Waterfowl hunting is limited due to the third straight year of severe drought conditions in Nevada. Stillwater NWR received less than 40% of their normal water delivery through the irrigation district, as a result of less than 30% snowpack in the Sierra Nevada range during winter 2013-14. Hope for a long, deep, wet winter 2014-15!
Retrieval Zone closure: a reminder that a designated 'Retrieval Zone' exists north of Division Rd from road edge north for 200yds. to the marked signs in the desert. No loaded firearms are allowed in this area for the entire 6mi. length of Division Rd. No hunting is allowed along the south side of Division into the refuge sanctuary.
South Nutgrass Lake is the primary wetland unit in the hunt zone with water. As of January 15, 2015 this unit is 85% ice covered, with skim surface water during the day. Walking on the ice is NOT recommended due to freeze/thaw effect and thin layers of ice.
Rice and Olano's Landing boat launches into S. Nutgrass are accessible, when free of ice, off Navy Cabin Road, for all types of boats (airboats need a Special Use Permit). However, use extreme caution when launching and navigating the access channels as water levels will change and submerged objects, vegetation and sand bars become exposed.
Boats may launch at 5am each morning; access by foot is allowed at any time to set out decoys, make temporary blinds from natural materials, but you are not allowed to camp (either in or near your vehicle) to hold a spot in the hunt area outside of a designated overnight area. The nearest overnight area to South Nutgrass is approx. 1 mile south at the Division Rd/Nutgrass Rd intersection. No facilities other than a vault toilet, trash can and info board are available here.
NOTE: Boating is not allowed anywhere on the refuge outside of waterfowl hunt season.
Water Levels: be aware of seasonal water level changes, and use caution when walking across frozen or muddy areas as the ice thin and the mud below is very soft. Use a walking stick or other means to gauge water depth and footing.
The new floating walkway and platform at S. Nutgrass will NOT be open for public use this year as it remains under construction. Do not attempt to walk on or use this structure since the safety features have not been installed. Barricades are posted.