Soda Lake WMA was historically a seasonal lake that flooded during late winter and spring. A similar water regime continues today, but only the bluffs located on the western edge of the WMA remain above flood level. The lower elevation habitat is a broken woodland consisting of willow, cottonwood, ash, hackberry, and overcup oak. Due to annual flooding, the understory is very sparse and contains rattan, peppervine, dewberry, and sawbriars. Open areas support wild millet, smartweed, and several species of grasses.
The rugged escarpment of Twelve Mile Bayou on the western edge of the area supports a diverse, old growth forest. Approximately 35 acres in size, this forest is a unique natural upland plant community of shortleaf pine, sweetgum, and white, post, cherrybark, shumard, and cow oak. The dominant trees are estimated to be 100 to 130 years old. Two rare plants, American alumroot (Heuchra americana L.) and lowland brittle fern (Cystopteris protrusa Bernh.) have been found growing on the north and east-facing bluffs.
The Franks Tract is a recent addition to Soda Lake WMA. This tract was acquired by the US Army Corps of Engineers as mitigation for impacts from the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Project and will be managed by LDWF through a cooperative agreement with the Red River Waterway Commission. Habitat on the Franks Tract consists of bottomland hardwood forest and pasture land. Portions of the pasture land are being reforested to provide additional bottomland forest habitat in the Red River alluvial valley. Other areas will be maintained as natural openings to provide a diversity of habitat for a variety of game and non-game species.
LDWF manages Soda Lake WMA primarily as a refuge for migrant waterfowl and songbirds. The WMA also provides year-round habitat for a diverse population of resident songbirds, mammals, and insects. Together, LDWF, Ducks Unlimited, and the Caddo Levee District maintain a series of moist soil impoundments that provide excellent waterfowl and bird watching opportunities.
Activities and Amenities
Hunting and trapping: There is an archery-only season for white-tailed deer. Small game and waterfowl hunting are available under special conditions. See regulations for details.
Fishing and boating: There is a public boat launch that can be accessed through the WMA parking area on the south side of LA Hwy 169. The launch allows convenient access for boating and fishing on the upper end of Twelve Mile Bayou. See regulations for details.
Other: Birding, wildlife viewing
Two rare plants, American alumroot (Heuchra americana L.) and lowland brittle fern (Cystopteris protrusa Bernh.) have been found growing on the north and east-facing bluffs.
Caddo Levee District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Soda Lake WMA is located about 15 miles north of Shreveport, approximately 1 mile east of LA Hwy 1. You can access the southern end of the area from LA Hwy 173 west of Twelve Mile Bayou and the northern end from LA Hwy 169 east of Twelve Mile Bayou. Interior access is limited to walk-in and bicycles only.
The Franks Tract is located on LA 3049/Dixie Shreveport Road approximately 5 miles north from its intersection with LA 538/Old Mooringsport Road and 5 miles south from its intersection with LA 173/Dixie Blanchard Road.