Imperial Wildlife Area

Notice: Ramer Lake is closed until further notice.


Imperial Wildlife Area is approximately 7,900 acres of salt marshes, freshwater ponds, and desert scrub. Levees and canals form terraces between seasonally flooded ponds and fields. There are also roads throughout the area. Abundant waterfowl and shorebirds can be found here, as well as the endangered desert pupfish. Units include: Wister, Finney-Ramer, and Hazard.

For more information, call the area at (760) 359-0577

Recreational Opportunities

wildlife viewing fishing boat ramp hunting with shotgun waterfowl hunting quail hunting restrooms drinking water disabled access information kiosk or visitor center

Activities: wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting

During inclement weather roads and other areas may be muddy, impassable and periodic closures may occur. Please use extreme caution as area access is at your own risk. Check the Emergency Closures web page for further information.


Type A: Wister Unit has restricted hunter access during waterfowl and pheasant hunting seasons. Adult hunters are required to purchase a Type A hunting pass in advance in order to exchange for an entry permit.

Type C: Finney-Ramer Unit does not require the purchase of a hunting pass for entry. Entry permits and/or passes or special drawing may be required for hunting on some Type C wildlife areas.

Summer days can reach temperatures to 120 degrees. Knowledge of desert survival recommended.

Special access blind sites are available for mobility impaired hunters.

Imperial Wildlife Area cannot currently maintain a huntable population of pheasants, and is closed to pheasant hunting until further notice. CDFW is working to create and maintain additional and sustainable habitat that will allow pheasant hunting to resume in the future.

Inland Desert Region Wildlife Area Meeting Slides (PDF)


NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

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You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Area History

Prior to development, the area was most likely a desert scrub community. In 1905, the Colorado River broke through an irrigation project and created the Salton Sea. This sea is saltier than the ocean.

At the time of acquisition, approximately 60% of the property was under cultivation, with the remainder undeveloped. The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1951. In 1972, about 200 acres were removed to form the Imperial Warmwater Fish Hatchery. In recent decades, the majority of the property has been developed as marsh and green feed, including roads, levees, and canals.

Related Documents

map of Imperial WA - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Inland Deserts Region (Region 6)

Imperial County

east side of the Salton Sea on Hwy 111, 5 miles NW from Niland

CDFW Lands Viewer