Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge

Louisiana

(318) 253-4238

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge protects the important Mississippi/Red River floodplain ecosystem and is open daylight hours year-round for wildlife observation, photography, hunting, fishing, and hiking.

Although mallards, northern pintails, and wood ducks are the most numerous waterfowl species on the refuge, blue- and green-winged teal, northern shovelers, gadwall, and American Widgeon are also common. Primary diving ducks are scaup and ring-necked ducks. Canada, snow, and greater white-fronted geese are present, though less common. Several hundred native species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fishes, and insects are found on the refuge. Common, though often difficult to see, species include bobcats, alligators, red and grey foxes, turkeys, mink, and otter. More frequently encountered are white-tailed deer, raccoons, fox squirrels, beaver, marsh hawks, and wading birds. Many neotropical migratory songbirds use the refuge at various times. Refuge fisheries are composed largely of largemouth bass, gar, crappie, bowfin, bream species, buffalo, carp, and catfish. Endangered species numbers are few and their presence is always marked with special interest. The arctic peregrine falcon is an occasional visitor, and thanks to the refuge's three-year bald eagle reintroduction project, bald eagle sightings are common.

Map of Lake Ophelia NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 31.115341, -92.141047

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Activities

  • Boating

    Lake Ophelia is open only during the Unit 1B archery deer season, only electric or non-motorized boats may be used. Boats may not be left on the refuge overnight. Lake Long, Possum Bayou (South of boat ramp), and Dooms Lake are open all year and only electric or nonmotorized boats may be used. Duck, Nicholas, West Cut Lakes, Possum Bayou (North of boat ramp), Palmetto Bayou and Point Basse are open all year, and motors up to 35 horsepower may be used.

  • Fishing

    The refuge is open for fishing from March 1 to October 15. A hunting, fishing and ATV use permit is required of all hunters and anglers 16 years old and older. Permits may be purchased at the refuge headquarters or by mail.

  • Hiking

    Wildlife observation and photography opportunities are available throughout the year. The refuge has over 20 miles of hiking and ATV trails accessible from designated parking areas. Overnight parking and camping are not permitted on the refuge. There are other public and private campgrounds nearby.

  • Hunting

    The refuge is open for small game, white-tailed deer and waterfowl hunting. A hunting, fishing and ATV use permit is required of all hunters and anglers 16 years old and older. Permits may be purchased at the refuge headquarters or by mail.

Seasonality/Weather

The refuge is open any time of the year from daylight to dark. The best time for seeing wildlife is early in the morning or at dusk. Waterfowl can be seen during the winter months and migratory songbirds and wading birds during the spring and summer. Portions of the refuge are seasonally closed due to flooding and to reduce disturbance to wildlife.

Directions

Driving

The refuge office is at 401 Island Road just north of Marksville, LA. The office can be reached by taking LA. Hwy. 1194 south from LA. Hwy. 1, to Island Road. Highway 1194 becomes Island Road 0.5 miles from the headquarters. An alternate route from Marksville is south on Louisiana Highway 115 to Little California Road, 3.3 miles to Island Road, the headquarters is located 0.5 miles left from the intersection. The refuge itself is 20 miles northeast of Marksville, LA on LA. Hwy. 452.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(318) 253-4238

Links