U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Crescent Lake
National Wildlife Refuge

Amidst the sea of dry, brown grasses, a wetland exists where the sandhills dip below the water table.
10630 Road 181
Ellsworth, NE   69340
E-mail: cresentlake@fws.gov
Phone Number: 308-762-4893
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a vast sea of mixed-grass habitats with wetlands found where the sandhills dip below the water table.
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
Special group trips (school groups, scouts, etc.) are encouraged to use the Refuge for environmental education. Guided tours may be arranged by contacting the Refuge staff in advance.

Island Lake is open to fishing year-round in accordance with state regulations. Smith and Crane Lakes are open for fishing from Nov 1 through Feb 15 only. The possession of or use of minnows (live or dead) is prohibited. Boating is permitted on Island Lake only. Internal combustion motors are prohibited.

Refuge hunting is permitted in accordance with applicable state and Federal regulations. A Nebraska hunting license (or, if appropriate, big game permit) and habitat stamp is required. Prairie grouse, pheasant, coyotes and deer may be hunted on those portions of the Refuge open to hunting during appropriate state regulated hunting seasons. Waterfowl hunting is offered in one designated area.

Exhibits are available at the Refuge headquarters. Please call ahead to make sure the office is open.

Wildlife Observation
A 19-station self-guided auto tour route is a year-round attraction. Interpretive stops provide an opportunity to view upland and wetland areas, endangered species conservation efforts, and research activities. The tour route runs throughout the Refuge with leaflets available at all entrances.

The best opportunities for photography generally occur by staying in your car as wildlife is less frightened by the presence of automobiles. A photography blind on a sharp-tail grouse dancing ground is available on a first-come reservation basis. Contact the Refuge staff to make reservations.

Office hours are from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday (call to be sure Refuge staff is available), except on Federal holidays. The auto tour route is open daily, daylight hours only.

Entrance Fees
The Refuge does not charge an entrance fee.

Use Fees
The Refuge does not charge user fees (i.e., hunt fees, camping fees, boat launch, meeting rooms rental fees, auto tour fees, guided tour fees, etc.).
- Refuge Profile Page -