Rules and Regulations

Fisherman in cypress

There is no motor size limit on the lake, but careful navigation is advised due to many submerged stumps.  Insect repellent is recommended.

Permitted Activities

- Fishing Tournaments can be permitted with a Special Use Permit.  Permits must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance, visit our PERMITS page to find out how to make a request.  No permits for Fishing Tournaments will be issued when refuge events are being held.  Fees may apply. 

- Canoeing, kayaking, and boating are great ways to see Banks Lake!

- Sport fishing is authorized 24 hours a day, see below for prohibited fishing activities.  All other activity is prohibited after sunset.

- Wildlife Observation and photography opportunities abound at the refuge.

- Check out the Banks Lake Outdoors concession for fishing gear and gift items.

- A short hiking trail begins at the edge of the parking area for visitors to enjoy.

- Picnic tables are available for visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Banks Lake.  Please put all trash in approved trash receptacles.

All boats must comply with Federal and State boating laws. Appropriate anchor and navigational lights must be displayed at all times during night fishing. Airboats, jet boats, and marking fishing spots/boat trails are prohibited. No Wake Zones and Closed Areas must be observed by all visitors. 

Prohibited Activities

- Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms will comply with all provisions of state and local law. 
- Collecting, disturbing or killing wildlife, plants, mineral or artifacts is prohibited. 
- Camping, overnight sleeping in vehicles, and open fires is prohibited. 
- Visitor access is authorized from sunrise to sunset, with the exception of fishing, which is authorized 24 hours a day. 

- Sport fishing is permitted as follows:
* All state fishing regulations apply to this area. 
* Fishing is permitted only with pole and line or rod and reel.
* No seine nets or throw nets allowed. No trotlines.
* No dipping for minnows
* Fishing gear must be attended at all times.
* No turtles, frogs, or other animals may be collected or removed from the refuge.  

- Swimming, wading, jet-skiing, and water-skiing is prohibited. 

- Intoxicated or disorderly individuals are prohibited and subject to arrest and removal. 

- All-terrain vehicles or utility vehicles (ATVs or UTVs) are prohibited.

- Littering is prohibited.

- You may not place anything in the refuge for the purpose of attracting or concentrating wildlife species.  

- Geocaching is not permitted.