Visitor Activities.

Swans on Frozen Marsh

"The Refuge Improvement Act recognizes the importance of a close connection between fish and wildlife and the American character, and of the need to preserve America's wildlife for future generations to enjoy.  It mandates that compatible, wildlife-dependent recreational uses involving hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, and interpretation are the priority public uses of (the Refuge) System."  (Excerpt from Fulfilling the Promise/USFWS)

Although Ruby Lake's primary purpose is to protect habitat for wildlife, here are some ways that you can enjoy the wide open space along with the birds, fish and mammals.

  • Hunting

    Seth from California 2016

    Waterfowl, including ducks, dark geese, coots, snipe, and common moorhens may be hunted in designated areas and the use of non-toxic shot is mandatory.  Hunting of white birds in Ruby Valley is prohibited to protect Trumpeter Swans.  All other species of wildlife are protected.  Hunting is permitted daily during the waterfowl season as established by the state of Nevada.  Areas open to hunting are as posted including south of Brown Dike to the White Pine County line.  In White Pine County, the spring pond area between the County road and the marsh edge is open as posted.  Please remove your spent shotgun shells and other trash.  Hunting licenses are not sold in Ruby Valley.

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  • Fishing


    The Refuge is open year-round to fishing except in areas posted as closed.  Possession or use of live or dead baitfish, crayfish, or amphibians is prohibited.  Largemouth Bass are found primarily in the South Marsh and the marsh units north of Brown Dike.  Bass tend to bite best in summer.  Trout, primarily Rainbow but also Brown and Tiger, are mostly found in the Collection Ditch and the spring ponds along the southwest side of the Refuge.  Angling for trout tends to peak during the cooler months.  Please remove all trash, particularly discarded fishing line which can entangle wildlife.  Be aware of special regulations as boating and bag limit rules vary by location and date.  Fishing licenses are not sold in Ruby Valley.


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  • Wildlife Observation and Photography

    Yellow Warbler

    Any time of year you can see wildlife on the refuge, whether it be flocks of swans on the ice in Winter, nesting ducks in Spring, migrating snakes in Summer, or grazing Pronghorns in Fall. The Ruby Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to all of this and sunsets are picture-worthy almost every evening, but don’t be surprised if your camera just can’t take it all in.

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  • Environmental Education and Interpretation

    Interpretive Signs

    Ruby Lake NWR provides a great opportunity to view and learn about plants and wildlife native to the Great Basin.  In addition to our lengthy auto tour, the Refuge constructed a new handicap accessible wildlife observation platform at Narciss Boat Landing in spring of 2011.  During 2012, thirteen new interpretive panels were placed along the auto tour and boat landings to share information with visitors regarding our native wildlife, cultural history, and the unique hydrological cycle supporting our marsh ecosystem.  The Refuge receives several school visits each year, and visiting students are issued binoculars and given a guided tour from the comfort of their own bus.  Additionally, our staff enjoys visiting schools, summer camps, and other local venues where they have delivered a variety of wildlife presentations to young and old alike.

    If you have a class or group that is interested in a Refuge tour or one of our staff presentations, please contact the Refuge at (775) 779-2237.