Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area is a unique natural area nestled in the Ohio River and Wabash River floodplains in extreme southwest Indiana. Hovey Lake FWA covers approximately 7,404 acres and features a 1,400-acre oxbow lake, other smaller sloughs and marshes, and extensive bottomland hardwood forests. Hovey Lake FWA provides and maintains quality outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and recreational paddling.
The land presently called Hovey Lake FWA has a long history. It was ceded to the state in treaties of 1803 and 1809 and was designated as swampland. The land was then granted to the Wabash and Erie Canal Company. During the 1880s it became the property of Charles J. Hovey. The Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife acquired the first piece of this property in 1939. Additional lands were acquired at other times through purchase or lease from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Most revenues used in land acquisition, development, operation, and maintenance of Hovey Lake FWA are derived from the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. Funds are also received from the federal Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson programs to aid fish and wildlife restoration. These funds are derived from taxes levied on sport hunting, shooting, and fishing equipment. Indiana hunters and anglers are proud to provide this property for the enjoyment of all people.
- A visitors center with property information is located at 8401 HWY 69 S Mount Vernon, IN.
- Restrooms are available during office hours at the visitor’s center.
All hunters, range users, and dog runners are required to sign in and obtain the appropriate one-day access permit before entering the field at this property. The one-day permit card must be completed and returned to a self-service booth, drop box, or property office before you leave.
All other visitors are encouraged to obtain a miscellaneous one-day access permit before entering the field. The one-day access permit should be kept with you while visiting, then completed and returned to a self-service booth, drop box, or the office before you leave. The information you provide will help us identify ways to improve Indiana’s FWAs for all users. We appreciate your patience in taking the extra time to complete the permit. Your feedback and comments are valuable to us.
- Fishing is available on the 1400-acre Hovey Lake and on the Ohio River via a boat ramp on the property.
- Hovey Lake will be closed for fishing from late October until mid-February. Contact property for the exact date each year.
- There are no motor restrictions for Hovey Lake, but a 10-mph speed limit is enforced.
- Hovey Lake is host to good fishing for catfish, as well as excellent bowfishing opportunities.
- The most common game species at Hovey Lake FWA include waterfowl, deer, turkey, and squirrel; however, all the major game species are present.
- Hovey Lake FWA uses a combination of restricted areas, restricted hunter numbers, daily drawings, preseason drawings, and self-service permit check-in to control hunting efforts. Check with the property for current regulations.
- Flooding often limits hunting opportunities. Check with the property for current water conditions.
- All hunting seasons and bag limits apply. See Hunting Regulations for details.
- Archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons are by self-service check-in.
- Tree stands are allowed on the property from Sept. 15 – Jan. 10. Tree stands must have owner information attached and include name, address and phone number, or DNR Customer Identification Number.
- The use of bonus antlerless licenses is prohibited on the property.
- The hunting unit around the lake is closed to deer hunting starting opening day of firearms season.
Small and Upland Game Hunting
- A variety of small and upland game species can be found on the property including fox and gray squirrels, rabbits, crow, and quail.
- These species can be hunted by self-service during their respective hunting seasons.
- The first five days of spring turkey season are reserved hunts that can be applied for online. There will be a stand-by drawing these days for unfilled spots at 4:30 a.m. at the property office.
- Hunting is by self-service check-in for the remainder of the spring season.
- Spring turkey hunting hours are from ½ hour before sunrise until noon CT.
- Fall turkey hunting is by self-service check-in.
- Waterfowl hunting opportunities are offered by draw, reserved hunts, and self-service.
- Daily drawings for draw units are held at 4:30 a.m. during the regular waterfowl season. Please see the Waterfowl Rules and Map and Waterfowl Draw Schedule for more details.
- Hunting is permitted on units not included in the draw system by self-service check-in from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
- Reserved hunt days are Friday and Sunday. Hunters can sign up online for these hunts Aug. 22-Sept. 23.
- No hunting is permitted in the Waterfowl Resting Area.
- Waterfowl hunters may possess a maximum of 25 shot shells daily during the teal, duck, and dark goose seasons.
- Early teal season and dark goose seasons outside of duck season are by self-service check-in from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
- The first two days of dove season, Sept. 1 and 2, are by draw only.
- The drawing will take place at 11 a.m. CT at the Hovey Lake Office.
- Dove hunters may possess a total of 50 shells.
- Shells must be non-toxic.
- Starting Sept. 3, hunting is by self-service from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
- Hovey Lake FWA Dove Fields 2023
- Wetland trapping is allowed through a special drawing at the Hovey Lake FWA office. Drawing date is the first Saturday in October. Call the office for details.
- Wildlife watching & birding
- Bicycling is allowed on all paved and gravel roads that are open to vehicle travel. There are no mountain bike trails and off-road travel is prohibited.
- Dog running
- Dog running is allowed in specific areas on the property. Contact property for maps and rules.
- Mushrooms, berries, and nuts may be gathered; however, a written permit is required to remove plants, animals, rocks, and fossils.
- Hiking & walking
While there are no designated trails, there are mowed lanes that can be used to explore the property. Inquire at the office for what trails are available when you plan on visiting.
- Water recreation
- The 1400-acre Hovey Lake is an excellent spot to explore by paddle while experiencing some of Indiana’s only bald cypress trees up close.
- Swimming is not allowed in Hovey Lake.
- Boat ramp is located at 15000 HWY 69 Mount Vernon, IN 47620.
- Hovey Lake is closed for recreational paddling from late-October until mid-February. Contact property for exact date each year.
- Need a reason to get outside and move? You can volunteer alone or in small groups at this property. Some activities include trash pick-up, basic gardening, painting, and more. Call the property office for details.