Little Portage Wildlife Area

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Ottawa County

Little Portage Wildlife Area
Coordinates: 41.50063, -83.0339038
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Photo by Ken Ostermiller

Tips for birding Little Portage Wildlife Area
The Little Portage Wildlife Area is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

About the Little Portage Wildlife Area
This 407-acre wildlife area lies at the confluence of the Little Portage and Portage rivers, approximately six miles west of Port Clinton. It is easily reached from OH-53, four miles southwest of Port Clinton, by traveling two miles west on Darr-Hopfinger Road.

The Little Portage Wildlife Area is situated in the flat glacial lake plain region of northwestern Ohio. The area is a river marsh, bounded on the west by the Little Portage River and on the north by the Portage River. Approximately two-thirds of the area is wetlands, with 223 acres of diked marsh and 75 acres of uncontrolled wetlands. Eighty acres of upland are maintained in a mixture of meadow and brushland. The marshes are shallow, varying from one to three feet deep, with the exception of channels up to eight feet deep which were created in the construction of the dikes.

The wildlife area was purchased in 1956 for waterfowl hunting and for angler access to the Little Portage and Portage rivers and Lake Erie. In the mid-1920s, much of the land adjacent to the Portage River was diked and flooded by pumping from the river and was utilized as a private waterfowl shooting area.

Prior to purchase by the state, this area was known as the Zimmerman Marsh. Waterfowl use originally was limited because the area does not lie within the normal routes of waterfowl movement or near large concentrations of waterfowl. However, the highly effective technique of marsh baiting successfully attracted waterfowl to the marsh for harvest by club members. The former owners maintained nine blinds on 317 acres of marsh, with only four blinds ever occupied at one time. With the enactment and strict enforcement of the “no baiting” regulation, however, duck hunting on the marsh declined.

Wildlife management work has included renovation and modification of four miles of dikes, installation of a modern 24-inch electric pump, and seasonal flooding of the diked marsh units. Upland areas have been maintained in a mixture of grassland and grain crops.

A boat launching ramp has been constructed to furnish access to both the Portage and Little Portage rivers and, after a five- or six-mile trip downriver, access to Lake Erie at Port Clinton.
From Little Portage Wildlife Area webpage

No restroom facilities.