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Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area

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the reservoir at clear lake wma

The primary purposes of Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation, such as hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife viewing. Located on the north side of Genesee Road and west of NYS Route 75, this 526-acre parcel includes the Clear Lake Reservoir. This area's diverse habitat includes the lake, mature forest, wetlands, bushland, and open fields.

Other non-wildlife dependent activities such as hiking, kayaking, and canoeing may be allowed as long as these activities do not impede or interfere with the primary uses of the area. Two parking areas have been developed on the WMA: one on the west side of the lake and the other on the east side. The east side parking area will be limited to people that have a small boat, canoe, or kayak to hand launch. No trailers will be allowed.

New York State Office of Mental Health recently transferred the administration of the Clear Lake property to DEC to be managed as a WMA. This reservoir was constructed in the 1920s as a water source for the former Gowanda Psychiatric Center and was later used by the Collins Correctional Facility for the same purpose.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping

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Wildlife Management Unit: 9H

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

Hunting and trapping are allowed on Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).


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

Fishing is allowed on Clear Lake WMA. Some common fish species found there are: largemouth bass, pumpkin seed, blue gill, crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead, white sucker, golden shiner, and rudd.


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There is a hand launch located on the east side of the lake for small boats, canoes and kayaks.


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A hiking trail at Clear Lake WMA

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.


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General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state. Users of the area are likely to encounter a variety of wildlife species. Use the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.


All Google links leave DEC website.

  • The west side parking area is found on the north side of Genesee Road in Erie County (42.552048⁰ N, -78.853625⁰ W - Get Google Map Driving Directions).
  • The east side parking area is also found north of Genesee Road and west of Route 75 (42.553525⁰ N, -78.851631⁰ W - Get Google Map Driving Directions).

Rules, Regulations & 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 this WMA 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 on Clear Lake WMA:

  • Using motorized boats
  • Trailers
  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Target Shooting
  • 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 Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area

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

The primary goals and objectives of Clear Lake WMA are to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and to permit compatible public uses of the land. View the Habitat Management Plan for Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area (6.6 MB PDF), approved in November 2021, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

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.

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  • Contact for this Page
  • Region 9 Wildlife Manager
    182 East Union Street, Suite 3
    Allegany NY 14706
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