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Cross Lake Islands Wildlife Management Area

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The primary purposes of Cross Lake Islands Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA covers 26.6 acres and consists of two islands in the southern end of Cross Lake. The Seneca River flows through the lower third of the lake, passing the two islands. The islands are only accessible by boat.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7F

General information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Hunting and trapping are allowed throughout the property. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

The only hunting opportunity that exists on the two islands is waterfowl hunting. NOTE: Migratory game bird hunters are reminded that it is unlawful to discharge a shotgun over water unless there is no person, livestock, house, or public structure situated along the line of discharge within 500 feet from the point of discharge.



General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

Cross Lake has a variety of fish species, including walleye, tiger musky, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, panfish, and abundant white perch. It is probably best known for producing some large northern pike, with fish in the 15-pound range being taken most years.


wildlife viewing

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Use both the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF, 453 KB) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF, 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides


Cross Lake Islands WMA is located in the southern end of Cross Lake and the two islands can only be accessed by boat. A public hand launch is located on the Seneca River on Bonita Bridge Road approximately 3 miles downstream of Cross Lake. There are also two private boat launches that charge a fee: Cross Lake Park Campground and Marina and Cross Lake Inn and Marina.

  • Seneca River hand launch with parking for 10 cars and trailers (43.075412°N, 76.513730°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Cross Lake Islands Wildlife Management Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Cross Lake Islands WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs, or other property
  • Overnight storage of boats
  • Cutting, removing, or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Storage of personal property

Outdoor Safety Tips

NOTE: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing, but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases. More information on deer ticks and Lyme disease can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health (leaves DEC website).

How We Manage Cross Lake Islands Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Cross Lake Islands WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or "Pittman-Robertson" Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions, and amenities in this area.

State Lands and Facilities

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails, and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions, and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories, or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.