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Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges

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Tulelake, California



Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) is a complex of six refuges; Lower Klamath, Tule Lake, and Clear Lake in northern California and Bear Valley, Upper Klamath, and Klamath Marsh Refuges in southern Oregon. The refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the conservation and enhancement of wildlife and their habitats. Historically, the Klamath Basin was dominated by approximately 185,000 acres of shallow lakes and freshwater marshes. These extensive wetlands attracted peak fall concentrations of millions of waterfowl and supported abundant populations of other water birds including American white pelican, double-crested cormorant, and several heron species. During the early 1900s, many wetlands were converted to agricultural lands. Today, less than 25 percent of historical wetlands remain, most of which are protected by refuge status.

Diverse Habitats Support Diverse Wildlife

A variety of habitats occur on the refuges, including freshwater marshes, open water, grassy meadows, coniferous forests, sagebrush and juniper grasslands, agricultural lands, and rocky cliffs and slopes. Totaling more than 180,000 acres, these habitats support diverse and abundant populations of resident and migratory wildlife with 433 species observed or believed present on the refuges.

Viewing Refuge Wildlife

The Klamath Basin NWRs offer excellent, year-round wildlife observation opportunities. Auto tour routes are available at Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges while Silver Lake Road at Klamath Marsh Refuge also affords good viewing. Self-guided canoe tour routes are provided at Tule Lake, Upper Klamath, and Klamath Marsh Refuges. A 10-mile walking and bicycle trail meandering by the marshland and through the forested upland is available at Klamath Marsh Refuge. Exceptional viewing of early morning bald eagle flyouts from their winter roost at Bear Valley Refuge is available just outside the refuge. More information on these refuges and facilities is available from Refuge Headquarters/Visitor Center.

Binoculars, a spotting scope, and wildlife field guides will enhance your viewing experience. Staying in your vehicle, when practical, increases observation opportunities and reduces disturbance to wildlife. Remember to stop by the Refuge Visitor Center for current wildlife viewing information.


A variety of fish species occur in the waters of the Klamath Basin NWRs. The majority of these fish play an important role by serving as an abundant food source for the many fish-eating species of wildlife on the refuges.

Fishes are listed by family in accordance with A List of common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States and Canada, 4th edition, 1980 ( C. Robbins, Federally threatened or endangered species are marked with a "#" symbol.

LAMPREYS ___ Pit-Klamath Brook Lamprey ___ Pacific Lamprey
STURGEONS ___ White Sturgeon
TROUTS ___ Rainbow Trout ___ Brook Trout ___ Brown Trout ___ Kokanee Salmon
MINNOWS ___ Tui Chub ___ Fathead Minnow ___ Blue Chub ___ Speckled Dace
SUCKERS ___ Lost River Sucker# ___ Shortnose Sucker# ___ Klamath Largescale Sucker
CATFISHES ___ Brown Bullhead
SUNFISHES ___ Sacramento Perch ___ Largemouth Bass ___ Green Sunfish ___ White Crappie ___ Pumpkinseed ___ Black Crappie ___ Bluegill
PERCHES ___ Yellow Perch
SCULPINS ___ Klamath Lake Sculpin ___ Slender Sculpin ___ Marbled Sculpin


We are indebted to the many visiting professional and amateur wildlife observers who have assisted the refuge staff by providing important wildlife observations throughout the years. Our list is not considered final as we are sure new observations will continue to add to its accuracy. We encourage and appreciate all observations and ask that they be reported to refuge headquarters as soon as possible.

We would also like to express special thanks to staff from the University of California-Davis, Oregon State University, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for their help in the preparation of this resource.

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges headquarters is located five miles west of Tulelake, one-half mile south of the end of East-West Road.

For more information, please contact:

                           Refuge Manager
                           Klamath Basin NWRs
                           Route 1, Box 74
                           Tulelake, CA 96134
                           Phone: 916-667-2231

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages national fish hatcheries and national wildlife refuges throughout the country for the continued conservation, protection, and enhancement of our fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.
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