- The refuge habitat is made up of native prairie, planted grasslands and wetlands. The uplands are characterized by gently sloping hills and terraces with creeks and an occasional slough. The average rainfall of 16.8 inches supports a prairie environment with a climate of hot dry summers, occasional thunderstorms and cold winters.
The most important feature of the refuge is Lake Ilo. Lake Ilo water resources provide habitat for nesting and migrating waterfowl and neo-tropical birds. In addition, many native species of plants and animals are part of the protected habitat on the refuge.
Recreation - The refuge's biological resources provide opportunities for environmental education, interpretation and wildlife/wildlands oriented recreation for visitors. Visitors are welcome to enjoy wildlife by way of refuge roads, hiking trails, fishing opportunities and use of the refuge park. Fishing and picnicking are the main public use.
Lake Ilo has a rich archeology history extending back to prehistoric times. The public may view artifacts and interpretive materials as revealed by recent archeological studies.
Lake Ilo NWR is located near the center of Dunn County in west central North Dakota.