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Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Dexter Marsh WMA locator map

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A Canadian Goose on the water

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.

Muskellunge Creek accessible hand launch

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6G. The area is very popular with waterfowl hunters. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

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.

Wildlife Viewing
Dexter Marsh receives a good amount of public use for bird watching. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides.


access for people with disabilities

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

dexter marsh brown sign


Situated seven miles west of Watertown, just off Route 180, at the head of the Black River Bay, Dexter Marsh. 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.

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Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Dexter Marsh WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobile
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing (except at designated areas)
  • Camping (except at designated areas)
  • 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). Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

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How We Manage

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Dexter Marsh WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife 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.