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Sugar Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area

Field of clover
2310 East SR 364 
Winslow, IN 47598
812-789-2724
Office hours: M-F, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET 
SugarRidgeFWA@dnr.IN.gov
on.IN.gov/sugarridgefwa

Sugar Ridge FWA advisories

  • None at this time.
  • Description

    Sugar Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) is unique in that much of the land has been strip-mined. Sugar Ridge FWA is made up of six separate areas, totaling approximately 8,500 acres. The strip-mined land now features about 100 pits and lakes, along with rows of overburden from the mining operation. The land that has not been mined is mostly rough and rolling.

    A large part of the land which is now Sugar Ridge FWA (Areas I, II and III) was once leased from Amax Coal Company. The leasing began in 1964 and continued until 1980 when most of the land was donated to the Division of Fish & Wildlife. Currently, only Area VI is still leased through Gray Farms, Inc. Most revenues used in land acquisition, development, operation, and maintenance of Sugar Ridge 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.

  • Activities

    All visitors must obtain a one-day access permit before entering the field, regardless of their activity. The one-day access permit must be kept with you while visiting and must be completed and returned to a self-service booth, drop box, or the office before leaving. The information you provide helps us identify ways to improve Indiana’s FWAs for all users. We appreciate your patience in taking the extra time to fill out the permit. Your feedback and comments are valuable to us.

    Please call the office if you need assistance with this.

    Fishing

    • Sugar Ridge FWA provides approximately 145 acres in 24 major fishing pits.
    • Major fish species include bluegill, redear, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.
    • Shoreline fishing is available at some pits.
    • Accessible fishing available on West Twin pit (Area I) and Pigeon Pit (Area II).
    • Boat ramps are available at most pits on Areas I, II, III, and VI.
    • Electric motors only, 12-volt max.
    • All state size and bag limits apply, including the minimum size limit for largemouth bass, which is 14 inches.
    • Bow and spear fishing is permitted according to state fishing laws.
    • No boat rental provided.

    Hunting

    • Deer, quail, rabbit, squirrel, and wild turkey are common at Sugar Ridge FWA.
    • Spring turkey hunting opportunities during the first five days of the season are allocated through a preseason online draw.
    • Self-service check in is required. Self-service permit stations are located on Areas I, III, V, and VI. Daily permit cards must be in the possession of the hunter to enter the field. The cards must be returned to any one of the drop boxes at the end of the day.
    • Drop boxes are located throughout the property.
    • All hunting season and bag limits apply.
    • Quail and rabbit hunting is permitted during legal hunting hours on Wednesday and Sunday only.
    • There is a 50-shell limit for dove hunting and hunters must use nontoxic shot.
    • Night and predator hunting is provided by self-service check in.
    • Dog training is permitted on Area III, west of County Road 300 E.
    • 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.
    • Bonus antlerless deer licenses are not permitted, and the special antlerless deer firearms season is CLOSED on Sugar Ridge FWA.
    • Tern Bar Slough WDCA in Gibson County will host reserved deer hunts during youth, archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons. An in-person draw will be held at Sugar Ridge FWA on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. ET to allocate draw dates. Please call the Sugar Ridge FWA office at 812-789-2724 for more details. For specific draw dates and hunter numbers, view this document.

    Trapping

    • Trapping is only available through a drawing held the first Saturday in October. Contact the office for details.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • 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.

    Wildlife Watching

    • 8,500 acres of upland game habitat, wooded reclaimed mine areas and stripper pits attract a wide variety of songbirds, woodpeckers, hawks, and waterfowl.
    • Mushrooms, berries, and nuts may be gathered; however, a written permit is required to remove plants, animals, rocks, and fossils.

    Shooting Range

    • Shooting ranges for shotgun, rifle, and archery are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • All shooters must read and obey range rules and regulations, sign in, and take a range permit card. When shooters are finished, the permit card should be filled out and returned at the drop box.
    • There is no charge for use.
    • Please visit the Fish & Wildlife Area Shooting Ranges webpage for hours.

    Neighboring Land

  • Rules

    A record of Fish & Wildlife Area property rules can be found on the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Area Rules webpage. Property-specific rules can be found below, if applicable. Contact the property directly for specific questions.

    Permits

    In addition to a hunting and/or fishing license, the following permits are required:

    • All visitors must obtain a one-day access permit before entering the field, regardless of their activity. The one-day access permit must be kept with you while visiting and must be completed and returned to a self-service booth, drop box, or the office before leaving. The information you provide helps us identify ways to improve Indiana’s FWAs for all users. We appreciate your patience in taking the extra time to fill out the permit. Your feedback and comments are valuable to us.
    • Daily permit cards must be in the possession of the property user and recorded through established self-service procedures outlined at the self-service permit stations. Permit drop boxes are in various locations on the property for your convenience.
    • A boat launch permit is NOT required on Sugar Ridge FWA.
  • Maps
  • Other properties managed by this office
    • Blue Grass Fish & Wildlife Area is a unique natural resource area comprising land that was once strip mined. The property covers approximately 2,532 acres and features 28 pits and lakes, with around 600 acres of water. Blue Grass provides hunting, fishing and wildlife watching opportunities. General Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations apply, including the restriction of the use of bonus county antlerless permits. A list of all Fish & Wildlife property rules can be found on the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Area Rules webpage.
    • Little Pigeon Creek Wetland Conservation Area offers a vast array of different habitat types and hunting opportunities. The property is divided into five different units totaling just over 1,900 acres of hardwood, bottomland, marshland, and early successional habitat. Units 1 and 2 are just west of Lincoln State Park near Gentryville. Units 3 and 4 are southeast of Tennyson and are divided by State Road 62. Unit 4 also shares a border with Bloomfield Barren Nature Preserve to the south. Unit 5 is isolated from the other units and is near the Kentucky border. It is just northwest of Hatfield and is divided almost in half by S.R. 66. Deer, turkey, small game, furbearers, and waterfowl can be found on Little Pigeon Creek WCA. Each unit has a portion of Little Pigeon Creek running through it. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are permitted. Most funds used in land acquisition were derived from the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. General Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations apply, including the restriction of the use of bonus county antlerless permits. A list of all Fish & Wildlife property rules can be found on the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Area Rules webpage.
    • Lost Hill Wetland Conservation Area is mostly bottomland hardwoods and emergent wetlands and is in the northern portion of Warrick County with a parking lot on the south side of State Road 68 and is divided by Pigeon Creek. This property offers bank fishing on the creek, trapping of furbearers, waterfowl hunting in the wetlands, and deer and small game hunting in the hardwoods. Of the 357 acres, 40 were donated by Peabody Coal Corporation in 1989. The rest of the property was bought over the years using money from the purchase of the federal duck stamp. General Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations apply, including the restriction of the use of Bonus County antlerless permits. A list of all Fish & Wildlife property rules can be found on the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Area Rules webpage.
    • Straight Line Slough Wildlife Management Area is a unique mix of early successional floodplain habitat and old forest. Located in northern Pike County, this 179-acre parcel borders the East Fork of the White River. The property is named after the old railroad bed of the Straight Line Railroad that runs through it. Before Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) bought this property for I-69 mitigation, it was mostly farmland. Because this property was transferred to the DNR from INDOT, there is a strict limit to management that can be done; however, there is  an abundance of white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, turkey, cottontail rabbit, and more. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are permitted. General Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations apply, including the restriction of the use of bonus county antlerless permits. A list of all Fish & Wildlife property rules can be found on the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Area Rules webpage.
    • Swamper Bend Wildlife Diversity Conservation Area (WDCA) is a 108-acre tract of bottomland hardwood in Knox County located in a bend of the White River. Swamper Bend WDCA was purchased to protect the state endangered swamp rabbit and its associated habitat. The swamp rabbit is the largest member of the cottontail genus, with individuals weighing 3-6 pounds. Rabbit hunting is strictly prohibited due to the similarities between the Eastern cottontail and the swamp rabbit. Other forms of hunting are allowed, as are fishing and trapping. General Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations apply, including the restriction of the use of bonus county antlerless permits. A list of all Fish & Wildlife property rules can be found on the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Area Rules webpage.
    • Tern Bar Slough Wildlife Diversity Conservation Area has a vast array of wildlife species supported by 800 acres of upland and early successional habitat and is on the western side of Gibson County within 4 miles of the Wabash River. It borders Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area (managed by Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge) as well as Gibson Lake (owned by Duke Energy). Due to all the water and wetland habitat nearby, the property gets a lot of traffic from migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, making it a unique stop on the Indiana Birding Trail. This property was originally bought and managed for the purpose of helping recover the least tern. Current use of the property includes but is not limited to nature walks, birdwatching, trapping, and hunting (deer only). All users who wish to hunt deer or trap furbearers must secure a permit by attending an in-person draw at Sugar Ridge FWA.

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