Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

Idaho

(208) 467-9278

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1909, is one of the nation's oldest refuges. Located southwest of Boise, Idaho, the refuge includes the Lake Lowell sector (10,588 acres) and the Snake River Islands sector (about 800 acres). Lake Lowell is an irrigation project reservoir that provides an oasis for wildlife in this arid region. The late-summer drawdown of the lake reveals mud flats that provide food for a variety of resident and migratory wildlife. Historic wintering waterfowl populations averaged over 300,000 birds. This number has now declined to near 100,000. The Snake River Islands (101 islands along 113 miles of river) provide a diversity of habitats " from small wetlands to sagebrush uplands. Several islands house heron rookeries and gull colonies, and provide feeding and resting spots for migratory birds. The refuge is popular with the public. Each year, more than 100,000 people visit to hunt, fish, photograph and view wildlife, learn about natural resources through displays and programs at the visitor center, and walk the nature trail. The refuge is open all year from dawn to dusk. The refuge visitor center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on Federal holidays.

Map of Deer Flat NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 43.457654, -116.753769

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boating ramps are provided and you are encouraged to check out the self-guided Lake Lowell Sector Bird Tour or the Snake River Islands Sector Bird Tour.

  • Bird Watching

    Since 1950, over 215 bird species have been recorded at the refuge. Bald eagles, osprey, great-horned owls and great blue herons are just a few of the highlights that nest on the refuge. A complete list of birds can be found at fws.gov/deerflat.

  • Fishing

    Visitors to Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge can fish at Lake Lowell or from the Snake River Islands. Limits and seasons are set by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, as appropriate. Contact them for current fishing regulations.

    At Lake Lowell, game fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, bluegill, rainbow trout, channel catfish and brown bullhead. Fishing usually picks up in mid-May. Try for bass in flooded vegetation. As water temperatures rise, crappie and bluegill action increases. A prime spot for catfish and bullhead fishing is the shallow water in front of the Lower Embankment. Late in the season, fishing below the outlets of the lake is often productive.

  • Hiking

    Hike, mountain-bike, or ride your horse on existing roads and trails in the North Side, East Side, or South Side Recreation Areas.

  • Hunting

    Visitors can hunt on both the Lake Lowell and the Snake River Islands units of the refuge. Limits and seasons are set by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, as appropriate. Contact them for current hunting regulations.

    Some special regulations apply at the refuge: -All waterfowl, coot, upland game, and mourning dove hunters on the refuge are required to use non-toxic shot and may not possess lead shot in the field. -Target shooting is prohibited. -Although use of permanent blinds is prohibited, portable blinds are allowed if they are removed at the end of each day. Temporary blinds may be constructed from natural vegetation less than 3 inches in diameter and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Hunting on the Lake Lowell Unit is limited to the East Side and South Side Recreation Areas. Hunting at the Lake Lowell Unit is restricted to upland game birds, mourning doves, ducks, and coots. Goose hunting is prohibited throughout the Lake Lowell Unit of the refuge.

    All duck and coot hunting must take place within 200 yards of the water's edge. Duck and coot hunting in the East Side Recreation Area is walk-in only. Duck and coot hunters in the South Side Recreation Area may use float tubes, non-motorized boats, or boats with electric motors only.

  • Wildlife Watching

    With over 250 bird species and 30 mammal species on the refuge, the patient observer or photographer has many excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. In recent years, nesting osprey have been visible in spring and summer on the nest platform visible from the observation room. In winter, large numbers of bald eagles can often be seen from the observation room. The refuge is open all year from dawn to dusk. The refuge visitor center is open weekdays from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., except on Federal holidays. Wildlife is generally most active in the mornings and early evenings. Each season brings different wildlife-viewing opportunities. The best season for viewing a wide variety of wildlife is from September through December.

Directions

Driving

Take Exit 35 off Interstate 84. Go north 1/2 mile to Karcher Road. Turn left and go west 3 miles to Lake Avenue. Turn left and go south 3 miles to the Upper Dam. Cross the dam to the refuge Visitor Center.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(208) 467-9278

Links