Fishing, Boating, and Hunting Information
Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Ruby Lake is one of over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Compatible public use is encouraged on the refuge, including wildlife observation and photography, interpretation, environmental education, fishing, boating, and hunting (in designated areas, in accordance with state, federal, and refuge regulations). 

General Regulations


The refuge is open to the public from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Camping or overnight parking is prohibited.


Vehicles are permitted only on designated access roads. Off-highway vehicles and snowmobiles are not permitted on the refuge.


Dogs are only allowed on a leash not greater than six feet in length. All other pets are prohibited.


Discharge of a firearm is prohibited except for shotguns in the open waterfowl hunting area during waterfowl hunting season. 

Alcoholic Beverages

The possession or use of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited on all National Wildlife Refuges.

Prohibited Activities

Littering, fires, cleaning or filleting fish, water skiing, jet skiing, swimming, fireworks, and collecting plants and objects of antiquity, including Native American artifacts is prohibited.


Report accidents and injuries occurring on the refuge to refuge headquarters.      Phone: (775) 779-2237.

Fishing Information


The refuge is open year-round to fishing except in areas posted as closed.

Size and Limits

Size and bag limits are listed in the State of Nevada fishing regulations.

Bait Fish

The possession or use of live or dead bait fish (including crayfish and amphibians) is prohibited anywhere on the refuge.

Areas Open

  • Collection Ditch: Except where posted as closed, fishing is permitted using ONLY artificial lures and flies. Use of bait, float tubes, and wading is prohibited.
  • Marsh Units North of Brown Dike:   Fishing is ONLY permitted from the manmade dikes, except in Unit 21 as noted under Special Regulations. 
  • Spring Ponds: The spring ponds on the west side of the South Marsh are open year-round.  Bait fishing is allowed.  The use of float tubes and wading is prohibited.
  • South Marsh: Fishing is permitted year-round.  See Special Regulations and Boating Regulations.

Areas Closed

Fishing is prohibited in the following areas: 1) the rearing and brood ponds at Gallagher Hatchery, 2) the North Hatchery Canopy and adjacent ponds  including the west bank of the 

Collection Ditch as posted, and 3) Cave Creek west of the county road.

Special Regulations

Flotation Devices:

From January 1 to June 14, only foot propelled flotation devices (float tubes) are allowed in Unit 21 and designated areas of  the South Marsh, including the mouth of the Collection Ditch at the west end of Brown Dike, the Main Boat Landing, and Narciss Boat Landing.

From June 15 to December 31, only foot propelled flotation devices (float tubes) are allowed in Unit 21. The entire South Marsh is open to all types of flotation devices (See Boating Regulations).      

Wading and Bank Fishing:

  • Unit 21: Wading and bank fishing is permitted year-round.
  • South Marsh: From January 1 to July 31, wading and bank fishing is permitted only at Brown Dike, the Main Boat Landing, and Narciss Boat Landing.
  • From August 1 to December 31, the entire South Marsh is open to wading and bank fishing. 

Ice Fishing

Refuge waters are open to ice fishing; however, hazardous ice conditions exist at all times due to numerous springs and areas of groundwater inflow.


All anglers 12 years of age and older must have a valid Nevada State Fishing License. 

Boating and Hunting Information



  • January 1 - June 14. The use of boats is not permitted on the refuge.
  • June 15 - July 31. South of Brown Dike (South Marsh) only, motorless boats and boats with battery powered electric motors are permitted. Gas motors must be removed from all boats.
  • August 1 - December 31. In the South Marsh, motorless boats and boats propelled by motors with a total of 10 hp or less are permitted.


Boats on trailers can be launched only at the Main Boat Landing and Narciss Boat Landing. Canoes or cartop boats can be launched only at the Main Boat Landing, Narciss Boat Landing, Gravel Pit Pond and Brown Dike.

Life Jackets

State law requires a wearable Personal Flotation Device on board for each person.

Boat Storage

Boats may be stored at the Main Boat Landing, Narciss Boat Landing, Gravel Pit Pond and Brown Dike from June 1 through December 31. Trailers may not be stored on the refuge.



Hunting on the refuge is permitted daily during the waterfowl season as established by the State of Nevada.


In season, hunting is open from two hours before sunrise until one hour after sunset. 


Only ducks (including mergansers), dark geese (including white-fronted and Canada geese), coots, common moorhens and snipe may be hunted. All other species of wildlife are protected. 

Areas Open

The hunting area includes the area as posted from the Brown Dike access road and Brown Dike to the White Pine County Line. No hunting is permitted on Brown Dike or from the Brown Dike access road. In White Pine County, the spring pond area between the County road and the marsh edge is open as posted. For public safety, a no hunting zone is posted in the immediate vicinity of the Main Boat Landing and Brown Dike Restroom. Refer to the map above.


No reservations or special refuge permits are needed.


Boat access to the South Marsh hunting area is provided from the Brown Dike, Gravel Pit Pond and Main Boat Landings. The east side of the hunting area is accessible by boat from one of the three landings or by walking south from Brown Dike.

Walk-in access only is permitted to the spring pond areas in White Pine County.


All hunters 12 years of age or older must possess a valid Nevada hunting license. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult licensed to hunt. Waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older must possess a signed Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp). 

Licenses are not available in Ruby Valley. Federal stamps are available at refuge headquarters.


A well-trained retriever is an asset to conservation. The only exception to dogs being on a leash is working retrievers actively being used for waterfowl hunting within the hunting area during waterfowl hunting season.

Nontoxic Shot

The use of approved nontoxic shot is required when hunting waterfowl, coots, common moorhens and snipe. Hunters may not have lead shot in their possession while hunting.

Blinds and Personal Property

Hunters may use portable blinds and temporary blinds constructed of natural vegetation. All decoys, portable blinds, and other personal property must be removed from the refuge daily and temporary blinds must be dismantled at the close of each day.

Swans Need Your Help

Trumpeter swans are found on the refuge. Several pairs may nest each summer and 40 or more birds may winter here.  To protect swans from being shot, the entire Ruby Valley is closed to the hunting of all white waterfowl.


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