lake is saturated with brush and submerged trees which the crappie are drawn to like a magnet.

Lake Video

Hugh Butler Lake, located near Trenton, Nebraska, is a hidden gem for fishing enthusiasts. Covering approximately 1,600 acres, this picturesque lake offers excellent fishing opportunities. Hugh Butler Lake is known for its diverse fish population, making it a popular spot for anglers of all levels. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including walleye, largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, and catfish. Anglers can explore the lake's shoreline, submerged structures, and underwater points to target these prized fish.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass both enjoy the cover provided by the trees, brush and the varied structure throughout the lake. This is a 1,600-acre reservoir, in the southwest part of the state, with plenty of creek channels, ledges, points and islands to support a wide variety of fish species. In addition to bass and crappie, walleye, catfish, trout, white bass, striped bass, wipers and northern pike are plentiful. At numerous places around the lake there is reasonably easy access for fishing from shore. In addition to bass boats and other fishing boats, kayaks and canoes work well for maneuvering around the trees and brush. There is plenty of camping spots and RV spaces at the lake. The town of McCook only 10 minutes away to fulfill requirements for lodging, dining, convenience stores and more.

Fishing Boats For Rent In NE

Primary fish species residing in Red Willow Reservoir

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Black crappie White crappie Walleye Rainbow trout White Bass Northern pike

Hugh Butler Lake Amenities

Boat Rental: NO
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: NEARBY
Convenience Store: NEARBY
Bait & Tackle: NEARBY
Restaurant: NEARBY

Today's Weather & Forecast

In addition to fishing, Hugh Butler Lake provides ample opportunities for boating enthusiasts. Boaters can enjoy cruising along the lake's calm waters, taking in the beautiful surroundings and peaceful ambiance. The lake allows for various water activities, such as motor boating, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Whether it's a leisurely boat ride or an adventurous water sports experience, Hugh Butler Lake offers a delightful boating adventure.

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Road Boat Ramp
Located mid lake, on the south side of the lake, off Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

Spring Creek Recreation Area Boat Ramp
Located in the northeast corner of the lake, off N Red Willow Dam Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

Willow View Campground Boat Ramp
Located mid lake, east side, off Red Willow Dam Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.


Lighthouse Marina & Grill
N Highway 83
McCook, NE 69001
308 345-2292

Click here for a Nebraska Fishing License.

Camping options are available near Hugh Butler Lake, allowing visitors to extend their stay and fully embrace the natural beauty of the area. The lake offers a campground with amenities such as tent sites, RV hookups, and access to hiking trails and picnic areas. Camping near Hugh Butler Lake provides the opportunity to wake up to serene lake views, enjoy outdoor activities, and experience the tranquility of the surroundings.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Bluegill Haven Campground - 308 345-5899

Pikes Point Campground - 308 345-5899

Red Willow Reservoir SRA Campground - 308 345-5899

Bobwhite Campground

Red Willow Reservoir NE Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Hugh Butler Lake
Red Willow Reservoir State Recreation Area
72718 Trail 2
McCook, NE 69001
308 345-5899


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Red Willow Reservoir in Nebraska.

Fishing at Hugh Butler Lake, in Nebraska.

Quality crappie fishing in southwest NE.