2239 N State Rd 103, New Castle, IN 47362
J.E. Roush Lake FWA, 517 N Warren Road, Huntington, IN 46750
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Office: Managed by J.E. Roush Lake FWA: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. – noon and 1 - 3 p.m. ET
Property: 24/7. Some activities may have specific open times, especially if there is a draw. Please call property for questions.
Wilbur Wright Fish & Wildlife Area is 1,070 acres of river valleys and associated uplands in Henry County. The Big Blue River is the western boundary, and the dark, organic soil floodplain occupies approximately one-third of the property. The remainder of the property is the adjacent uplands and the Little Blue River valley. The property has areas of mature woods, fallow cropland, prairie grasses and forbs, and other areas of early to mid-successional habitat. There are also areas of annual and perennial wildlife food plots, and there is a small wetland near the Big Blue River. An ADA accessible hunting area featuring a mix of upland and woodland is located on the property.
Wilbur Wright was created with surplus state lands transferred from the Indiana Department of Mental Health (New Castle State Hospital) to the DNR Division of State Parks in 1972. The acreage was transferred to the Division of Fish & Wildlife in 1974, when wildlife management began with trees and food plots planted throughout the property.
Most revenues used in land acquisition, development, operation, and maintenance of Wilbur Wright FWA are derived from the sales of hunting, fishing, and trapping license 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.
Additional recreational opportunities are available at other properties managed by this office. The properties include Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area, Randolph County Wildlife Management Area, and Modoc Wildlife Management Area. Details.
A pit toilet is located at the Wilbur Wright office parking lot.
Property visitors are encouraged to sign in, and those participating in a hunting activity are required to sign in. This sign-in location at the office front porch location is open 24/7.
- Fishing is available on the Big Blue and Little Blue rivers that run through the property. You can find locations on the Where to Fish map.
- The Big Blue is stocked with rainbow trout once a year. Carp and smallmouth bass are also present in the rivers.
- Trout fishing on the Big Blue River begins at 6 a.m. on the last Saturday in April.
- No fishing is allowed in the Big Blue River from April 15 until the last Saturday in April.
- Only shoreline fishing is available at Wilbur Wright FWA.
- A boat ramp is available at nearby Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area.
- Fishing does not require check-in.
- See Fishing Regulations for details.
- Deer, rabbit, quail, squirrel, dove, woodcock, and waterfowl are common at Wilbur Wright FWA.
- Check-in is required. All hunting seasons and bag limits apply. See hunting regulations for details.
- Hunting areas accessible to persons with disabilities are available. Call J.E. Roush Lake FWA office for more details.
- Dog training is allowed on Wilbur Wright FWA.
- Deer stands are allowed overnight between Sept. 15 and Jan. 10. Tree stands must be marked with the owner’s name, address, and phone number OR the owner’s DNR Customer ID Number. Fasteners (e.g., screw-in steps and screw-in bow and gun hangers) and anything else used in conjunction with a tree stand and a tree or pole climber that penetrates a tree more than ½ inch is prohibited.
- There is no draw for dove season; it is open per state regulations.
- There is no draw for turkey season; it is open per state regulations.
- During turkey season, including youth turkey dates, only turkey hunters are allowed on the property until after 1 p.m.
- Shooting range
Until further notice, the shooting range at Wilbur Wright FWA will be closed the last weekend of every month due to low staffing issues. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. If you are interested in a part-time range safety officer position at the range at Wilbur Wright FWA, please call 260-468-2165.
- Shooting ranges are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis and only when certified range safety officers are on duty. The ranges at Wilbur Wright FWA are free to use.
- All shooters must obey range rules and regulations.
- Ranges are available for archery, handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
- Hours of operation:
- Open: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday – Sunday
- Closed: Monday and Tuesday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
- Winter Hours for January and February: Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Closed Monday – Thursday
- See the Fish & Wildlife Area Shooting Ranges webpage for more details.
- Trapping is available through draw only, which is held the first Saturday in October at 10 a.m. Call office for details.
- View statewide trapping regulations in the Hunting & Trapping Guide.
- Wildlife watching & birding
- The 1,070 acres of upland, marsh, and wooded habitat areas at Wilbur Wright FWA attract more than 200 species to the property.
- Wilbur Wright FWA is an excellent songbird viewing area year-round.
- No sign in is required to wildlife watch, scout, and hike.
Biking at Wilbur Wright FWA is limited to county roads and the paved bike path that runs on the south boundary.
- Dog running
- Dog training is allowed on Wilbur Wright FWA.
- During dog running season, dogs can be used for active pursuit of game.
- Mushrooms, berries, and nuts may be gathered; however, a written permit is required to remove plants, animals, rocks, and fossils. No treasure hunting allowed.
- Please note that during spring turkey season, no other visitors are allowed on the property until after 1 p.m. ET. Please call the office for dates and any questions.
- Hiking & walking
- Hiking and walking are allowed on the property.
- Access lanes are mowed a few times a year and are available for a more backcountry hiking experience.
- During hunting seasons, it is recommended that hiking and walking be done only in safety zones and only when wearing orange or another bright color. Examples of safety zones include the office and shop area.
- Water recreation
- The Big Blue and Little Blue rivers run through this property.
- Swimming is prohibited.
- Canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are allowed.
- Anyone in a canoe, kayak, or on a paddleboard must be in possession of a wearable personal flotation device (PFD) while on the water.
Need a reason to get outside and move? You can volunteer alone or in small groups at this property. Some activities include trash pickup, invasive plant removal, painting, and more. Call the property office for details.
Other properties managed by this office
- J.E. Roush FWA provides quality outdoor recreational opportunities while maintaining 7,347 acres of land, 900 acres of lake, and 350 acres of impoundments. The property, which is approximately 15 miles long, is a long narrow band along the Wabash River. This property has mandatory check-in at self-service stations for all activities. Checking in includes obtaining a free one-day access permit, keeping it on your person while visiting, and returning it at the end of your visit. There are draws for some species. Please contact the office for more details..
- Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area is a 210-acre public property with a concrete boat ramp and bass, bluegill, and catfish fishing. This area also offers upland game, woodland, and waterfowl hunting. It has a self-service check-in station on site and has a mandatory check-in for hunting. No check-in is required for fishing. A draw is held online for opening weekend of waterfowl season and, for only those two days, waterfowl hunting is restricted only to drawn waterfowl hunters.
- Randolph County Wildlife Management Area is a 519-acre public property that offers upland, woodland, and waterfowl hunting.
- Modoc Wildlife Management Area is a 167-acre public property that offers upland and woodland hunting.
- Dog training is not allowed on the above properties; dogs can only be used for active pursuit of game.
- To learn more about the location and types of activity on these properties, view the Where to Hunt map.