Bilby Ranch Lake Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Maryville, take Highway 46 west 14 miles to the area.


This area contains grassland, cropland, old fields, and some forest. Facilities/features: boat ramp, fishing dock, fish cleaning station, Bilby Ranch Lake (110 acres), and many small fishing ponds.

About This Area

Bilby Ranch Conservation Area is in Nodaway County. Purchased by the Conservation Department in 1987, this tract was once part of a large ranch owned by J.S. Bilby, who came to northwest Missouri in 1832 and eventually purchased 26,000 acres of land. By 1900 the Bilby Ranch was one of the largest livestock operations in the U.S. and remained an important cattle operation until 1936, when it folded, thanks in large part to the Great Depression.

Because of its large size, Bilby Ranch Conservation Area is managed for a wide range of game and non-game wildlife species. However, emphasis is placed on ring-necked pheasant management.

The area features 150 acres of surface water, including 110-acre Bilby Ranch Lake and many smaller ponds. Angler facilities at the lake include a concrete boat ramp, a floating fishing dock, fish cleaning station, and a privy of which all are disabled accessible.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  One of the designated areas, located off Hwy 46, has gravel pads, fire rings, privy, and picnic tables available.  
Canoeing  Bilby Ranch Lake 
Fishing - Bass Good population. On main lake and on 17 fishable ponds  
Fishing - Catfish Good population. On main lake and on 17 fishable ponds  
Fishing - Crappie Good population. On main lake and on 17 fishable ponds  
Fishing - Other Good population. Walleye are stocked in main lake.  
Fishing - Sunfish Good population. Bluegill and redear on main lake and on 17 fishable ponds  
Hiking  No designated trails but area access roads provide good hiking opportunities. 
Hunting-Deer Fair population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Good population. Click on link to dove management map (available in August).  
Hunting-Pheasant Good population.  
Hunting-Quail Good population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Good population.  
Hunting-Waterfowl-Open Hunting Fair population. Waterfowl hunting can be fair on the main lake and larger ponds.    

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Lake - Concrete Bilby Ranch Lake   
Camping Area - Individual Campsites   Gravel pads, fire rings, picnic tables, and privy.  
Camping Area - Individual Campsites    
Dock - FishingaccessibleBilby Ranch Lake   
Fish Cleaning StationaccessibleBilby Ranch Lake   
Parking Lotaccessible 11  2 ADA  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond Bilby Lake 110.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond  17 52.00 acres Managed fishing ponds  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Old Field 291.00  
Lakes/Ponds 158.00  
Forest and Woodland 20.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 3080.00 Warm season and cool season grass stands 
Crop Land 1525.00  
Other 36.00 Roads and parking lots. 
Total Area Acres:5110.00 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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