Big Lake

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
19,231 Acres
(318) 757-4571

Big Lake Wildlife Management Area is located in Franklin, Madison, and Tensas Parishes, 12 miles east of Gilbert. Major access routes to the area are Louisiana Highways 4 and 610. The Department maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads throughout the area, and numerous ATV trails provide access to the interior of the area. Several hiking trails follow old pipeline rights-of-way.
Big Lake WMA is comprised of approximately 19,231 acres, including 7 small lakes with the largest approximately 160 acres in size. Six bayous flow through the area providing a total of approximately 25 miles of waterways.
Flat and generally poorly drained, the terrain varies from 55-65 feet mean sea level. Seasonal flooding occurs dependent on water levels with the Tensas River basin, but periodic flooding may occur anytime after periods of localized heavy rainfall.
Most of the forested component of the management area consists of relatively closed overstory canopy with a fairly dense understory. Timber value is moderate due to previous logging prior to acquisition by the department. Major timber species composing the overstory are Nuttall oak, overcup oak, willow oak, American elm, sweetgum, bitter pecan, green ash, hackberry, and honey locust. Other overstory species include willow, sycamore, persimmon, red maple, cypress, and box elder.
Understory species include rattan, grapevine, dewberry, blackberry, deciduous holly, swamp dogwood, and elderberry. Switchcane, baccharis, buttonbush, poison ivy, and greenbriar are also common.
Whitetailed deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons, along with limited waterfowl and woodcock hunting opportunities can be found on the area. Deer and squirrel hunting opportunities are normally very good. Due to several excellent hatching years in the late 1990's, continuing through 2000-2002, wild turkey populations may have reached an all-time high. Specific habitat improvement projects completed by the department during this time have also helped the native turkey flock continue to grow. A youth lottery turkey hunt is held each year on the weekend prior to the regular turkey season.
Trapping for furbearers is allowed, and the species available are raccoon, otter, nutria, mink, beaver, bobcat, coyote, fox, and opossum. Alligator populations have also increased, and in 2002, a limited alligator hunting season was initiated. Five alligator tags are given to each successful hunter determined by a public lottery drawing held each summer.
Sport and commercial fishing are popular, limited only by the acreage of available water. Bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish are caught by recreational fishermen, and commercial fishermen take carp, buffalo, drum, gar, and catfish. Four improved boat ramps have been constructed.
During the northward spring migration, Big Lake WMA is visited by dozens of species of passerine birds, and the area is a very popular birdwatching destination. Resident bird species are common throughout the year, and the diverse habitat types found on the area produce an assortment of birdwatching opportunities. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Big Lake WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.
Improvements to the Trusler Lake Nature Trail have been proposed, and when completed will provide a unique experience for nature lovers.
Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, P.O. Box 1640, Ferriday, LA 71334.


State of Louisiana, USACOE
27,962 Acres
(337) 948-0255

Attakapas Wildlife Management Area, located in upper St. Mary Parish and in parts of lower St. Martin and Iberia Parishes, was acquired in 1976. The center of the area is situated about 20 miles NW of Morgan City and 10 miles NE of Franklin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns a small tract of land that is also managed by La. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Access to the 27,962 acre tract is by boat only, with major public launches available: (1) Millet Point, at St. Mary Parish Road 123, off of Hwy 87, (2) NNE of Charenton Of Hwy 326, (3) above Morgan City on Hwy 70, (4) off Hwy. 75 at Bayou Pigeon landing in Iberville Parish.
The terrain is characterized by flat swampland subject to periodic flooding and siltation from the Atchafalaya River. Areas adjacent to the River and spoil banks from dredging activities provide upland habitat and refuge areas during periods of high water. Many pockets in the management area have silted in and will continue to increase the land-to-water ratio.
The main overhead vegetation in the swamp is cypress and tupelo with some oak, maple and hackberry growing in the upland areas. Black willow is prevalent on the newly deposited lands, which are prevalent throughout the management area. Understory vegetation in upland tracts includes blackberry, deciduous holly, elderbery, and goldenrod. Greenbriars, peppervine, pokeweed, palmetto and switch cane. Common swamp plants are lizard tail, alligator weed, smartweed, coontail, pennywort and water hyacinth. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused wide scale destruction to the trees on Attakapas. The Department reforested many of the higher areas along the Atchafalaya River with cypress, ash, elm, water oak, nuttall oak, cherrybark oak, cow oak and other upland species. Also, roughly 30 miles of trails have been created and maintained around these reforested plots on the east and west sides of the Atchafalaya River.
Game animals most hunted on the management area are deer, rabbits and squirrels. Waterfowl hunting is also popular. Other animals present are beaver, nutria, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, bobcat, opossum, and alligator. Trapping is allowed for furbearing animals. Hawks, owls, shorebirds, and neo-tropical migrants are also present.
Crawfish, found throughout the spillway, provide commercial and recreational opportunities. Major fish caught in the area include catfish, mullet, bass, bluegill, gar, bowfin, and freshwater drum.
The self-clearing permit is required for hunters only. There are three primitive, remote camping areas on Attakapas. There is one camping area with picnic tables and running water located on St. Mary Parish Road 123 near Millet Point. Additional information may be obtained may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 5652 Hwy 182, Opelousas, Louisiana 70570.

Atchafalaya Delta

State of Louisiana
137,695 Acres

The Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area is a 137,695-acre area located at the mouths of the Atchafalaya River and the Wax Lake Outlet in St. Mary Parish. The area is located some 25 miles south of the towns of Morgan City and Calumet and is accessible only by boat.
Most of the area consists of open water in Atchafalaya Bay. Within the Bay, two deltas (the Main Delta and the Wax Lake Delta) have formed from the accretion of sediments from the Atchafalaya River and from the deposition of dredged material by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Only about 27,000 acres are vegetated on these deltas. About 15,000 acres of marsh and scrubby habitat occur on the Main delta, and about 12,000 acres of marsh occur on the Wax lake Delta.
Hunting on the Delta is primarily for waterfowl, deer, and rabbit. Deer hunting on the Main Delta (deer hunting on the Wax Lake delta is not permitted) is restricted to archery hunting by adults and youth lottery gun hunts. Harvest per unit effort on deer is extremely high. Fur trapping, commercial fishing, recreational fishing (especially for redfish, catfish, bass, and bluegill) and alligator harvests also yield great returns. Non-consumptive recreational pursuits include boating, camping, and bird-watching, especially on the Main Delta.
The area has two campground areas (with privies) and has a number of pilings available to allow houseboats (with permits) to moor at all times of the year.

Alexander State Forest

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
7,955 Acres
(318) 371-3050

Alexander Forest Wildlife Management Area is located in south central Rapides Parish about ten miles south of Alexandria, off U.S. Highway 167, and one mile east of Woodworth.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture, Office of Forestry is the owner of this 7,955 acre tract which is managed as commercial forest with an emphasis on experimental forestry techniques. Indian Creek Lake, a 2,600 acre reservoir, is located on the area along with a 300 acre recreation and camping area.
The forest overstory is predominantly loblolly pine with scattered stands of longleaf and slash pines. Much of the timber is managed as pine plantations. However, creek drainages have been maintained in hardwoods. In addition red oak, blackgum, sweetgum, hackberry, beech, water and willow oaks are widely scattered over the forest.
Game species available for hunting include deer, squirrel, rabbit, quail and waterfowl. The featured species on the area is white-tailed deer. Herd density is good with antler quality and body weights typical of piney woods sites. Hunter success during the either-sex muzzleloader hunts is generally above average.
An education center is owned and operated by the Department on a 17 acre site within the WMA. The center is used for a variety of educational programs. Two shooting ranges are located on the grounds. The 100 yard rifle and pistol range and a shotgun range are used in education programs and also available to the public during specified times. Information on range hours and fees is available at (318) 484-2212.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries operates two fish hatcheries adjacent to the WMA. These hatcheries are the primary source of fish for the statewide stocking program. Booker Fowler hatchery has a visitor center and offers hatchery group tours by appointment. For hatchery information call (318) 748-6914.
Two boat ramps are located on Indian Creek Lake. Sportfishing is the major activity on the lake. Water-skiing and swimming are also popular recreational uses. Camping facilities are operated and maintained by the Office of Forestry. Trailer and tent accommodations are available with electricity, water, bath houses and swimming areas. A fee is charged for the use of these facilities. For camping information telephone the Indian Creek Recreation Area at (318) 487-5058.
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1995 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 71360.

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agents Issue 142 Citations on Ouiska Chitto River

Release Date: 08/04/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents issued 142 citations on the Ouiska Chitto River in Allen Parish during the months of May, June and July 2010.

Numerous Enforcement Division details on the Ouiska Chitto River throughout the summer months consisted of boating safety patrols, surveillance for illegal drug activity, littering and underaged consumption of alcohol.

Agents issued seven boating safety citations, 24 littering citations,78 citations for consuming or possessing alcohol under 21, nine drug citations and 24 glass container citations. LDWF Enforcement agents also made arrests for disturbing the peace for fighting and public intoxication.

The Ouiska Chitto is a scenic river in Allen Parish and is a popular destination for families involved in canoeing, bird watching, photography and fishing. LDWF Enforcement agents along with the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office maintain frequent patrols on the river during the summer months. With the persistent law enforcement presence, there has been a significant decline in underage drinking and littering on the Ouiska Chitto River.

The penalty for purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages under the age of 21 is a fine up to $100, or imprisonment for up to six months or both. The boating safety violations carry a fine of $50, or jail time up to 15 days or both for a first offense. The fines for the glass violations and littering are set by the Allen Parish District Attorney's Office.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Baton Rouge Boater

Release Date: 07/15/2010


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Baton Rouge man on July 9 for flight from an officer and other charges. 

On June 12, LDWF agents were attempting to stop a vessel for a violation on Blind River in Ascension Parish when the vessels operator fled and refused to stop.  Agents gave chase and a high-speed pursuit ensued.  The suspect eluded the agents in Lake Maurepas. 

As the result of a three-week investigation, agents identified, arrested and booked Darrell R. Smith Jr., 30, into the Ascension Parish Jail.  Smith was charged with violating a no wake zone, careless operation and flight from an officer. 

If convicted, Smith could face fines of $1,037.50 and serve up to seven months in jail. 

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agent Randy Lanoux, Sgt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Buck Hampton and Senior Agent Clay Marques. 

For more information, contact Capt. Len Yokum at 225-765-2999 or 

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Gonzales Man after Fatal Lake Maurepas Boating Incident

Release Date: 07/15/2010


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Gonzales man on July 13 for three counts of negligent homicide for his alleged role in the death of three Gonzales citizens following a boating incident in Lake Maurepas in May. 

Agents arrested Blake Carronna, 25, who was the operator of a boat when it spun out of control fatally wounding three people and injuring another on May 29, and booked him into the Livingston Parish Jail. Carronna was also cited for two counts of reckless operation of a watercraft. 

Agents also cited Thomas White, 24, of Gonzales, who was the other survivor, for one count of reckless operation of a watercraft. White suffered arm and pelvic injuries from the boating incident. 

Authorities found the bodies of Anna Hite, 20, Ryan Ducote, 24, and Mikayla Thibodeaux, 14, all of Gonzales, in the days following the incident. 

Agents also cited Carronna and White for not having enough personal flotation devices for everyone on board, failure to change ownership of registration and overloading a motorboat. Carronna was also cited for negligent injury. 

Negligent homicide carries up to a five-year jail term and $5,000 in fines. For negligent injury, Carronna faces up to $500 in fines and six months in jail. Reckless operation of a watercraft carries up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail. The boating safety citations bring a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail. 

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or 

Lake Bistineau July 7, 2010 Update


The department has requested DOTD’s assistance to close the Lake Bistineau water control gates on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.  Fisheries staff are beginning to observe giant salvinia accumulating in some areas of the lake and agreed that it’s time to initiate some water fluctuation and attempt to strand plants.  Of course, present water levels need to rise in order to initiate this method.  Opening the gates in the future will depend on rain events and plant accumulations. 

It will not necessarily be our goal to allow the lake level to rise to pool stage in order to initiate water fluctuation.  We plant to alert the public a week in advance of either opening or closing the gates. 

While the lake has been down, fisheries staff have been evaluating salvinia re-emergence and assessing the lake bed.  Aspects of the plan remain incomplete pending the completion of this work.  Central to our efforts include a lake bed contour map and identifying areas for “dirt work” and tree removal.  Some of this work is best completed while the lake is down.  Allowing the lake to rise at this point is not expected to complicate these efforts.

Spray crews have treated some salvinia accumulations with herbicide spray applications.  As the lake level rises, our crews will have easier access to shallow areas and our efforts will increase.   

In addition, some areas have been designated to evaluate SONAR treatments.  These treatments, similar to Galleon treatments, require that water volume remain constant for several weeks to obtain desirable results.  Applications are expected in July.

Our website is presently being overhauled and our communication diminished in the last few weeks.  Our new site will be up soon.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Mark McElroy
Fisheries Biologist

July 4 Boat Explosion on Old River Injures Five

Release Date: 07/06/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents patrolling Old River in Pointe Coupee Parish responded to a call about a boat explosion after 7 p.m. on July 4. The boat had 6 passengers on board at the time of the explosion and all passengers, including the operator, ended up in the water.

The boat's occupants were quickly pulled from the water by West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s deputies working in the area and taken back to the boat launch. Agents responding found that Matthew P. Wilkes, 26, of Lakeland, was operating a 19-foot ski boat on Old River, when for unknown reasons the engine compartment exploded. Five of the passengers received third degree burns on their legs and backs. The injured were taken by Acadian Ambulance and Acadian Air Med to local hospitals for immediate medical treatment of their burns.

Those injured were: Raina Brown, 24, of Baton Rouge; Todd Hymel, 27, of Baton Rouge; Chris Duet, 25, of Baton Rouge; Keith Silvio, 25, of Baton Rouge; and Dustin Musso, 28, of Baton Rouge. Wilkes and passenger Allyson Marshall, 23, of Lakeland, were not injured.

The accident is currently under investigation by LDWF's Enforcement Division. Agents working the investigation are Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Senior Agent Allan Marbury. The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office and LDWF all responded to the incident.

For more information, contact Capt. Lastie Cormier, ph. 337-948-0257 or


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