Members of the D’Arbonne Kayak Club were instrumental in putting together the comprehensive small-boat tour brochuretitled “D’Arbonne Country Water Trails” to help paddlers find kayak-friendly waters.
“This brochure has some of the best trails to kayak that you’ll ever find,” said Stephanie Herrmann, one of the club’s organizers. “And it’s not just for the scenery, but the fishing, as well.
“This includes information on a trail on the Ouachita River, Bayou D’Arbonne and the upper reaches of Lake D’Arbonne.”
Perhaps the most unique and most fishy trail trip is up Bayou D’Arbonne.
Canoe or kayak fishermen can launch at Holland’s Bluff Boat Ramp inside the D’Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge. From there, you find yourself in a beautiful Louisiana bayou lined with cypress trees and winding through swamps, bottomland hardwood with numerous run-outs and sloughs.
Key areas along the 3-mile round-trip trail are marked in the pamphlet with exact GPS coordinates.
Stop 2 is called Blackwater Beaver Playground for obvious reasons. Stop 3 is the Fall and Rebirth of Cypress, which not only offers a breathtaking view of huge cypress trees but is also one of the top fishing spots for bream and bass along the way.
Stop 4 is called View of Long Slough. You can paddle and fish up into the slough, which was once an old river channel where steamboats carried cotton and other goods up and down the river.
Stop 5, the final mapped location, is “Sandbar Picnic” and obviously provides an ideal place to stop for a snack, to stretch your legs and wet a line.
If you plan this trip, check water conditions and levels before you get there. Summer months are usually very stable, though, and offer some of the best trips.
The exception is in extreme drought conditions, when low water levels might slow travel.
You can find the map at www.louisianapaddle.com or find out more about the D’Arbonne Kayak Club on Facebook at www.facebook.com/darbonnekayakclub.