A place to see birds and other wildlife as well as hunt and fish

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Moffit, North Dakota is a sixteen-mile lake that draws birds and birders during fall, spring and summer. Best times to visit the Refuge are September/October and April/May. Hunting and fishing are other activities enjoyed by visitors. U.S. Fish and Wildlife manages the Refuge.


Long Lake is on the south central flyway so migratory birds use it as they travel from state to state. Late summer draws thousands of Franklin gulls. Mid-September through late October birds will see thousands of sandhill cranes and occasionally whooping cranes resting on the lakebed. By the beginning of November, barring any severe weather conditions, waterfowl populations are at their peak with up to 20,000 white-fronted, Canada, blue, snow geese and 25,000 ducks. Birders often find bald eagles as they follow migrating ducks and geese during spring and fall.

The Refuge’s principal nesting ducks include blue-winged teal, Pintail, mallard and gadwall, along with green-winged teal, American widgeon, redhead, shoveler, ruddy and canvasbacks.

Additional nesting species found at Long Lake Wildlife Refuge include killdeer, piping and upland plover, and American bittern. Wilson’s phalarope, willet, marbled godwit, spotted sandpiper, and American avocet commonly nest on lowlands near to dikes and marshy areas, while gray partridge, ring-necked pheasant, and sharp-tailed grouse occur in habitat further from the shore. Bird watchers will have the rare chance to see Baird’s and sharp-tailed sparrows at the Refuge.

Other Wildlife

The Refuge has many habitats including upland, lake and marsh areas. Cottontail rabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, fox, striped skunk, raccoon, mink, beaver, muskrat, badger, coyote and white-tailed deer are commonly found species at the Refuge.


Hunting at the Refuge is in designated areas only. Yellow and black signs mark prohibited hunting areas. The Refuge is a good place to hunt upland birds and deer. However, hunting migratory birds is illegal. Hunter must carry their licenses with them while hunting. Ring-necked pheasant, Hungarian partridge and sharp-tailed grouse, and Hungarian partridge are legal birds to take. Hunters at the Refuge can only use and possess approved nontoxic shot shells. If planning to hunt at the Refuge: become familiar with the 3,000 acre closed area set aside to allow for upland bird hunting. 


Fishing sites are Long Lake Road and Unit 1.  Northern pike, yellow perch, and walleye commonly caught species. Anglers can also catch carp and bullheads. Daylight is the time to fish at the Refuge. Fishermen can use boats and motors with 25 HP on Long Lake Creek from May through September. All anglers need fishing licenses. The lake is shallow excluding sport fishing. However during high waters, some species may live here for several years. Refuge Headquarters entrance road, the South Fishing Area and B-dike along the township road bordering the South Refuge Boundary provide shore access. The Refuge also has a pier for public use. No fishing from bridges. Fishermen can fish at the Refuge even during icy conditions, as icehouses are available for ice fishing.

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides fishing, hunting, birding, wildlife watching, and interpretation. The Refuge is open year-round. It is an important wetland and has helped to improve the water quality in the area. Fish and Wildlife control its operations.