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Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

National Park Contact Information

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
Route 2, Box 138
Cibola, 85328

National Park Overview

Nature of the Area

Over 288 species of birds have been found on Cibola NWR, including many species of migratory songbirds, Gambels quail, roadrunners, mourning and white-winged doves, phainopepla, greater sandhill cranes, Canada and snow geese, Vermillion flycatchers, grosbeaks and many more. The bald eagle, southwestern willow flycatcher and Yuma clapper rail are among the endangered birds that use Cibola NWR. Other listed species include the desert tortoise, razorback sucker, bonytail chub, and desert pupfish. t is not uncommon to see desert mule deer, bobcat, and coyotes on the refuge, particularly while driving the auto tour loop in the early morning or evening. About 85% of Arizonas wintering goose population resides on Cibola NWR.

A host of species reside on the refuge year-around. Many of the aquatic birds nest in the backwaters of the river. It is a common sight to see western and Clarks grebe young riding on their parents back in Cibola Lake during the spring. Other common sights may include a heron and egret rookery, nesting mourning and white-winged doves, barn owls, burrowing owls, kestrels, white-faced ibis and more.

Fishing and Hunting


Cibola NWR provides opportunities to fish for the following species largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, sunfish, tilapia, and common carp. Possession of the Colorado River fishing stamp allows licensed anglers of either California or Arizona to fish any open area on the refuge.

Cibola Lake and adjoining lands are closed to all activities from Labor Day to March 15 in order to provide a safe and undisturbed area for the wintering waterfowl. Fishing, however, is permitted in a boat on the main channel of the Colorado River and all land and water to the west.


Public hunting on Cibola NWR is permitted in specified areas. Hunting opportunities are available for the following species Canada geese, snow geese, ducks, coots, gallinules, Gambels quail, mourning and white-winged doves, mule deer (bow, gun, muzzle loader), and cottontail rabbits. Hunting shall be conducted in accordance with all applicable state and Federal regulations along with the following special regulations. See the refuge Hunt Brochure for more information including areas open to hunting.All hunting on the refuge ends at 300 p.m. MST with the following exceptions mule deer hunting Farm Unit 2. Goose hunting is permitted until sunset.

Hart Mine Marshentry is permitted from 1000 a.m. to 300 p.m. MST during the Arizona waterfowl season.

Island Unitthe Island Unit opens at 430 a.m. MST.

Farm Unit 2a permit is required to goose hunt in Farm Unit 2. Farm Unit 2 is closed to all hunting except goose hunting during the Arizona waterfowl season. Consult Farm Unit 2 hunting brochure for details and requirements.

Pretty WaterDuring the Arizona/California waterfowl hunting season, no boats, decoys, blind materials or other floating devices may be on Pretty Water until one-half hour before sunrise and must be removed by 300 p.m. MST.

Areas closed to access may not be entered by hunters or dogs to retrieve downed game.

Weapons must be unloaded and encased or dismantled while being transported in a vehicle or boat.

Dogs used for waterfowl or upland game hunting are permitted.

All decoy and blind materials must be removed daily.

Please see refuge hunting brochure for complete information about hunting on the refuge. Farm Unit 2 offers controlled spaced-blind goose hunting opportunities. This hunt requires a permit and blinds are selected on a reservation system, however, a standby drawing will be held every hunt morning for any available blinds. Hunt days for the 2002-2003 goose hunting season will be Saturdays, Sunday, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from November 9 through the end of the Arizona goose hunting season (date not yet determined). Farm Unit 2 hunt hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. A minimum of 12 goose decoys is required. Blind selections are made at the check station promptly at 430 a.m. MST on hunt days. Hunters must have their paperwork completed and turned in prior to 430 a.m. Hunters may print out the sign-in form (make this an active link) here or fill one out on the morning of the hunt. Please see the refuge Farm Unit 2 hunting brochure for complete information on hunting Farm Unit 2.

History of the Area

For centuries, Cibola was part of the ancestral and traditional home of the Yuma Tribes of the Colorado River, principally the Mohave and Quechan. Archeologist refger to the prehistoric Yumans as the "Patayan". The peopel farmed the river floodplain, which flooded annually depositing rich soils for crops. Following each harvest, the people left the river to hunt and gather wild plants in the neighboring desert uplands, returning to the river once again to plant crops, after the spring floods had subsided. Because of the annual flooding, little physical evidence of their dispersed villages has survived.

In the 1800s, Colorado River steamers plied the river with staples of food and supplies to the small regional settlements of farmers, ranchers, and miners. The origin of the name Cibola is unknown, but is is probably derived from the steamboat landing and community of Cibola where the stamers unloaded freight and took on wood for their boilers.

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Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

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