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18 Wonderful Lakes in Louisiana

By | Last Updated : 23rd November 2021

The fragile ecosystem of Louisiana lakes is pretty attractive and draws many visitors to spend a peaceful time here. The moss-covered cypresses flooding the waters provide an enchanting experience for those enjoying a boat ride. Marshes and swamps abound the lake areas where spotting an alligator is quite common. The encompassing forests are also home to diverse water birds and other wildlife species. Besides admiring the surroundings, you can also indulge in various water activities, from guided swamp tours to waterskiing.

Lakes in Louisiana

1. Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake in Louisiana

Caddo Lake, a famous natural body of water, flows in Louisiana and the neighboring state of Texas. To enjoy various activities in and out of the water, you can head to Earl G. Williamson Park lying in Oil City in the lake’s northern part.

A kayak or canoe ride would be ideal for exploring the surrounding cypress forests, the largest in the world, also home to the white-tailed deer, otters, owls, eagles and even alligators.

With several primitive, electric, and RV campsites, staying overnight will not be a problem here.

Fishing: This lake is brimming with largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white bass, and crappie.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, picnicking, golfing, wildlife watching

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2. Toledo Bend Reservoir

Toledo Bend Reservoir in Louisiana

Toledo Bend Reservoir sits on the Sabine River between Louisiana and Texas. With about 1180 miles of shoreline, it is the largest human-made lake in Southern USA.

There are many secluded coves where you can enjoy taking a dip in summer. You can tread along the 1.5-mile loop, Dogwood Nature Trail, within North Toledo Bend State Park to take in the scenic vistas.

If desiring a canoe ride, you’ll find many boat rentals around the shoreline. There’s a boat launch here from where you can easily get to the waters with your boats.

Don’t miss visiting South Toledo Bend State Park for a spectacular view of the lake and spot various birds like the bald eagle, kingfisher, and white pelican.

Fishing: Fish species that dominate the reservoir’s waters include largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, white bass, striped bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, picnicking

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3. Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana

Though named Lake Pontchartrain, it is actually a brackish estuary fed by many rivers and bayous. You can observe its vastness while crossing the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest bridge to run over a body of water.

With many hidden beaches here, spending private time with your loved ones would be ideal. You can enjoy kayaking here or rent a bicycle to ride along its shoreline near New Orleans.

At the lake’s north shore, Fontainebleau State Park features overwater cabins for rent where you can enjoy hearing the low murmurs of the waves below. You would even find some plush restaurants around this area for a sumptuous meal as you absorb in taking pleasure of the scenic views around.

Fishing: You can access the lake from the various fishing piers like Sunset Point Fishing Pier at Mandeville and Marconi Fishing Pier in New Orleans. Fish species found here include speckled trout, catfish, and redear.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, sailing, camping, hiking, biking, picnicking

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4. Cross Lake

Cross Lake in Louisiana

Besides supplying water to the neighboring City of Shreveport, Cross Lake also boasts various recreational activities. Cypress trees lining along its shoreline add to its beauty, which you can admire by a boat ride. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for the various birds like hawks, bald eagles, pelicans, and numerous waterfowls.

The two adjoining parks, Ford Park and Richard Fleming Park, feature several boat ramps, picnic spots, and playground amenities. The lake is also a popular getaway spot in winter appearing stunningly beautiful in its frozen form.

Boaters cannot access the lake from 1 am till just before daylight, and the boats must be registered too. Though swimming is allowed here, it should be within 30 feet of a boathouse, pier or boathouse. Since the lake abounds in alligators, one must maintain caution.

Fishing: This lake has largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, spotted bass, bluegill, and sunfish in abundance. Fishing is permitted at 100 feet from the boat dock.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, sailing, camping, hiking, picnicking, birdwatching,

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5. Lake D’Arbonne

Lake D’Arbonne in Louisiana

Lake D’Arbonne is a serene reservoir surrounded by towering pine and hardwood trees in the rural area near Farmville. To enjoy a whole day of activity, you can visit Lake D’Arbonne State Park.

Many trails along the surrounding rolling hills and forests allow hikers and bikers to admire the picturesque beauty and spot various wildlife species.

Staying overnight at the cabins and campsites here is ideal for those seeking to spend a quiet time by the lake. There’s also a tennis court that you may use after paying the entrance fee.

Fishing: Anglers can expect to catch plenty of largemouth bass, spotted bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, waterskiing, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching

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6. Calcasieu Lake

Calcasieu Lake in Louisiana

Located within Cameron Parish in southwest Louisiana, Calcasieu Lake, also known as Big Lake, has brackish waters that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Its west shore runs parallel to Louisiana Highway 27.

You can hop on a ferry to enjoy the surrounding scenery.

If lucky, you might catch a glimpse of ‘Pinky’ a rare albino bottlenose dolphin first seen here in 2007 by a fishing guide, mostly remaining underwater at present. Other common dolphin species also inhabit here and are easier to spot.

Fishing: The salt waters of the lake make it an excellent spot to catch spotted trout, redfish, and flounder.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, picnicking

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7. False River

False River in Louisiana

This beautiful oxbow lake is near the city of New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish. It attracts visitors to enjoy an array of water activities like water skiing, jet skiing, boating, and sailing in its clean waters.

There are many public paid boat launches and a free one at Morrison Parkway near City Hall. Duck hunting is also a sought-after activity.

Head to the lake’s northern end to enjoy a picnic with your family, or you can also check out the nearby numerous bars and restaurants. in the surrounding areas

Fishing: This lake supports largemouth bass, channel catfish, and blue catfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, waterskiing, jet skiing, sailing, camping, hiking, picnicking, hunting

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8. Lake Claiborne

Lake Claiborne in Louisiana

You can visit Lake Claiborne, a reservoir near Homer in northern Louisiana, to surround yourself with nature and tranquility. Its crystal clear waters and sandy beaches invite visitors to have a great time here.

To admire its diverse flora and fauna, you’ll find many scenic overlooks as you tread along one of the trails through the woods. Lake Claiborne State Park sits on its southern shore offering several activities in and out of the water.

Once you have spent your time admiring the lake, you can head to the disc golf course to play a match. Besides these, rental cabins and campsites also dot the area allowing you to experience nature’s beauty in closer proximity. 

Fishing: Fish species like largemouth bass, white perch, bluegill, channel catfish, striped bass, and bream are plentiful in this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, waterskiing, camping, hiking, birdwatching, picnicking, golfing

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9. Lac des Allemands

Lac des Allemands in Louisiana

Lac des Allemands is just a few kilometers away from New Orleans. Its name is French, which means Lake of the Germans, indicating the early settlers who inhabited the area.

The cypress trees surrounding the adjoining bayous are home to many wildlife species like otters, raccoons, deer, bald eagles, great blue herons, frogs, egrets, and alligators.

The public boat launches are free and provide easy access to the waters.

Fishing: This lake, known as the Catfish Capital of the Universe, holds an excellent population of flathead catfish, channel catfish, and blue catfish. The best time to catch them is from May through September. Other fish species found here are largemouth bass, white bass, bream, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, bird watching, picnicking

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10. Lake Bruin

Lake Bruin in Louisiana

Lake Bruin is an oxbow lake surrounded by Lake Bruin State Park. Rental boats and a boat launch are available throughout the year for those who want to enjoy boating or other water sports.

You can kayak close to the shores to cherish the views of cypress trees and stay away from the wakes of motorized boats.

However, do be careful of the alligators and cottonmouth snakes residing here. Besides this, there’s also a water playground, a summer hotspot to cool off.

Fishing: Anglers commonly catch largemouth bass, white crappie, black crappie, catfish, spotted bass, and bluegill.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, waterskiing, jet-skiing, camping, hiking, picnicking

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11. Lake Maurepas

Lake Maurepas in Louisiana

Lake Maurepas in southeastern Louisiana is a round-shaped brackish estuary. Though shallow, it is the state’s second-largest, fed by four river systems and over 40 miles of shoreline.

On its southern shore lies Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area. It offers guided boat tours with views of the flooded cypress trees. You can enjoy observing diverse wildlife species like white-tailed deer, alligators, turtles, bald eagles, egrets, ospreys, and various waterfowls.

If you want to explore the pristine waters on your own, you can get access from the boat launching ramps like Pete’s Landing Boat Launch and the Port Manchac boat ramp, just off Highway 15.

Fishing: This lake is brimming with fish species like largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and bream.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, picnicking

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12. Lake St. John

Lake St. John in Louisiana

Lake St. John is an oxbow lake formed from the Mississippi River near Ferriday. With three public launch sites, you can enter the waters with your boats.

You can rent a pleasure boat or motorboat from the nearby Spokane Resort Boat Rental if you haven’t brought one. The moss-covered cypresses bordering the lake are a sight to behold.

Fishing: You will be able to catch largemouth bass, catfish, bream, crappie, and white crappie here.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, jet-skiing, camping, hiking, wildlife watching

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13. Lake Bistineau

Lake Bistineau in Louisiana

Surrounded by mixed hardwood forest and cypress and tupelo trees, Lake Bistineau is a scenic lake in northwestern Louisiana. To enjoy these vistas and for recreational opportunities, you can head to its western shore, where Lake Bistineau State Park sits.

With about 10 miles of woodland trails and an 11-mile canoe trail, you can explore the surroundings either by foot or a boat. There are many vacation cabins and campsites to enjoy staying the night. There are also picnic sites, well-equipped with picnic tables, grills, and restrooms.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, black crappie, catfish, yellow bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish are common catches in this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching

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14. Lake Martin

Lake Martin in Louisiana

Located 7 miles east of Lafayette, Lake Martin is a part of the Cypress Island Preserve. It is a paradise for bird enthusiasts as one can easily spot numerous water birds here like egrets, herons, spoonbills, ibis, and anhinga.

You can also walk past the boardwalk along the swamp at the lake’s south end to enjoy diverse vegetation and wildlife species like turtles, frogs, and alligators.

Fishing: There are abundant fish species in this lake, like largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, picnicking

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15. Lake Verret

Lake Verret in Louisiana

This shallow natural lake sits within Assumption Parish in south-central Louisiana. With cypress trees lines all along, it creates incredible scenery.

You can launch your boats from any public ramps like the one in Attakapas or at Sportsman’s Landing on Bayou Corne. Apart from the surrounding beauty, there are also many alligators inhabiting the waters that you can easily spot. For an overnight stay you’ll find many nearby cabins and campgrounds.

Fishing: Lake Verret is known for largemouth bass and crappie. Other fish species like catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish also populate it.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, nature gazing, wildlife watching

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16. Henderson Lake

Henderson Lake in Louisiana

Henderson Lake is a shallow backwater lake flowing in the West Atchafalaya Basin Floodway between Ramah and Henderson.

Paddling here along the scenic cypress swamps and watching the water birds and other birds like cormorants, ospreys, herons, and bald eagles is indeed an unforgettable experience.

Many houseboats and private cottages dot the shoreline too. You can head to the nearby McGee’s Landing to enjoy a swamp tour along Atchafalaya Basin.

Fishing: This lake offers fish species like bass, white perch, crappie, and bream.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, birdwatching

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17. Black Lake

Black Lake in Louisiana

Fed by the Black Lake Bayou, this body of water is a shallow reservoir flowing between Creston and Campti in northern Louisiana. While it is known as Blake Lake in the west of Highway 9 Bridge, the waters are named Clear Lake below the same bridge. Its serene and scenic setting attracts many visitors to enjoy a boat ride here. Many campsites are also available here for a peaceful time by the lake.

Fishing: Black Lake is a favorite among anglers as they commonly catch several bass, bream, and perch.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, nature-gazing, picnicking

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18. Lake Chicot

Lake Chicot in Louisiana

Lake Chicot, a human-made lake, is within the state park of the same name in south-central Louisiana. There’s an extensive hiking trail encircling it where hikers can enjoy the views of the hardwood forests. In addition, you can spot various animals like whitetail deer, coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats. The state park also features several cabins and campsites, picnic areas, boat rentals and ramps, pavilions, and many more amenities.

Fishing: Fish species like flathead catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, crappie, bluegill, and striped bass are in plenty in this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, biking

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Best Lakes for Fishing: Calcasieu Lake, Black Lake, Toledo Bend Reservoir

Best Lakes for Boating: Lake Chicot, Lake Bistineau, Caddo Lake

Best Lakes for Camping: Caddo Lake, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Bruin

Best Lakes to Live On: Cross Lake, Black Lake, Lake Maurepas

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