A lazy afternoon on the lake may be accompanied by the splash of a jumping fish, the sight of turtles sliding into the water, gators imitating floating logs, or the wild cry of an osprey bringing a fish to its nestlings. Whether fishing for crappie (speckled perch), bream, or bass, other treats await those who look and listen.
The refuge is open 24 hours a day to sportfishing, otherwise use of the grounds is limited from sunrise to sunset.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Okefenokee Complex.
Rules and Policies
- Fishing Tournaments can be permitted with a Special Use Permit. Permits must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance. 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.
- 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.
- 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.