- General information about the Refuge
- Authorized species for hunting and fishing
- Summary of general regulations for the Refuge, plus those specific to the Salmon Creek Unit and Blind Zones
- Maps with driving directions and of hunting and fishing areas, including the check station, visitor center, parking areas and boat launches
- Links to legal summaries (e.g. regulations for seasons, bag limits and waterfowl zones)
- Links to federal and state government webpages (USFWS, the Refuge, and Arizona and California fish & game departments)
- Administrator: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS“)
- CDFW Region: Region 1, Northern California
- Complex: Humboldt Bay NWR Complex
- County: Humboldt County
Directions: see our Google map
- Location: 1020 Ranch Road, Loleta, CA 95551
- Phone Number: (707) 733-5406 or 5518 (waterfowl updates)
- Special Management Areas: North Coast SMA and Northern Brant SMA
- State agency: California Department of Fish & Wildlife (“CDFW”)
- Waterfowl Zone: Balance of State WF Zone
- Website: Humboldt Bay NWR
I. Regulatory Summary
A. General Regulations
Humboldt is owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. In addition to our summary of Refuge-specific regulations below, link to our summary of general regulations from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
B. Refuge-Specific Regulations
Beginning with Par. II , you’ll find an alphabetical summary of legal topics that combine Refuge-specific rules and regulations from the following sources:
Warning shot!!! There may be additional rules located at the Refuge (e.g. check station window, entry permit, information booth, signs, permits, reservations).
II. Summary of Refuge Rules and Regulations
A. General Refuge-Specific Rules and Regulations
Warning shot!!! For waterfowl hunting regulations applicable to the Salmon Creek Unit, see Par. B below
Access: ONLY by boat to the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units. Warning shot!!! No access to the Refuge through closed areas
ADA: see “Salmon Creek Unit,” Par. B below
Bikes: allowed only on the paved entrance road
Blinds: only portable or temporary blinds constructed of natural materials are allowed and must be removed daily after each hunt
Boats: access ONLY by boat to the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units.
Camping & overnight: NO overnight parking or camping
- Closed areas: dogs are NOT allowed
- Eureka Slough Unit: see “Retrieval zones” below
- Jacoby Creek Unit: see “Retrieval zones” below
- Table Bluff Unit: see “Retrieval zones” below
Dogs: except while hunting–
- Closed areas: dogs are NOT allowed for any reason
- Control: dogs must either remain in the vehicle or on a leash and must be under control at all times.
Warning shot!!! Link to our summary for dog hunting regulations (also see “Pets” below)
Firearms: to remain unloaded while being transported between parking areas and hunting sites
Fires: NOT allowed
Fireworks: NOT allowed
Free-roam: (a) everywhere except the Salmon Creek unit; (b) only portable blinds are allowed
Horses: NOT allowed
Hunt areas: hunting is only allowed on designated areas–
- Salmon Creek Unit: see Par. B below
- Table Bluff Unit: located at the SW corner of S. Bay
- Eureka Slough Unit: portions
- Jacoby Creek Unit: portions and the free-roam area
- Egret Island: Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays, including holidays
- Eureka Slough Unit: DAILY on those portions adjacent to the shoreline
- Hookton Slough: Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays, including holidays
- Jacoby Creek Unit: DAILY on those portions adjacent to the shoreline
- Salmon Creek Unit: see Par. B below
- Table Bluff Unit: DAILY on those portions adjacent to the shoreline
- Teal Island: Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays, including holidays
Kites: NOT allowed
Litter: see “Personal property” below
Lottery: see “Salmon Creek Unit,” Par. B below
Natural resources: collecting natural objects such as plants, animals, feathers, antlers, and objects of antiquity (including Native American artifacts) is strictly prohibited.
Personal property: at the end of each day, remove all blinds, decoys, shotshell casings, personal equipment, trash, etc.
Pets: dog walking and pets are NOT allowed (see “Dogs” above)
Regulations: hunting is governed by federal and state regulations, including Refuge-specific regulations
Retrieving zones: within 100 yards of any roadway on the following units are designated as retrieval zones only–
- Eureka Slough
- Jacoby Creek
- Table Bluffs
- Shells: 25 max while hunting on the Salmon Creek Unit
- Shot: only steel or other non-toxic shot approved by the USFWS
- Shot size: no larger than “T” in steel or “BB” in other non-toxic shot
Shoot times: coincides with State except on Salmon Creek, Par. B below (click here for shoot times for the Eureka area in Northern California
Shooting: see “Closures” above
- Eureka Slough Unit—NO hunting within 100 yards of Hwy 101
- Jacoby Creek Unit—NO hunting within 100 yards of Hwy 101
- Salmon Creek Unit—see “Salmon Creek Unit,” Par. B below
- Table Bluff Unit (SW corner of S. Bay)
- Driving: NO driving except on the paced entrance road
- Parking: ONLY in designated areas
Violations: report violations, such as poaching, by calling 888-DFG-CALTIP
Weapons: except for hunting, weapons are NOT allowed
B. Salmon Creek Unit (Waterfowl Hunting)
ADA blind: one blind is available for mobility-impaired hunters (see “Hunt map” below), defined as any person who has either a–
- DMV Disabled license plate,
- Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License (FG Form 1460), or
- Permanent parking placard identification card*
* The blue plastic “Disabled Parking Placard” may NOT be substituted for the required “Identification card,” which bears the name of the mobility impaired person. Disabled hunters must provide the registration certificate for DMV issued disabled license plates. Warning shot!!! When the disabled hunter vacates the blind, his or her party must vacate as well.
Bag limits: link to our summary of seasons and limits for ducks and geese
- ADA blind: see above
- Assignments: all blinds are assigned through the “Lottery” and re-fill procedures. Hunters are required to remain in their designated zone except to retrieve downed birds–NO free roam
- Availability: determined by habitat conditions
- Hunt map: see below
- Zones: click image for “Blind Zone Regulations”
Enforcement: federal officers patrol the Refuge to ensure compliance with Refuge rules and regulations
Fees: see “Permits” below
Hunt areas: vary by zone assignment, which includes blinds, pit blinds, cattails, and sloughs (see “Blinds” above)
Hunt days: Saturdays and Tuesdays except the Salmon Creek Unit is CLOSED on Federal holidays
Hunt map: click for location of pit blinds, stand up blinds and zone boundaries (also see our Google map for directions, etc.)
Juniors: must be accompanied by an adult, age 18 or over
Location: adjacent to the Visitor Center is located on the west side of Hwy 101, approximately halfway between Eureka and Fortuna. Take the Hookton Road exit. (See our Google map)
Lottery: there is a random drawing at the check station to establish the order of issuing permits, which are required for entry. Also see “Parties” and “Waiting list” below
- Check station: opens two hours before “Shoot time” (see below)
- Sign-in: hunters or groups of hunters must sign in at the check station by their name(s) on a 3X5 card and give it to the attendant.
- Lottery number: upon sign-in, hunters will receive a lottery number
- Participation: hunters must be present for the drawing in order to participate
- Lottery #1: the drawing is held one and one-half (1 1/2) hour before shoot time, after which numbers are posted in the order in which they were drawn
- Options: if a participant is one of the first fourteen (14) drawn, the hunter may opt to either (a) select an available blind, (b) join with any other hunter called ahead of them (see “Parties” below), OR (c) request a re-fill number by telling the check station attendant. If called after the first fourteen are called, the participant may either (a) join up with one of the first fourteen OR request a “Re-fill” number (see below).
- Re-fill: at 10:00 a.m., the check station attendant assigns priority based on the morning draw. Warning shot!!! Hunters must be present in order to maintain position from the morning draw. Hunters that did not participate in the Lottery may sign in to receive a re-fill number. Hunters with re-fill priority may either (a) join up with a hunter called for re-fill, (b) select an available blind, or (b) pass it to the next group in line. However, re-fills end at 12:00 p.m.
Parties: each lottery card ensures entry of up to four (4) individuals per blind area (see “Blinds” above)
- Entry: a permit is required for entry onto the Unit
- Fee: operated under the Federal Recreation User Program, the fee varies by age and mobility:
15 and under: no fee
16 through 61: $10 for paired or $20 for single
62 and older: 1/2 price with a Golden Age Passport
- Mobility-impaired: 1/2 price with a Golden Access Passport
- Issuance: permits are issued through a random drawing on the morning of each hunt day (see “Lottery” above)
- Reporting: Hunters must return their permit to the check station by 4:30 p.m. and report hunting results
- Revocation: see “Revocation” below
Reservations: NOT applicable
Revocation: hunting on the Refuge is a privilege–not a right. Permits may terminated or revoked by the Refuge Manager (or designee) for the following reasons–
- Noncompliance with the terms of the permit
- Violation of any law, regulation or order applicable to the Refuge
- To protect public health or safety
- To protect resources of the Refuge
Seasons: link to our summary of seasons and limits for ducks and geese
- Begins: link to our summary of shooting hours. Click “Northern California” and go to the column for “Eureka”
- Ends: at 3 p.m. Warning shot!!! Hunters must return their permit to the check station by 4:30 p.m. and report hunting results
Vehicles: the speed limit is 25 mph while on the Unit
C. Sport Fishing
Access: only by boat except the Hookton Slough trail and dock
Boats: only non-motorized boats
Common species: varies with season, time of day and tides, but includes sharks, rays, jack smelt, greenling, starry flounder, English sole and halibut
Fishing areas: see map (pictured right)
- Humboldt Bay: the Bay and its tidal sloughs are open year round
- Hookton Slough: the designated trail and boat dock are open
Hours: only from sunrise to sunset (no night fishing)
License: a California fishing license is required in all “Fishing areas” (see above)
Methods of Take: Only pole and line and rod and reel
Tips: Fishing is generally best during the two hours before and after a high tide. Fishing small pieces of squid or herring is often a successful approach to catching a wide variety of estuarial fish species. Click here for more information on fishing in Humboldt Bay and rigging tips.
III. Refuge Rules and Regulations
50 CFR § 32.24
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
A. Migratory Game Bird Hunting. We allow hunting of goose, duck, coot, common moorhen, and snipe on designated areas of the refuge in accordance with State regulations subject to the following conditions:
1. We require adults age 18 or older to accompany youth hunters under age 16. No more than three youth hunters may accompany one adult hunter.
2. You may only possess approved non-toxic shot while in the field (see §32.2(k)).
3. We prohibit public access into or through closed areas and designate closed areas as nonretrieval zones.
4. You may only use portable blinds in the free-roam hunting areas (i.e., all hunt areas except Salmon Creek Unit).
5. You must remove all blinds, decoys, shell casings, and other personal equipment and refuse from the refuge at the end of each day (see §§27.93 and 27.94 of this chapter) .
6. We require hunters to keep dogs inside vehicles, or on a leash, except when using them for authorized hunting purposes (see §26.21(b) of this chapter).
7. On the Salmon Creek Unit, we allow hunting on Tuesdays and Saturdays (except Federal holidays), and hunters must possess and carry a valid daily refuge permit. We issue refuge permits prior to each hunt by random drawing conducted at the check station 11⁄2 ; hours before legal shooting time. Shooting time ends at 3 p.m. Hunters drawn for a blind must completely fill out a Refuge Hunt Permit, which includes a “Record of Harvest” section. Each hunter must possess and carry the Refuge Hunt Permit/Record of Harvest document while on the refuge and turn in a complete Record of Harvest at the check station before leaving the hunt area.
8. On the Salmon Creek Unit, you may possess only approved non-toxic shotshells (see §32.2(k)) in quantities of 25 or less per hunter, per day.
9. On the Salmon Creek Unit, we restrict hunters to within 100 feet (30 meters) of the assigned hunt site except for placing and retrieving decoys, retrieving downed birds, or traveling to and from the parking area. You must unload firearms (see §27.42(b) of this chapter) while transporting them between the parking lot and designated blind sites.
10. We open the Table Bluff Unit (southwest corner of South Bay) to hunting.
11. We open portions of the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units to hunting. We designate the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units as boat access only. On the Eureka Slough and Jacoby Creek Units, we prohibit hunting within 100 yards (90 meters) of Highway 101.
B. Upland Game Hunting. [Reserved]
C. Big Game Hunting. [Reserved]
D. Sport Fishing. We allow fishing on the refuge in accordance with State regulations subject to the following condition: We allow fishing from the designated shoreline trail and dock (for nonmotorized boats only) at the Hookton Slough Unit from legal sunrise to legal sunset, only using pole and line or rod and reel.
Refuge Webpage Hunting Brochures
Salmon Creek Unit Blinds