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Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Dexter Marsh WMA locator map

hunting trapping icon for fishing showing a fish and a hook bird viewing area hand boat launch parkingicon key

A Canadian Goose on the water

The primary purposes of Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. The WMA is strictly a wetland area consisting of lands primarily underwater. This 1,350-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. There are no designated trails, but hiking is allowed throughout the property.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6G

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

The area is very popular with waterfowl hunters. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).


icon for fishing showing a fish and a hook

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

Muskellunge Creek accessible hand launch
Muskellunge Creek hand launch

There are several fishing access sites at Dexter Marsh WMA. Spring time bullhead and yellow perch fishing is always popular at the Perch River Fishing Access site, just outside of Dexter on Doane Road (County Route 59). 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 opportunities for ice fishing, with yellow perch and northern pike being the principal ice angler target.


bird viewing area

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

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

dexter marsh brown sign


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

All Google links leave the 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 Dexter Marsh 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 Dexter Marsh WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobile
  • 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).

wildlife restoration logo

How We Manage Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area

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, 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 Dexter Marsh Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in December 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.