Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area
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- Location: Situated seven miles west of Watertown, just off Route 180, at the head of the Black River Bay, Dexter Marsh
- Dates of Operation: Year-round
- Fee: None
- Contact: DEC Region 6 (Watertown) 315-785-2263
- Maps: Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area Map (PDF) (1 MB) || Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area Map
- Interactive Maps: Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Dexter Marsh WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is strictly a wetland area consisting of lands primarily underwater. This 1350-acre marsh is a popular fish and waterfowl area. Northern pike, bass and panfish are found in the shallow to deep water, and a variety of ducks, black terns, shore birds and marsh waders utilize the sparse cattail marsh which characterizes this Lake Ontario bay.
Spring time bullhead and yellow perch fishing is always popular at the Perch River Fishing Access site, just out of Dexter on the Doane (County Route 59) Road. There is a small dock at Muskellunge Creek Fishing Access site, which is also a busy place during the spring. There is a spacious parking lot at Lloyds Landing shadowed by a large oak tree. There is limited opportunity for shore angling, so a boat is a necessity here. All types of small boats are permitted. The area also offers opportunity for ice fishing, with yellow perch and northern pike being the principal ice angler target.
Dexter Marsh receives a good amount of public use for bird watching.
- white-tailed deer
- black terns
- shore birds
- Canada Geese
- Bald eagles
The Muskellunge Creek hand launch is accessible to people with disabilities. There is a designated accessible parking spot with a path onto the dock. There is no accessible port-a-john at this location. In the springtime, water is usually deep enough to launch a small boat, kayak or canoe. Lower water levels in summer can limit access to the marsh.
Full Listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations
Easily accessible from three state boat launching facilities; Perch River off County Route 59, Muskellunge Creek on State Route 180 and Lloyds Landing off Old Military Road.
- Off Route 180, large gravel, greater than 10 spaces, 1 accessible spot - Get Google Map Driving Directions (Leaves DEC Website)
- County Route 59, large, gravel area, 6 - 7 spots - Get Google Map Driving Directions (Leaves DEC Website)
- Military Road, 6 - 7 spots - Get Google Map Driving Directions (Leaves DEC Website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Activity Rules & Regulations
- Hunting Regulations
- Trapping Regulations
- Fishing Regulations
- Public Use of Wildlife Management Areas Regulations
The following activities are not permitted in Dexter Marsh WMA:
- Using motorized vehicles, including:
- all-terrain vehicles
- Swimming or bathing (except at designated areas)
- Camping (except at designated areas)
- 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
- 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
Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Dexter Marsh WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/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.
Tourism Information for Nearby Attractions, Amenities & Activities
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.
Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.
- Jefferson County Tourism (link leaves DEC website)