Clinton Wildlife Area

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A majority of the land lies within the Clinton Reservoir flood pool. Deer Creek, Rock Creek and the Wakarusa River are the three main drainages into Clinton Lake that flow through the wildlife area. There is a mix of native grassland, deciduous forest and cropland dispersed throughout these drainages.

Two man-made wetland complexes are found on the wildlife area. The oldest is the Coblentz Marsh Complex, which consists of the original West Coblentz marsh and the more recent East Coblentz marsh totaling around 160 acres in 5 different pools. These are located on the north side of the Wakarusa River and immediately east of the Shawnee-Douglas county line in Douglas County. The Elk Creek Marsh complex was completed in 2008 after several years of construction. These marshes are located on the south side of the Wakarusa River and are accessed from the parking lot located at Boat Ramp #9. The complex consists of 4 different marsh pools that total approximately 300 acres when full. The largest and newest pool is just over 100 acres in size and is located within the area's seasonal Refuge. All wetland cells except the refuge marsh can be filled by pumping water out of the Wakarusa River.

Management of native grassland is very important on the Clinton Wildlife Area. Clinton has over 200 acres of historical native prairie, most all of the non-native cool season grasslands have been converted to warm season native grasses and wildflowers.

Primary species hunted on the area include deer, turkey, waterfowl, mourning dove, bobwhite quail, squirrel, and rabbit. Also, a wide array of non-game birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians can be found on the area or migrating through. Trapping, fishing, and wildlife viewing are also popular past times on the area.

205 N. 1600 Rd.
Lecompton,KS    66050

Area Manager: Justin Hamilton

Office Phone: 785-887-6882

Clinton Wildlife Area is located approximately 7 miles west of Lawrence on the upper end of Clinton Reservoir

Area News - Updated: 08/24/2020

DON'T FORGET ABOUT I-SPORTSMAN! Clinton Wildlife Area is utilizing an electronic check-in system. To register, please go to This is mandatory for all hunting activities. This system allows us to better gather harvest and usage data to help make better management decisions.


Dove season begins Sept 1st. Starting this year, all fields are NON-TOXIC shot.  One field is closed on September 1st for a youth dove hunt, but will open to everyone on September 2nd.  All other fields open on September 1st.  Check the map below for locations of all dove fields.  Happy dove hunting!!

For wetland and waterfowl info please see 

Please remember that trapping is also permitted on the Wildlife Area

2020 Dove Field Map

General Information
205 N. 1600 Rd.
Lecompton, KS    66050

Clinton Reservoir & WA (PDF 2.15 MB)

Area Manager: Justin Hamilton

Office Phone: 785-887-6882

Clinton Wildlife Area is located approximately 7 miles west of Lawrence on the upper end of Clinton Reservoir

Special Regulations
  • Camping, off-road vehicle use, and target shooting are prohibited.
  • Please take all trash with you.
  • Refuge area is closed to all activities from October 1st thru January 15th.
  • A free daily hunting permit is required to hunt on the area.  The permit is obtained through

Special Features

  • Handicapped hunting area provides vehicle use in designated area with written permission from Area Manager.
  • Horseback riding is allowed on the southeast side of the Rock Creek Arm on designated trails only which are primarily located in the Corps of Engineers' Rockhaven Park.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.


Clinton Reservoir was completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1977. Approximately 9,000 acres are managed by KDWPT for use as a public Wildlife Area.

Clinton Facilities
Wakarusa River Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 53.552 W 95 28.805
  • Click for more information

    Boat ramp for upper Wakarusa River and Elk Creek Wetlands access.

Rock Creek Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 52.786 W95 24.591
  • Click for more information

    Boat ramp for Rock Creek area access

Coon Creek Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N38 56.488 W95 24.468
  • Click for more information

    Boat ramp for Deer Creek area access

Clinton Trails
Rock Creek Horse Trail
  • Trail Season: April through September
  • Length of Trail: 10 mile(s)
  • Trail Activities: Horse Riding
  • There is camping located near the trail
  • Location of Start: N38 53.445 W 95 22.601
  • Click for more information

    Horse trail is open seasonally and is located on southeast side of Rock Creek arm of lake. Trail head is in Rockhaven Park.

    Camping can be found at Corps of Engineers Rockhaven Park

Clinton Waterfowl Report - 11/24/2020
Waterfowl numbers

Waterfowl numbers have increased dramatically.

Many ducks are utilizing the flooded Coblentz and East Coblentz marsh pools.

During the waterfowl survey 11-24-20, nearly 4,500 waterfowl of various species were observed on the reservoir and marshes, as well as ponds and harvested crop fields near Clinton Reservoir and Wildlife area. 

Survey results :

Mallards- 1,370, Canada Geese- 1175, White-fronted geese- 690, Light geese- 140, Green Winged Teal- 465, Pintail- 100, Wood Duck-35, Bufflehead- 50, Wood duck-35 Hooded Mergansers-76, Shoveler-180, Coot-200. Most ducks and geese were observed on shallow areas of the reservoir or harvested crop fields near the lake, good numbers of ducks continue morning and evening use of Coblentz marsh.

Mallards and Canada geese, as well as a few dozen other puddle ducks were observed on parts of the reservoir near tributaries flowing into the lake.

Lake level

 874.78 elevation, releasing 7 c.f.s.

 The reservoir is .72 feet below normal pool.

Hunting conditions

At this time, we cannot pump water into the Elk Creek marsh unless Clinton reservoir and the Wakarusa river levels both rise. A fair amount of water (99 acre feet) has been pumped into the Coblentz complex.

KDWPT staff have mowed all marsh dikes and a portion of all marsh pools for hunter access and open water(when flooded). ALL water control structures have boards in them so no water can flow out.

Wetland vegetation had excellent conditions for  growth and seed production. Many drier areas have ragweed and sunflowers 7-12 feet tall.  The wettest marsh areas generated heavy seed production from millet, smartweed, and beggar's ticks. 

Lake- The lakeshore and shallow mudflats have produced decent food and habitat for much larger numbers of waterfowl. Canada geese, Coots, diving and puddle ducks have been regularly using many areas of Clinton Reservoir that are protected from the wind. 

Coblentz & East Coblentz- 

We have completed wetland pumping for 2020 unless lake and river levels rise. 

All water control structures have boards in them and will be holding water after a rainfall/runoff event.

All 5 wetland pools in the Coblentz complex have SOME water in them. The majority of water was pumped into the middle and north pools, as well as East Coblentz.  

The corn in the North and East pools has been harvested(>10% left standing for waterfowl). 

There are strips of corn planted in the middle and southeast pools that remain standing. 

The final phase of the wetland grant for Coblentz is completed. We have placed an additional structure on the north pool to allow us the option to use an adjacent stream to fill the north and middle pools. This is in addition to the electric pump, which was completed in 2018. 

Shadden marsh has some water, but it evaporates quickly. 

Elk Creek- marsh is dry, pending rain and runoff. The extreme flooding in 2019 destroyed the marsh pump and we are in the process of replacing it. Until the  pump is replaced, the only way to fill the pools is rainfall.

Pool 2 at Elk Creek has a VERY small amount of water, primarily close to the water control structure.  New this year: A Triticale food plot, which is a wheat/rye hybrid, was planted in the higher portion of the pool near the river. This should provide an opportunity for goose hunters.

Clinton Wildlife Area contains miles of creeks, rivers, and oxbows on the wildlife area; each of which has unique conditions and frequently hold waterfowl when weather and/or pressure pushes them from marsh pools.

KDWPT staff planted strips of corn in pools 2 & 3, which will not be harvested.

The refuge marsh pool is CLOSED  to ALL ACTIVITIES from October 1st to January 15th.

Expected hunting success Good

IMPORTANT! Clinton Wildlife Area is utilizing an electronic check-in system required of all hunters. To register, please go to This will be mandatory for everyone hunting the wildlife area, not just waterfowl hunters. The card survey stations have been removed. Plan ahead and sign up for I-sportsman now.  

Please remember that trapping is also allowed on the Wildlife Area.

The Coon Creek and Elk Creek/Wakarusa river BOAT RAMPS ON THE WILDLIFE AREA ARE OPEN.

 The REFUGE is closed to ANY AND ALL activities from Oct. 1st to Jan. 15th

Dove Fields Map