Facility Activities

Visitors can enjoy fishing (Town of Oyster Bay permits required for shell fishing), wildlife observation, photography and environmental education are approved recreational uses on the refuge.


Fishing is allowed on refuge waters. A free New York state salt water fishing license is required. Common fish species include striped bass (striper or rockfish), weakfish, summer flounder (fluke), bluefish, blackfish (tautog) and porgy (scup). Town of Oyster Bay permits are required for shell fishing.

Wildlife Viewing

The Congressman Lester Wolff Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge receives the greatest amount of public use of any refuge on Long Island. Recreational boaters use it heavily from May through September: on peak weekends, approximately 3,000 boats use the refuge; on weekdays, 1,000 boats per day are common.


Most photography occurs while visitors are boating on refuge waters. However, a walk around the refuge shoreline will occasionally reveal some stunning images worth capturing!

Sport fishing in Oyster Bay Harbor is permitted. Available species include striped bass, weakfish, flounder, porgy, bluefish and tautog. Anglers also may fish from the refuge shoreline at Mill Pond from sunrise to sunset. Available species include brown trout, rainbow trout and largemouth bass...

Many Fish and Wildlife Service sites make great destinations for flatwater canoeing or kayaking. Some sites have concessions that rent canoes or kayaks. Some sites offer scheduled paddle tours. See individual refuge websites for details.
School program activities are available at a number of facilities.
From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.
Many refuges champion wildlife viewing as a key recreational activity.
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.
Crabbing and clamming are popular at some coastal refuges, including Chincoteague Refuge in Virginia and Bandon Marsh Refuge in Oregon. Crawfishing is big at some Louisiana refuges. Check individual sites for details and restrictions.