North Grasslands Wildlife Area


North Grasslands Wildlife Area is approximately 7,400 acres of wetlands, riparian habitat and uplands, and includes the China Island, Gadwall, and Salt Slough units. These restored and created wetlands are now habitat for the Swainson's hawk and sandhill crane.

For more information, call the Los Banos office at (209) 826-0463 Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m - 4:00 p.m.

NOTE: North Grasslands Wildlife Area is closed to the public from September 15 until the 2nd Monday of February most years. Call to confirm that the area is open

Recreational Opportunities

Fishing boat Ramp Hunting with Shotguns Waterfowl Hunting Pheasant Hunting Wildlife Viewing

Activities: fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing


Type A: North Grasslands Wildlife Area 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.

China Island Dove Hunt Map (PDF)
Salt Slough Dove Hunt Map (PDF)

ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to changing weather, water availability and management needs, the flood up schedule may change at any time.


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

The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1992.

China Island: Prior to 1840, Native Americans known as the Yokut occupied most of the San Joaquin river basin. Because most of this land was historically flooded, occupancy was limited to high spots and seasonal at best. As waters of the San Joaquin were diverted, flooding was curtailed, thus making the cattle business practices of the past increasingly more dependent on artificially maintained surface water. China Island was primarily used for cattle grazing. The northern portion was sectioned off with a network of fences and graded to support irrigated pasture. The southern portion is predominantly floodplain with little or no improvements ever made. Some recreational waterfowl hunting took place.

Gadwall: The known historical uses on this parcel were cattle grazing and duck hunting. The property was operated as a viable private duck club prior to its purchase by the Department.

Salt Slough: Prior to the 1930s, this land was altered to improve grazing, presumably by Henry Miller, and was operated as a cattle ranch until acquired by the Department. Since this parcel is adjacent to the Salt Slough, it is likely fishing and hunting took place in or around this area.

Map of North Grasslands WA - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Central Region (Region 4)

Merced & Stanislaus Counties

6 mi north of Los Banos


China Island: between Newman and Gustine. From Gustine and the intersection of Hwy 33 and 140, travel 1.7 mi N on Hwy 33, turn right onto Canal School Rd., travel 1.4 mi and turn right onto Brazo Rd, travel 0.7 mi and turn left, proceed 1.2 mi.

Galdwall: approximately two miles east of Los Banos at Santa Fe Grade

Salt Slough: approximately 7 miles north of Los Banos

CDFW Lands Viewer