In what seems like our series on lakes in northwest Louisiana influenced by the Red River, we take a look at one of the most scenic and well known bass lakes along the I-20 corridor in our state.  Lake Bistineau is a true bass lake.  This destination offers every type of cover imaginable, and is prevalent with natural treelined banks, cypress trees and knees, and aquatic vegetation.  The age of the lake itself is unknown, but it is at least 200 years old.  Dating back to the time of the “Great Raft” – a large well known log jamb on the Red River near what is now Shreveport, LA that was known to effectively shut down navigation on the Red River and produced several lakes upstream in it’s backwater tributaries.  While the log jamb was cleared by Captain Shreve, the outlet of Lake Bistineau, known as Loggy Bayou, remained as you can imaging Loggy.  And while clearing the log jamb did lower the lake levels, over time with floods the lake came and went.  The modern lake however, was formed in 1935 when a full damn and control structure was put in on the south western end of what is now Lake Bistineau. 

 

Surrounded by dense forests and low lying areas with prevalent Cypress groves, the lake is natural beauty.  While modern development has encroached on some of the lake, the majority of the banks remain natural.  The western portion of the lake is bordered by the Lake Bistineau State Park with cabins and plenty of other amazing amentities, including some of the most scenic walking trails and boardwalks in the state, frisbee golf, playgrounds, and RV and primitive camping.  The lake is really a destination nestled off the beaten path.  The lake is accessible from I-20 through Haughton or Sibley or from the west from highway 71 to 154.  Any of these routes will take you 15 or so miles from any major highways and interstates.  Just the kind of place that makes for a good bass fishing outing!

 

Lake Bistineau

January 2021, Volume 121

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The lake boasts over 25 square miles of water with an average depth of just more than seven (7) feet down to about 25 feet at its deepest points.  The lake is known for its endless flipping and pitching opportunities.  Judging from some of the local tackle stops and fishing reports, flipping baits in Black and Red, Black and Blue, and Watermelon when the waters more stained or cloudy, and shades of blue sapphire and Okeechobee when clearer are popular choices.  With the many trees and limbs, long casts aren’t common place but sliding spinnerbaits along the knees and trees is another popular method to boat the big mouths in Bistineau.

 

Although a beautiful lake with bountiful bass, the lake has had its share of issues over the years.  Almost foreshadowing of the present day issues, the Caddo Indians called the lake Bistineau meaning “big broth”, or describing a foam covering the lake and bayous.  Today that “foam” is most likely the invasive giant Salvinia.  While Lake Bistineau is a long lake at about 14 miles long, it is also curvy and relatively narrow with 1.25 mile berth at its widest point.  This geometry coupled with the prevelant tree cover and lined banks makes for prime Salvinia breeding ground.  Regardless of the wind, the trees provide ample cover for the Salvinia to stack up and grow into large mats.  This has been very problematic over the past 10 years.  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, along with numerous community organizations and residents have taken aggressive steps to combat the Salvinia.  With some years making progress, and other years seemingly futile, the battle rages on for clearing the lake of Salvinia.  The lake is of late drawn down annually to provide for stacking the Salvinia in areas that can be sprayed, and organizations have been breeding the Salvinia eating weevils to release. 

Despite the battles with Salvinia and the mitigation measures, the bass population remains strong on the lake.  The scenery, the fishing, and many other opportunities for leisure make Lake Bistineau and ideal destination for a family getaway.  Go check out the lake, and while you’re at it Geaux Bassin’ In The Boot!

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Lake Bistineau boasts over 25 square miles of water along its 14 mile length, and is up to 1.25 miles wide in places.  The natural banks and plentiful cypress trees make it one of the most scenic bass lakes in Northwest Louisiana.