LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
This 558-acre Lake Erie marsh is located 13 miles east of Toledo. Bono Road provides access to the area from State Route 2, less than 1/2 mile east of Bono.
Water levels in the marsh are managed to provide optimum vegetation for wetland wildlife. Water depth in the marsh ranges from one to four feet.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Metzger Marsh is a remnant of the 300,000-acre marsh which once bordered most of western Lake Erie from Vermilion, Ohio to Gibraltar, Michigan. The construction of a high retaining dike and an internal pattern of drainage canals in conjunction with a large steam driven, water-life elevator allowed the Metzger Farms to operate throughout the early 1920s as a highly productive truck crop farm. In 1929, waters of Lake Erie broke through the dikes and flooded the area. The dikes were not rebuilt and with loss of water control, the area reverted rapidly to its original marsh condition and became high quality duck habitat. For several years, extremely good waterfowling was enjoyed by members of the Metzger Marsh Duck Club. High water levels in the 1940s eroded the remaining beach barriers and by 1952 the marsh resembled a cove off Lake Erie. Presently, about 70 percent of the area consists of open shallow water.
The marsh was purchased by the Division of Wildlife in 1955. Waterfowl hunting, trapping, and fishing in the marsh and Lake Erie are major uses of the area. The outer dike was restored in 1995 to allow for water level management. This work was accomplished through a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, local conservation groups, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
FISHING, HUNTING, AND TRAPPING
A fishing channel runs parallel to the east side of the access road and provides fishing that is good for crappies, excellent for channel catfish and outstanding for spring bullheads. Parking areas along the road allow easy access to this productive fishing channel. Ice angler access is excellent for Lake Erie species such as perch, smelt and walleyes. The boat ramp provides good access to prime walleye fishing around West Sister Island, and excellent perch fishing in the offshore area of the lake.
The steel and concrete fishing pier extending into Lake Erie from the access road provides excellent perch, catfish and freshwater drum fishing year-round as well as productive white bass fishing in early June.
Fish species present include white and black crappies, channel catfish, bullheads, yellow perch, white bass, freshwater drum, carp, smelt, largemouth bass, bluegill, and other sunfish.
The marsh is located in a prime waterfowl area. During the fall migrations, Metzger Marsh is used by large numbers of mallards, black ducks and widgeons. Blue-winged teal are also present, with lesser numbers of pintails, gadwalls, green-winged teal, wood ducks, canvasbacks, redheads, and coots. The number of geese stopping in the area has been increasing in recent years. Duck populations peak in mid-November. Many ducks remain late in the hunting season due to the availability of open water on Lake Erie and waste cereal grains in nearby fields.
Spring migrations of waterfowl start in February with flights of mallards, black ducks and pintails. Migrating whistling swans are found on or near the marsh through late March and April.
Other water birds to be found on the area include great blue herons, American bitterns, black-crowned night herons, green herons, cormorants and many species of shorebirds.
Mammals on the area include muskrats, mink, raccoons, and skunks.
PUBLIC USE FACILITIES
A boat launching ramp connected by a slip to Wards Canal provides boaters with protected access to Lake Erie. The boat launching site includes a large parking lot. A fishing pier on Lake Erie is located at the mouth of Wards Canal. Parking and toilet facilities are available here. Several small parking areas are located along the road to the fishing pier. The fishing pier, boat launch, and restrooms are accessible.
The nearest wildlife district office is located at 952 Lima Avenue, Box A, Findlay, Ohio 45840; phone number (419)424-5000.
TURN IN A POACHER
Ohio’s TIP, “Turn In a Poacher,” program is helping to curtail poaching throughout the state. TIP is designed to involve the public in reporting wildlife violations. Citizens who observe wildlife violations should call the TIP toll-free hotline, 1-800-POACHER.
Return to list of northwest Ohio wildlife area maps.