Hunting and Fishing


San Luis NWR and Merced NWR have a waterfowl hunting program that is cooperatively administered by the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Daily permits are required to hunt at the Complex.  Hunters must comply with Federal and State of California hunting license requirements / regulations.  Refuge-specific regulations apply.  Regulations that apply to ALL areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Hunters may possess not more than 25 federally approved nontoxic shotgun shells after leaving parking lot (hunters are limited to no more than 25 shells per day at the Merced NWR)
  • Vehicles may stop only at designated, assigned parking areas.  The dropping of passengers or equipment or stopping between designated parking areas is prohibited.  All permits must be returned to the check-stations immediately upon completion of your hunt, before using any tour routes or leaving the refuge vicinity.
  • Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while in the field is prohibited.
  • Hunters must possess valid hunting licenses, stamps, and area permits while in the field.
  • At all times on the refuge, weapons must be unloaded (no ammunition in the magazine or chamber) when in a boat under power, in a vehicle, or on a bicycle.

There is no hunting at San Joaquin River NWR.

For additional information:

Hunt Program General Information


San Luis NWR has a designated fishing area. In addition to State of California fishing license requirements / regulations, the following refuge-specific regulations apply:

  • Fishing is allowed only in the following locations:

San Luis unit - Salt Slough, adjacent to the Tule Elk Auto Tour Route. Note: this is a refuge designated fishing area with multiple angler parking lots. Anglers are allowed to walk along Salt Slough, in between designated parking lots.

West Bear Creek unit – San Joaquin River, immediately adjacent to the Highway 165 / San Joaquin River Bridge. Note: There is no designated parking area. Highway 165 is a high-traffic area.

  • Only fishing by single rod and reel
  • Rod must be attended at all times
  • Only fish may be taken

There is no fishing at Merced NWR or San Joaquin River NWR.