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Ocean Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area
The 11,505-acre Ocean Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area was created in the 1940's through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and was completed in 1974. Several bodies of water including Ocean Lake were created by the Riverton Reclamation Project in the early 1920's and were formed by irrigation flows to a natural sump. The area is 17 miles northwest of Riverton. It is loaded with wildlife and offers plenty of recreational opportunities. You can reach Ocean Lake from U.S. Highway 26, or Wyoming Highway 134 and Eight Mile Road.
This habitat area is managed primarily for waterfowl production. This warm water lake with depths to 31 feet is situated between the Owl Creek Mountains and the Wind River Range. There is a wide range of habitats, from arid sagebrush grassland and cultivated croplands to permanently wet marsh and open water. You will find geese, ducks, sandhill cranes, pheasants, mourning doves, cottontail rabbits, mule deer, muskrats, raccoons, red foxes, mink and skunks.
Ocean Lake is best known for its waterfowl and pheasant hunting. Between 1,500 and 2,000 pheasants are released each year to supplement native bird populations. There are also dove and small game hunting opportunities, as well as trapping opportunities. If you like to fish, there are plenty of walleye, trout, bass, crappie, perch, bullhead and ling.
More than three miles of improved roads and 36 miles of seasonal roads and trails will take you wherever you want to go. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation maintains six developed parking areas furnished with trashcans and restroom facilities. Boat ramps and picnic shelters are available at three of these sites.
Most of the area is classified as crucial breeding and nesting range for Canada geese. Much of the southeastern portion has been classified as supporting habitat for whooping cranes, currently an endangered species. Habitat has been improved through the construction of dikes, the creation of numerous ponds and construction and placement of 200 nesting structures. During migration, up to 3,000 geese, 400 sandhill cranes and 10,000 ducks may be observed here.
Wetlands like those at Ocean Lake are among the richest habitat types in our country. They provide permanent water and suitable habitat for waterfowl, shore birds, upland game and many other wildlife species. Nature lovers and photographers will have a lot to observe, like grebes, terns, pelicans, snipes and avocets to add to their lists.
Ocean Lake is open all year except for an area around the aerator, which may be closed during the waterfowl season.
Last Modified: November 20, 2013