Ruby Lake NWR

Ruby Lake NWR

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Ruby Lake is a natural, spring fed, high elevation marsh, located entirely in the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is divided into the North Dike units and the South Lake.

Pertinent Information

Ruby Lake lies at an elevation of 6,000 feet within a closed basin. The refuge contains over 9,000 acres of lakes, ponds, and waterways intermixed with islands and bulrush stands to the south and manmade diked ponds to the north. The marsh varies in depth from shallow to 12 feet deep. Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge contains largemouth bass, rainbow trout, tiger trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Angler harvest rates average nearly 3 fish per hour and 13.4 fish per angler. The average size for largemouth bass is around 11 inches and trout typically surpassed 15 inches. Typical bass fishing techniques include plugs, rubber worms, and spinner baits as well as bass flies. Most forms of bait such as salmon eggs, worms, and Power Bait work for trout as well as using small lures or tied-flies. Spring through early summer or fall is the best time to fish for trout, while bass fishing is usually good from spring through fall. The North Dike units are open to fishing year round, but are restricted to shore fishing only. The South Lake is only accessible by boat after June 15. The collection ditch (near Gallagher Fish Hatchery) is open to fishing year round, but you may only use artificial lures. Weight records for Ruby Lake NWR include a 9 pound largemouth bass, a 4 pound 14 ounce brook trout, a 25 pound brown trout, a 9 pound 2 ounce cutthroat trout, and, not only a water record but state record, rainbow trout at 16 pound 8 ounce (caught February 10, 2011) and a tiger trout (brown trout x brook trout hybrid) at 13 pound 13 ounce. A Forest Service campground is situated adjacent to Ruby Lake and there are several primitive camping sites scattered in the foothills along the west side.


Between March and October, Ruby Lake is scheduled for 22,300 8-inch rainbow trout, 5,000 tiger trout, and 1,000 brown trout.


The season is open year round in all areas, except as posted, from 1 hour before sunrise to 2 hours after sunset. Between January 1 and June 14, the limit is 3 trout and 5 largemouth bass with a minimum size bass of 10 inches. Between June 15 and December 31, the limit is 3 trout and 10 largemouth bass. Only artificial lures are allowed in the Collection Ditch. Chumming is prohibited. It is unlawful to clean or fillet fish within the refuge boundaries, but a fish cleaning station is provided at the Forest Service campground.

Boating Regulations

Between June 15 and July 31, only motorless boats, float tubes, and boats with electric motors are allowed (for protecting waterfowl nesting). From August 1 through December 31, motorless boats, float tubes, and boats propelled by motors of 10 hp or less are allowed.


From Elko, travel approximately 65 miles over Harrison Pass (Ruby Mountains) on Highway 227/228 to Ruby Valley and the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.


  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Cutthroat Hybrid
  • Tiger Trout
  • Largemouth Bass

  • Regions

  • Eastern Nevada

  • Counties

  • Elko County