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.
Upper Snake Regional Office
Primary Purpose: Waterfowl production; wildlife habitat; wildlife based recreation
Habitat: Open water, wetlands, sagebrush steppe, agriculture
- 6,062 acres
- Jefferson County
- Established in 1956
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.
Waterfowl hunting is the main hunting activity on the WMA. It is one of a few public areas in Eastern Idaho to hunt waterfowl. It offers three hunting options - boat access, marsh hunting and river access.
Pheasant releases are staged throughout the upland hunting season. These birds are released in five locations, including the youth hunting area. Non-toxic shot is encouraged.
Market Lake WMA offers white-tailed deer and mule deer opportunities. Moose and elk are sometimes present.
Market Lake WMA is within unit 63A, which is a short range weapons only unit.
Be sure to check Idaho’s Seasons and Rules for up to date hunting information.
The WMA is open to fishing year-round. Most anglers fish for perch and bullhead in the canals and marshes.
Market Lake WMA has become a destination location for birding and is the largest public use of the WMA. Over 180 species of birds will use Market Lake WMA throughout the year. Market Lake was first officially recognized as an Important Bird Area in Idaho in 1997. In 2010, the WMA was designated a Global Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and Bird Life International.
The wildlife viewing blind is a popular destination for birders.
Market Lake WMA provides key habitat for specific species. Greater than 1% of the biogeographic population of snow geese use the WMA during spring migration. It also helps support the breeding colony of white-faced ibis at Mud Lake WMA, that represents 25% of the known breeding population in the western United States.
Several non-motorized trails provide access to the marshes, open water and upland areas.
Any dog field trial or dog training using artificially propagated game birds between August 1 and September 30 must be authorized by the department under IDAPA 13.01.15.300. It is prohibited to conduct a dog field trial of any type from October 1 through July 31.