Waubay Wetland Management District

Quick Facts

Waubay Wetland Management District

South Dakota

(605) 947-4521

Map Directions

Things To Do



Wetland Management Districts were established to manage Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs), which are small parcels of land purchased to provide nesting habitat for waterfowl. Waubay Wetland Management District is located in the "Coteau des Prairie," or prairie hills, region of South Dakota. It includes more than 300 WPAs ranging from 40 acres to more than 1,600 acres in size, comprising a total of 40,000 acres. The landscape is dotted with numerous lakes and wetlands, making it an important part of the prairie pothole region, the largest duck production area of the United States. Interspersed with grasslands, this landscape provides habitat not only for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other water birds, but also for raptors and grassland-dependent bird species. Butterflies and numerous other insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals also thrive in this special habitat. Some of the largest remaining tracts of native tallgrass prairie occur in this area. Waubay WMD includes the very first Waterfowl Production Area - McCarlson (Day County), acquired in January of 1959.

Access to all WPAs is limited to foot traffic only. Grassy parking lots are available at many of the larger WPAs to provide parking. There are no facilities or designated hiking trails. WPAs tend to be used very heavily during hunting seasons, but they also provide wonderful opportunities to explore the natural heritage of the state at other times of the year.

Map of Waubay Wetland Management District

Latitude, Longitude: 45.442790, -97.336292



  • Fishing

    Walk-in ice-fishing is allowed from December (after refuge deer season) to ice-out with a valid South Dakota fishing license. Walleye, perch, and northern pike are popular game fish. Please pick up an ice-fishing brochure when you arrive on the refuge.

  • Hunting

    Archery, muzzle loader, and rifle deer hunting permits are issued for the Refuge through the South Dakota lottery for special seasons. No other hunting is allowed on the Refuge.


Opportunities for the public to enjoy the Refuge occur throughout the year, from winter ice fishing to summer wildlife observation. Spring and fall migration are the peak times to observe large varieties and concentrations of birds.



WPAs are found at various locations throughout the six counties that make up Waubay WMD: Clark, Codington, Day, Grant, Marshall, and Roberts. They are posted with green and white signs. Sportsmen's Atlases, which show the location of each WPA and other Federal and State public lands in great detail, can be purchased from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

Phone Numbers


(605) 947-4521