Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

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Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is the perfect spot to escape urban life in nearby Sacramento and Davis. Bird watchers, hunters and schoolchildren all come to the area to experience wildlife up-close in nature.

Located in the heart of the Pacific Flyway, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area's approximately 16,600 acres is a haven for fish, waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds, neotropical migratory birds, raptors, invertebrates, snakes, turtles, toads, and bats. Vegetation community types include managed seasonal and permanent wetland, natural seasonal wetland, natural perennial wetland, and riparian woodland.

For more information, call the area at (530) 757-2461 or the Bay Delta Region's Fairfield office at (707) 428-2002.

Recreational Opportunities

wildlife viewing waterfowl hunting pheasant hunting hunting with shotgun

During winter months the wildlife area may be periodically closed due to flooding. Check the Emergency Closures web page for further information.

Activities: wildlife viewing, bird watching, educational programs, nature exploration, and hunting

Hours: open all year round from sunrise to sunset except for Christmas Day

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.

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You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Hunting Opportunities

Type A: Yolo Bypass 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.

Approximately 7,900 acres of wetland and upland habitat are open to waterfowl and upland game hunting. Hunting is only permitted Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday during waterfowl season and every day during the September dove season. All hunters must check in at the hunter check station to obtain an entry permit.

Reservations: Available during the waterfowl and pheasant seasons. Hunters without reservations may register at the Wildlife Area office at 45211 County Road 32B in Davis between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays for Wednesday and Saturday hunt days. Lottery for Sunday hunt days will be conducted at the hunter check station all day until 7:00 p.m on Saturdays. Hunters without reservations or lottery numbers will be assigned first-come, first-served numbers beginning 2.5 hours before shooting time at the hunter check station, which is located within the bypass. All lottery results will be posted online at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area - Lottery Drawing Results.

Holiday Lotteries.

  • Thanksgiving. The lottery for the Saturday following Thanksgiving will be held on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at 7:00 p.m. Signups are all day at the Check Station on that Wednesday until 7:00 p.m.
  • The Wildlife Area is closed Christmas Day. When Christmas falls on a Saturday, to hunt the Sunday after Christmas, the lottery will be held at the Check Station on the previous hunt day (Wednesday) until 7:00 p.m.
  • New Years Day (if January 1 falls on a hunt day on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday) - the lottery will be held between 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. as normal.

Assigned Blinds: Sixteen assigned blind sites are available for waterfowl hunting in the Northeast Unit of the Wildlife Area. Each blind site consists of two concrete double pit blinds and has a capacity of four (4) hunters. Pheasant hunting is not permitted in the assigned blind area. Parking is available in Lots F and H.

Blinds are issued during the morning up to one hour before shooting time in the following order: Hunters with reservations, hunters with a lottery number, and hunters in the sweat line on a first come first serve basis. Blinds are refilled continuously until 2:00 p.m.

  • Hunters must hunt from their assigned blinds, except to retrieve downed birds.
  • Hunters may not access the free-roam area north of the Northeast Unit from parking lot H.
  • Please replace blind covers before departing
  • Please remove all litter including empty shotgun shells when you leave your blind

Disabled Accessible Blind Pond: Disabled Accessible (DA) Blind capacity is three (3) individuals. DA blinds are filled by reservation held for one hour, then filled as first-come first-serve after the hour has expired. The first-come first-serve will be in an order determined by lottery number (in number order) then by sweat-line number. If no one takes the blind then it will be left open. No able body hunters (non-mobility impaired hunters) will be allowed to take the blind.

One free roam party can also fill the disabled accessible hunting area. However, this party must have proper paperwork and is restricted to standard reservation / lottery filling quotas, i.e. they can only bring one additional adult with them. If no one takes the disabled accessible free roam hunting area it will be left open with no able body individuals filling it.

Both of these will only be refilled during the standard blind refilling procedures until 2:00 p.m.

The disabled accessible free roam party will not be counted against the total free roam quota for the area. The free roam hunting party take (harvest information) will be added to the general total and not the disabled accessible blind total.

Every hunting party must have a mobility impaired hunter and must provide the registration certificate for Department of Motor Vehicle issued disabled license plates.

Checking Stations: During approved hunting seasons, the parking lot and checking stations will open at least 2 1/2 hours before shooting time. Overnight parking is not permitted.


Educational Activities

Increasingly, people and birds are drawn to the Yolo wetlands. Scientists, bird enthusiasts and schoolchildren visit the wetlands on guided tours to witness first-hand the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of waterfowl.

Through the Discover the Flyway program, the Yolo Basin Foundation has, in partnership with CDFW, trained hundreds of teachers to lead thousands of schoolchildren on field activities while visiting Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.

The Yolo Basin Foundation believes that education is the cornerstone of perpetual protection for our wetlands and wildlife.

Area History

The Yolo Basin was once a nearly 80,000-acre wetland teeming with wildlife, from herds of tule elk roaming its marshes to dense clouds of migratory waterfowl seeking winter food and shelter. Over time the basin has been profoundly altered by human activity. In more recent history, the majority of lands within the Bypass have been used for grazing and farming with limited wetland management taking place on private waterfowl hunting club lands.

The area was designated as a Wildlife Area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1994. The historic culture of waterfowl hunting on private clubs continues to this day on properties neighboring the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. The goals of reestablishing wetland habitat for water birds and other wildlife, while still maintaining the agricultural character and flood control function of the Bypass, are at the core of the Wildlife Area's mission.


While Yolo Bypass retains its historic flood-control priority, the area has been restored to create permanent ponds and seasonal wetland for wintering waterfowl and other species.

Thanks to the CDFW's partnerships and collaborative efforts with the Yolo Basin Foundation, Californians are the beneficiaries of a unique wildlife sanctuary.

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Related Documents

Management Plan

Outdoor California Articles

map of Yolo Bypass WA location - click to enlarge in new window
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Bay Delta Region (Region 3)

Yolo County

about 3 miles east of Davis (3 miles west of West Sacramento), off Interstate 80


From eastbound I-80: Take the East Chiles Road exit and travel east one-quarter mile to the west levee access.

From westbound I-80: Take the "County Road 32A East Chiles Road" exit immediately west of the west end of the Yolo Causeway, turn right at stop sign and head south under freeway to west levee access.

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