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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2019

Duck Creek Conservation Area

Fishing destination doubles as waterfowl birding haven.

By Larry Archer

As one of MDC’s 15 intensively managed wetlands, Duck Creek Conservation Area (CA) attracts waterfowl hunters during the season, but after the season ends, the area draws anglers, birders, and nature watchers.

“We have an 18,000-acre fishing lake, and it’s known in the state as one of the best for pan fishing, so it’s got a lot of blue gill and crappie in it,” said Duck Creek CA Manager Nicky Walker.

Because the 6,318-acre area, located southwest of Cape Girardeau, draws waterfowl throughout the spring, it is also a birding destination, Walker said.

“As we go into late April and early May, we have a pretty good population of wood ducks and hooded mergansers that nest on site,” she said.

The beneficiary of nearly $4 million worth of wetland restoration, Duck Creek CA has seen a resurgence of several species of conservation concern, she said.

“Those aren’t things we’ve introduced. Those are things that just came back naturally with the renovations,” she said.

Visitors can also find the geological curiosity known as mima mounds, a series of raised mounds whose origins are unknown.

“There’s a lot of stories, but there’s no actual, ‘This is what a mima mound is,’” she said.

Duck Creek Conservation Area consists of 6,318 acres in Bollinger, Stoddard, and Wayne counties. From Puxico, take Highway 51 north 9 miles to the main entrance. 573-222-3337

What to do when you Visit

  • Bird-Watching Included on the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( and in the National Audubon Society’s Mingo Basin Important Bird Area ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Duck Creek CA is available at
  • Camping Two designated camping areas with fire pads, picnic tables, and privies
  • Fishing Black bass, white bass, catfish, blue gill, crappie, and sunfish
  • Hiking No designated trails, but much of the area is accessible by gravel roads and levees Dog Training & Field Trials Special-use permit required
  • Hunting Deer and Turkey Deer and turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey and Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations. Also dove, rabbit, and squirrel
  • Trapping Special use permit required. Waterfowl Hunting Morning draw. Waterfowl regulations are subject to annual change, so refer to the Waterfowl Hunting Digest for current regulations.

What To Look For When You Visit

  • Swamp rabbit
  • Common loon
  • Spotted salamander
  • American white pelican

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler