Merritt Reservoir is in the Sandhills of Northern Nebraska. The reservoir is located just south of Valentine Nebraska about 375 miles (about 7.5 hours) from Denver. Merritt is mainly a prime fishing spot for warm water fish such as Walleye and Bass. There is some very nice camping around the Lake with nice treed sites. The reservoir is 11 miles long with 44 miles of shoreline.
From the Merritt website:
"Located in a narrow valley of the Snake River, 26 miles southwest of Valentine, Merritt Dam was completed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in May 1964. The dam is a homogenous, rolled-earth, filed structure, 108 feet high with a crest length of 3,222 feet. lt is the first Bureau dam to have soil cement surfacing instead of traditional rock rip-rap protection. The only similar dam in Nebraska is the Calamus Dam completed in 1986 near Burwell.
A facility of the Ainsworth Unit, Sandhills Division, Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Project, the dam is operated by the Ainsworth Irrigation District. The Game and Parks Commission administers the water surface and adjacent lands for recreation and wildlife purposes. The reservoir has 44 miles of shoreline; 74,486 acre feet of storage, and a surface area of 2,906 acres. It irrigates approximately 34,539 acres of Nebraska farmland.
Merritt Reservoir offers some of Nebraska's premiere fishing. It is a deep lake with excellent inflow from the Snake River and Boardman Creek, Consequently, the reservoir is well insulated against excessive drawdown during irrigation season. Walleye, crappie and white bass have long been the favorite choices of anglers, though lunker-size catfish have recently been "discovered" in the Snake River arm.
Ready access to the lake is available at public boat ramps in the Powder Horn, Main, Beed's Landing and Snake River areas. Fishermen will particularly enjoy the modern fish cleaning stations, new for 1988, at the Beed's Landing and Main areas.
For campers, primitive ovemight facilities are available at all the areas on this scenic reservoir, along with drinking water and vault toilets. Merritt Dam Trading Post, the area concession, is located at the east end of the dam and offers fee camping with water and electrical hookups. A trailer dump station for recreational vehicles is provided adjacent to the Main Area.
Although Merritt is remote, the locale boasts several other attractions. McKelvie National Forest lies immediately to the north, with its thousands of acres of grassy sandhills and grouse hunting. Other attractions include the nearby Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, the beautiful Snake River Falls, the Valentine State Fish Hatchery, and Fort Niobrara Wildlife Refuge."