LRP - Licenses

LRP - Regulations

LRP - Permits

Recreation - Statewide

Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

Env. Protection - Management

Env. Protection - Emergency

Env. Protection - Resources

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

a wildlife area by name.
Search all DNR lands
for a great place to recreate.
a map and plan your visit.
Contact information
For information on the wildlife areas, contact:
Wildlife Management

Collins Marsh Wildlife Area

COVID-19 Update

On Friday, May 1 and at the direction of Gov. Evers, the department reopened state parks, forests and sites within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway with special conditions. Four State Natural Areas remain closed: Parfrey's Glen, Pewits Nest, Gibraltar Rock and Dells of the Wisconsin River. All Wildlife Areas and Fisheries Areas are open. For more information, please visit the DNR's COVID-19 information webpage for the full list of conditions, including hours of operation, admission fees and more.

Collins Wildlife Area

Established in mid 1980’s, the approximate 915-acre refuge on Collins Marsh wildlife area is intended to provide a safe haven for fall migration of waterfowl as well as a variety of other wetland loving birds. These refuge areas are vitally important to allow waterfowl a resting area to escape hunting pressure, which also allows them to pack on the necessary nutrients needed to sustain themselves during the long trek south. The birds using these areas are commonly seen moving between areas of the property that are open to public access, as well as areas adjacent to Collins Marsh, providing opportunities for hunters and non-hunters alike. All activity (public access) within the refuge area is prohibited from September 1 to December 5, with the exemption of the 9-day gun season. This includes access to the main berm as well as the dam itself.

Collins Marsh Wildlife Area is a 4,200-acre property located in Manitowoc County. Find it approximately 12 miles west of Manitowoc and 2 miles south of Reedsville. You can access the property on the west from CTH W, from the south on CTH JJ, on the east by Quarry, Einberger and Collins Marsh Road and on the north by Hilltop Road. The property is comprised mostly of marsh, wetlands, grasslands and bottomland hardwood forest.



In 1946, the Wisconsin Conservation Department leased the marsh and surrounding uplands as public hunting grounds. A land purchase program was initiated in 1959. A local organization, Conservation Education Inc. raised more than $20,000 toward the purchase of Collins Marsh Wildlife Area. During the 1960s, the department installed a dam across Mud Creek, which impounded water and maintained marsh conditions year round. This impoundment proved to be an important Canada goose migration destination that is still utilized today. Managers created smaller impoundments in the 1980s and early 90s to add more wetland habitat.

Management objective

Collins Marsh is managed primarily for wetland wildlife. A variety of birds make the marsh their home, including osprey, herons, black terns, marsh wrens, sedge wrens and yellow headed blackbirds. Muskrats are abundant, while mink and otter are commonly observed. The grassy uplands provide hunting opportunities for ring-necked pheasants, cottontail rabbits and mourning doves, as well as habitat for bobolinks, sandhill cranes and northern harriers.

Collins Marsh Master Plan (1986) [PDF]


The Collins Marsh Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Birding
  • Canoeing
  • Cross country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Dog training area - located on the gravel road accessed from county highway JJ. Training area is the pond and area immediately around the pond.
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (no designated trail)
  • Hunting - especially noted for waterfowl, small game and deer. Note: Waterfowl refuge closed to all public access from Sept. 1 through Dec. 5 with the exception of firearm deer hunting.
  • Snowmobile trail
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering - wild rice
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Collins Marsh Nature Center [exit DNR]

Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

Useful links
Last revised: Wednesday May 06 2020