Metzger Marsh--Outer Dike

Tips for Birding

Park in the lot at the end of the road and walk along the dike. This vantage gives good views of birds both in the marsh and on the lake. A spotting scope is helpful.

Metzger Marsh is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

About Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

See all hotspots at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

This 558-acre Lake Erie marsh is located 13 miles east of Toledo. Bono Road provides access to the area from OH-2, less than .5 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.

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, the waters of Lake Erie broke through the dikes and flooded the area. The dikes were not rebuilt and with the 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.

There are portable toilets at the parking lot at the end of Bono Road and at the boat ramp near the Cooley Canal Yacht Club.

The boat ramp on Bono Road and the fishing pier at the end of the road are both handicap-accessible.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area webpage and Ohio Ornithological Society