Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area

hunttrapfishhikingbirdhand launchparkingicon key

locator map for catherine creek wma in schuyler county ny

DEC held an open house to provide information and answer questions about a recently completed habitat management plan for Catharine Creek WMA on Tuesday, November 1st. If you have questions about this plan, please email us or call the number above.

The primary purposes of Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. At the southern end of Seneca Lake, between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, an unusual natural area has evolved. Sedimentation and manipulation of the lake level has led to the formation of a 1,000-acre marsh complex. The area provides a haven for innumerable wildlife. Once navigable into what is now Montour Falls, the waters of Catharine Creek still feed a remnant section of the Chemung Barge Canal, which runs through the center of the marsh.

Featured Activities



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

A spur of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail (leaves DEC website) traverses the marsh as it takes the hiker past many of the scenic natural attractions found in the area. Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 8S

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

Hunting opportunities exist for such popular species as ducks, raccoon, rabbits, pheasant, and deer, while trappers may pursue the numerous muskrats as well as other furbearers. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).



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

The Barge Canal is used extensively by fishermen and boaters and many people dock their boats at the various marinas along the canal. Any local fisherman will quickly vouch for the richness of the waters in and adjacent to the marsh. Catharine Creek is famous for its run of rainbow trout in the spring and hosts thousands of anglers annually.



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

The abundance of plant life in the marsh provides ideal habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Because of its important bird habitat Catharine Creek WMA was designated as a Bird Conservation Area.

The area supports American black duck, common loon, pied-billed grebe, American bittern, least bittern, osprey, bald eagle, American woodcock, willow flycatcher, sedge wren, wood thrush, blue-winged warbler, prothonotary warbler and rusty blackbird.

Other wetland dependent species which breed here include Virginia rail, sora, marsh wren and swamp sparrow. Marsh bird surveys conducted by Department staff in 2004 resulted in one least bittern, four sora, seventeen Virginia rail and two American bittern detections.

Members of the Schuyler County Bird Club have recorded 64 species of birds, and there are 29 species of fish in Catharine Creek. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.


All Google links leave 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 Catharine Creek 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 Catharine Creek WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • 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 Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area

wildlife restoration logo

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Catharine Creek 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.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area (PDF, 8.6 MB), approved in June 2022, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

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.