Gray Lodge Wildlife Area


More than a million waterfowl can't be wrong... visit Gray Lodge!

Gray Lodge's diversity and location along the Pacific Flyway make it a haven for wildlife. Surrounded by miles of rich agricultural lands, the approximately 9,100-acre area is managed for the wildlife that call Gray Lodge home for all or part of the year. Reflective ponds, grassy fields and wooded riparian areas provide food, water and shelter for more than 300 species of resident and migrant birds and mammals.

birds floating on and flying above marsh

People of all ages enjoy visiting Gray Lodge. Wildlife viewing is available year round. Hunters enjoy the many species of wildlife they may take during the regulated hunting seasons. Fishing is also a highlight in the spring and summer. Educational programs, informative exhibits, a self-guided nature trail and seasonal guided tours delight thousands of visitors every year. Find out why Gray Lodge remains popular among the human and wildlife visitors alike.

For more information, contact:
Wildlife Area
Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: (530) 846-7500
Saturday - Sunday: (530) 846-7505
North Central Region, Rancho Cordova office
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.: (916) 358-2900

Recreational Opportunities

wildlife viewing deer hunting waterfowl hunting fishing visitor center tours disabled access restrooms

During winter months areas of the wildlife area may be periodically closed due to flooding.

Activities: wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, educational programs, informative exhibits, a self-guided nature trail, and seasonal guided tours

Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Passes: A CDFW Lands Pass must be in possession by each visitor who is 16 years of age or older, however, visitors who are in possession of a valid California hunting or fishing license in their name are exempt from this requirement. Lands passes may be purchased on-line, by phone at (800) 565-1458, or in-person at locations wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Lands passes cannot be substituted for Hunting Passes, which are required for adult hunters on Type-A and Type-B wildlife areas.
School and organized youth groups, including accompanying adults, are exempt from the lands pass requirement, but should contact the area to schedule a field trip at least two weeks in advance.

Facilities: Restrooms, designated parking lots, a visitor’s museum, and picnic tables with good views of the area can all be accessed from parking lot #14. This lot also connects to a paved trail, sloped for the mobility impaired, that leads to a viewing platform. Designated parking areas and restroom access are available year-round in the Main Business Office, and seasonally at the entrance Check Station area. Lot # 18 and the adjacent viewing hide are also improved for the mobility impaired.

NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

no drones icon
You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Hunting Opportunities

Type A: Gray Lodge Wildlife Area has restricted hunter access during waterfowl and pheasant hunting seasons. Adult hunters are required to purchase a Type A hunting pass in advance in order to exchange for an entry permit.

Turkey hunting is by reservation draw only.

Blinds for mobility-impaired hunters are available during waterfowl seasons.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to changing weather, water availability and management needs, the flood up schedule may change at any time.

Hunt Maps:

Preseason Hunter Outreach:

For more information, call the Gray Lodge Main Office at (530) 846-7500.

Fishing Opportunities

A valid CDFW fishing license is required. Check fishing regulations for current licensing fees. Licenses are not available on the Wildlife Area.

Visitors can enjoy many fishing opportunities at Gray Lodge with its ponds and miles of canals supporting bass, sunfish, perch, catfish and carp. All fishing is from the shore in accordance with general fish regulations. The area is open to fishing seven days a week. From two weeks before waterfowl season to one week after, fishing is restricted to the Avis Access only.

Kids Fishing Derby: Generally held in May, a one-day catfish derby is held for children ages 15 and under. Call Gray Lodge for details about this year's event.

For more information, call the Gray Lodge Main Office at (530) 846-7500.

Volunteer Opportunities

Get involved in satisfying and educational hands-on wildlife conservation projects.

Volunteers at Gray Lodge participate in a variety of special projects, most of which involve working outside. In all seasons, volunteers monitor and help put up wood duck nest boxes, lead nature walks, assist with nature programs for schools, staff the visitors' booth, assist with restoration projects, remove non-native vegetation, contribute to the general maintenance, and act as part of the Gray Lodge team.

Gray Lodge Clean-Up Day draws volunteers of all ages. Highly skilled volunteers can become part of the wildlife and habitat management programs at Gray Lodge.

Many educational fairs and events are partially staffed with volunteers. It is fun and rewarding to share your knowledge as well as learn something new.

Wood Duck Nest Box Program (March - July):

Throughout California, youngsters, seniors, sportsmen, birders, people from all backgrounds are participating in nest box programs that benefit many species of cavity nesting critters.

A nest box program can be as small as one or two bird houses that you would put on a tree in your backyard; and a nest box program can be as large as the 400 Wood Duck nest boxes on the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area that are checked and maintained by over 30 volunteers who travel from as far as Sacramento, Davis and Chico.

Nest box programs increase public awareness of the interrelationships of habitat preservation and wildlife survival. They provide an opportunity for the public to participate in a hands-on wildlife conservation project which fosters a personal sense of stewardship. They also increase viable nesting sites for many species of federally protected cavity nesting species of wildlife.

Sign up for this exciting field study, working with cavity nesting wildlife. Open to the public, ages 18 and over. The orientation workshop for this season-long program is held in March. Due to limited space, reservations are required.

Docent Program - Educational Tours (September - February):

Become a leader in nature study on the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. Children's educational programs are held on Tuesday mornings.  Other public tours are held throughout the week, as reserved.

This opportunity offers experience in communications for those who enjoy sharing a valued pool of knowledge, the appreciation of wildlife and the importance of conservation management. No experience is necessary, since the mentor system allows for a wide range of expertise. Using a hands-on approach to learning, you will be given the guidance needed to actively participate in on-site tours.

These are interpretive positions, based on two-way communication skills, enthusiasm for the topics and accurate information delivery, as we light public inspiration for wildlife and respectful, outdoor recreation. An annual workshop, generally held in late September, is required, for this season-long opportunity. Reservations are required.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife invites your participation in such enjoyable and worthwhile programs.

Each of us has a unique personality, set of enthusiasms, fundamental knowledge and experiences with nature. No matter what your interest, volunteering is important to the resource, the Department and to yourself.

For more information, call the Naturalist Office at (530) 846-7505 or email

Area History

Land management activities at the property that presently comprises Gray Lodge have included flooding, burning, and shallow discing. All of the property was at one time commercially farmed, with one probable exception – there is evidence to indicate that portions of the original 2,540-acre parcel are undisturbed native marsh.

The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1953. The principal land use currently practiced at Gray Lodge is the provision of seasonally flooded wetlands for migratory birds. The 600 acres of riparian woodlands that remain here include cottonwood, willow, blackberry, and wild grape. They provide food, shelter and shade for aquatic and terrestrial species like the garter snake, great blue heron, ringtail, and river otter.

Related Documents


Species Lists

Outdoor California Articles

map of Gray Lodge WA and surrounding area - click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


North Central Region (Region 2)

Butte County

approximately 60 miles north of Sacramento

3207 Rutherford Road
Gridley, CA 95948

Directions: From the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 99, take Highway 99 north to Live Oak. Turn west on Pennington (North Butte) Road. Turn right on Almond Orchard Avenue and continue to entrance. The distance from Live Oak is about eight miles.

Topographic Map (PDF)

CDFW Lands Viewer

Photo Gallery

30 MAR

Students participating in a science project


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