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Idaho Fish and Game

Market Lake WMA
Wildlife Management Area
Market Lake WMA
Before you go

Market Lake WMA supports a diverse array of wildlife species. WMA staff recently recorded 19,000 visitors per year on the WMA for hunting, wildlife watching, tour groups and other recreation. Waterfowl hunters use the WMA  every day during the waterfowl season until the marshes freeze up. A wildlife viewing blind is popular with wildlife watchers, who make up the largest group of visitors to enjoy the trails and waterways of the WMA.

Market Lake Sign
Related Location
Location Facts

Primary Purpose: Waterfowl production; wildlife habitat; wildlife based recreation

Habitat: Open water, wetlands, sagebrush steppe, agriculture

  • 6,062 acres
  • Jefferson County
  • Established in 1956
Location Things to Know

To protect nesting and migrating wildlife, some activities are restricted during certain times of year.

  • Marshes and Dikes are closed to human entry April 1 – July 31.
  • Some roads are closed December 15 – April 1.
  • No dog trials of any type are allowed from October 1 through July 31.  See Dog Activity tab for more details.

International Migratory Bird Day activities are held on the WMA, as well as, educational tours.

No camping is allowed on the WMA.

No campfires are allowed on the WMA.

A wildlife viewing blind is popular with visitors focused on watching wildlife.


Market Lake was once a 12-square mile flood plain. Vast flocks of migrating waterfowl attracted “market” hunters who harvested the birds and gave the area its name. A small portion of the original lake is now the Market Lake WMA.


The main purpose of Market Lake WMA is stopover habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. In addition to migration many species nest on the WMA. Trumpeter swans nest in the marshes and food plots support many during the winter. The WMA also provides habitat for 250 wildlife species, from small mammals to moose.

The original Market Lake was a large flood plain adjacent to the Snake River. Only 30 acres of the original wetlands remained in 1956 when federal dollars from the Pittman-Robertson Act were used to purchase the first parcel and establish the Market Lake WMA. Over the years, additional purchases has helped restore nearly 20% of the original flood plain to waterfowl habitat.