Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations

 The operation of unmanned aircraft/drones on national wildlife refuges is prohibited. Drone users cannot 1) fly drones at “altitudes resulting in harassment of wildlife” or take-off or land drones within refuge boundaries under 50 C.F.R. § 27.34; 2) use drones to harass wildlife under 50 C.F.R. § 27.51; or 3) operate, launch from, or land drones on refuge-administered lands for the purpose of taking commercial photography under 50 C.F.R. § 27.71, without a permit in accordance with 43 C.F.R. Part 5.

The refuge is open daily to visitors from dawn until dusk. Pets are allowed, but required to be on a leash for their safety, as well as the resident wildlife.  The Refuge is open for nature photography, wildlife observation, hunting, fishing, environmental education and interpretation. To protect the natural resources of the Refuge and to provide all visitors with a safe and enjoyable wildlife experience, please observe all Refuge signs and regulations in handouts and brochures. See our Hunting, Fishing, and Public Use brochure for specific regulations. 

ALL federal, state, and local laws and regulations are applicable on Refuge lands and waters, including the following Refuge-specific regulations: 

Permitted Activities 

Driving, biking and walking on refuge roads in accordance with state law. The speed limit is 25 mph in the Connecting People with Nature Area for all modes of transportation. 

Paddling (kayak/canoe) is allowed in the lakes from March 1 through October 31 each year. 

Bank Fishing is allowed year-round in the Bluff Lake spillway pools, and from the Bluff Lake Boardwalk around past the Visitor Center to the Cypress Cove Boardwalk.

Nature photography, wildlife observation, and nature study

Dogs must be under control and on a leash.

While boating obey No-Wake speed on all Refuge Waters.

Keep at least 20 ft. distance from nesting birds.


Prohibited Activities 

Feeding wildlife  

Camping on all Refuge lands  

Open fires outside of grills in the picnic area

Swimming in any refuge waters

Target shooting

Metal detecting or searching for items of antiquity

Rollerblading, skating, and skateboarding

Operation of model planes, drones, boats, or kites

Attaching man-made materials to Refuge structures

Use or possession of alcoholic beverages

Removal of any objects (natural, historic, of archaeological feature, etc.)

Horseback riding

We prohibit air boats, hovercraft, sailboats and personal watercraft (GoDevils, Jet Skis, jet boats, and Wave Runners.)


Sport Fishing - We allow fishing in accordance with State regulations subject to the following conditions: 

The Refuge lakes are closed to boating from October 31 through February. 

We allow fishing in all Refuge waters except in areas designated as “closed to public entry” from March 1 through October 31.

 Bluff Lake is open from Cypress Cove Boardwalk to Bluff Lake Boardwalk past the Visitor Center for bank fishing year-round (including the spillways.)

 We prohibit kite surfing, kite boarding, wind surfing, sail boarding, and any similar non wildlife-oriented activities. 

We allow vessels propelled by polling, paddling, or floating in the lakes.  No boats or vessels are allowed in the spillways.

We allow anglers to launch canoes and kayaks anywhere on Bluff and Loakfoma Lakes.

All visitors (e.g., anglers and photographers) must exit refuge lands and waters no later than 12 hour after legal sunset.

We prohibit commercial fishing (see § 27.21 of this chapter).

We prohibit the use of seines or cast nets.