Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge

USFWSOn this page, you’ll find:

  1. General information about the Refuge
  2. Authorized species for hunting and fishing
  3. Summary of general regulations for the Refuge, plus those specific to hunting and fishing
  4. Maps of hunting areas, Refuge and Unit “U” boundaries, driving directions, etc.
  5. Links to legal summaries (e.g. regulations for seasons, bag limits and waterfowl zones)
  6. Links to federal and state government webpages

General Info:

  • Administrator: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • CDFW Region: Region 1, Northern California
  • County: Modoc County
  • Clear Lake national wildlife refuge in California

    Hunt Map

    Directions: Clear Lake Reservoir (see our Google map)

  • Location:  4009 Hill Road, Tulelake, CA 96134
  • Phone Number:  (530) 667-2231
  • Refuge: USFWS map
  • Waterfowl ZoneNortheastern California WF Zone
  • Websites: Clear Lake NWR

I. Regulatory Summary

A. General Regulations

California rules and regulations for hunting ducks, geese, scaup, brant, Canada geese, dark geese, snow geese, white-fronted geese, specklebellies, white geese, and migratory game birds on national wildlife refuges, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Waterfowl hunting

Clear Lake is owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. In addition to our summary of Refuge-specific regulations, link to our summary of general regulations from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

B. Refuge-Specific Regulations

Beginning with Par. II below, you’ll find an alphabetical summary of legal topics that combine Refuge-specific rules and regulations from the following sources:

Warning shot!!! There are general rules for the Complex, and there may be additional rules located at the Refuge (e.g. entry permit, information booth, signs, permits, reservations).


II. Summary of Hunting Rules and Regulations

A. General Hunting Regulations

Access: ONLY by foot but, to get there roads are frequently in poor condition, especially after rain or snow. Four-wheel drive, cell phones, scouting, temporary blind materials, and USGS maps for Carr Butte and Double Head Mountain are highly recommended

Boats: NOT allowed

Hunt days: the Refuge is CLOSED except during open “Seasons” for “Authorized Species” (see Par. C – D below)

Hunt area: Clear Lake is a very remote area of the Complex located east of Tulelake, California and is walk-in hunting only.  The hunt area is on the western shoreline (pictured right)

Juniors: must be accompanied by an adult with a permit

B. Migratory Game Bird Hunting

Authorized species: the most common species is the Canada goose (hunting opportunities are very limited)

Duck hunting in California

Duck Hunting

Goose hunting in California

Goose Hunting

American Coot hunting in California

Coot Hunting

Moorhen hunting in California

Moorhen Hunting

California rules and regulations for hunting snipe on national wildlife refuge, California wildlife areas, and California ecological reserves

Snipe Hunting


Blinds:

  1. Allowed: ONLY portable blinds and temporary blinds built of natural vegetation are allowed. Warning shot!!! Hunters should bring their own materials.
  2. Prohibited: digging or construction of pit blinds is NOT allowed in the field

Hunt days: after “Opening weekend” (see below), hunting is allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.

Clear Lake national wildlife refuge in California

Waterfowl Hunt Area

Hunt map: pictured right

Juniors: see “Opening weekend” below

Lottery: see “Opening weekend” below

Opening weekend:

  1. Lottery: permits are issued through a random drawing to hunters with a reservation issued in advance by submitting a Waterfowl Lottery Application, which is available online for download (FWS Form 3-2355)
  2. Permit: hunters must possess and carry their Waterfowl Lottery Application (FWS Form 3-2355), which serves as their Refuge permit.

Permit: see “Opening weekend” above and “Reporting” below

Reporting: after “Opening weekend” (see above), the Migratory Bird Hunt Report must be completed upon check-in and out of the Refuge and must be—

  1. Possession: carried while on the Refuge and is available online for download (FWS Form 3-2361)
  2. Returned: turned in before leaving the hunting area.

Reservations: see “Opening weekend” above

C. Big Game Hunting

Pronghorn antelope hunting in California

Pronghorn Antelope

Authorized species: pronghorn antelope

Entry and exit: use gate on Clear Lake Road (see map)

Hunt area: Unit “U” of the Refuge, which is the peninsula in the middle of the lake. Clear Lake NWR Antelope Handout

Hunt days: only on weekends and holidays during the general season (per handout). BUT see “Seasons” below.

Unit U of the Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Unit “U”

Hunt map:

Permit: Antelope hunting is by permit only and on a very limited basis. The CDFW conducts a draw for only 10 permits each year, and this hunt is conducted only on the first two weekends of the season. Warning shot!!! A general Zone 2 antelope tag does NOT allow hunting on the Refuge.

Season: 1st Saturday after the 3rd Wednesday in August for nine (9) consecutive days


III. Sport Fishing

Authorized activities: fishing and crayfishing

Sport fishing in California

Sport Fishing

Crayfishing

Crawfishing

Fishing Area: only within Dorris Reservoir in accordance with State regulations (link to map)


IV. Regulatory Text

CLEAR LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

A. Migratory Game Bird Hunting. Hunting of geese, ducks, coots, moorhens, and snipe is permitted on designated areas of the refuge subject to the following conditions:

1. On the opening weekend of the hunting season, hunters must possess and carry a Waterfowl Lottery Application (FWS Form 3–2355) as their refuge permit. We will issue this permit through a random drawing to hunters with advanced reservations only. The Waterfowl Lottery Applications are available on the refuge website.

2. After the opening weekend of the hunting season, we allow hunting only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Hunters must check-in and out of the refuge by filling out the Migratory Bird Hunt Report (FWS Form 3–2361) and must possess and carry this report while on the refuge. Hunters must fill out the harvest information and turn in the form prior to exiting the hunting area.

B. Upland Game Hunting. [Reserved]

C. Big Game Hunting. Hunting of pronghorn antelope is permitted on the controlled ‘‘U’’ Unit of the refuge subject to the following conditions:

1. Hunters may hunt only in the unit for nine (9) consecutive days beginning on the first Saturday following the third Wednesday in August.

2. Access to the unit is permitted only through the gate located on Clear Lake Road.

D. Sport Fishing. We allow fishing (fish and crayfish) only on Dorris Reservoir in accordance with State regulations subject to the following conditions:*


  • USFWS Refuge Profile

Profile Page

The refuge is open to limited waterfowl and pronghorn antelope hunting during the regular California State seasons.

The western shoreline of the refuge is open to hunting. This area is not heavily hunted primarily due to the limited, difficult access. No boats are allowed. It is difficult to hunt here, and the best advice is to hunt the refuge with someone who has hunted here before.

The primary species hunted here is Canada goose. Non-toxic shot is required. Hunting is fair. It is very difficult to jump shoot birds here due to the lack of cover and open nature of the area. Scouting is essential in this large, open area. Hunters should bring materials to build a temporary blind.

Antelope hunting is by permit only and on a very limited basis. The California Department of Fish and Game conducts a draw for only 10 permits each year, and this hunt is conducted only on the first two weekends of the season. Please contact the DFG Regional Office at 916-225-2300 for more information on this hunt.


  • Description of Clear Lake Hunt Areas

Description of the Area

Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a remote yet beautiful reservoir located east of Tule Lake. Except for waterfowl hunting and a limited antelope hunt, the refuge is closed to all public entry. The western shoreline of the refuge is open to hunting. This area is not heavily hunted primarily due to the limited and difficult access.No boats are allowed. It is difficult to hunt here and the best advice is to hunt the refuge with someone who has hunted here before.

Directions to the Area

From Highway 139 go northeast on Forest Service Road 136 which passes by the southern boundary of the refuge. Or, head to the northern end of the refuge by accessing Kowoloski Road south of Malin, Oregon.

Note: These roads are frequently in poor condition, especially after rain or snow. Four-wheel drive vehicles are highly recommended, as are cell phones.

Waterfowl

The primary species hunted here is Canada goose. Hunting is fair. It is very difficult to jump shoot birds here due to the lack of cover and open nature of the area. Scouting is essential in this large, open area. Hunters should bring materials to build a temporary blind.

Special Equipment

Four wheel drive vehicles, cell phone, USGS quad maps: Carr Butte/Doublehead Mtn.

Special Regulations

Non-toxic shot is required to hunt waterfowl. No boats allowed on the refuge. Overnight camping is prohibited on the refuge, however, the refuge is surrounded by Modoc National Forest where there is access to primitive camping.

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