Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area

420 E First St
Valentine, NE 69201


Located in a picturesque valley of the Snake River 26 miles southwest of Valentine, Merritt Reservoir offers some of Nebraska’s best fishing, along with boating and camping. It is a deep lake with excellent inflow from the Snake River and Boardman Creek.


Walleye, crappie and white bass have long been the favorites with anglers here, although lunker catfish can be found in the Snake River arm. The reservoir has two modern fish cleaning stations.

All types of boating are permitted at Merritt. Ready access to the lake is available at public boat ramps in the Powder Horn, Main, Beed’s Landing and Snake River areas. There are five ramps and seven docks all together. Fuel is available nearby at the Merritt Trading Post.

Hunting is permitted in season at Merritt Reservoir beginning the day after Labor Day. Sharp-tails and prairie grouse are prime upland species. Both whitetails and mule deer along with wild turkey offer good action here. There is some excellent waterfowl hunting on the lake and on the sandhills lakes in the area.

Merritt offers 200 picnic tables, along with 190 grill and eight picnic shelters.


RV and tent camping
Merritt Reservoir offers numerous camping options over several campgrounds There are 38 sites with 20-, 30- and 50-amp electrical hookups and 18 standard sites without electricity in Cedar Bay Campground; 21 electrical sites with 50-amp hookups in Willow Cove; 10 electrical sites with 50-amp hookups in West Beeds; 10 electrical sites with 50-amp hookups in Beeds and 10 electrical sites with 50-amp hookups in Boardman. An additional 105 non-pad sites without electricity are scattered throughout the park. Water, modern restrooms and showers are available to campers, and there is a dump station on site. Additional camping spots are available at the Merritt Trading Post.

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