What is the Spring Bayou Complex?
The Spring Bayou Complex is an ecological system located in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. It is made up of sprawling open lakes, bayous, bays and sloughs with forest cover throughout the area.
Avoyelles Parish is located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish was created in 1807 with the name
derived from the French name for the historic "Avoyel" people, one of the local Indian tribes at the time of European
Avoyelles Parish is known for its French-speaking history, with Creole traditions in both music and food, which
reflects European, African and Native American influences. While having a distinctive history of
immigrants directly from Europe, it is considered the most northern of the twenty-two “Acadian” parishes.
The Acadians contributed strongly to the development of Cajun culture in this area, as did Africans and Native
The understory consists of deciduous holly, hawthorn, dogwood and the saplings of the overstory. Other plants include rattan, greenbrier, peppervine, trumpet creeper, dewberry, smartweed, verbena, wild lettuce, vetch, sedges and grasses. Aquatic species are water hyacinth, alligator weed, delta duck potato, water primrose, lotus, duckweed, and others.
Game species hunted are deer, squirrels, rabbits, waterfowl, and woodcock. Bow hunting is allowed for deer. Trapping for furbearers is allowed and species available are raccoon, mink, bobcat and nutria.
Fishing is excellent; principal species caught are largemouth bass, various panfish, and catfish. Commercial fishing is allowed by permit. Species caught are catfish, buffalo, freshwater drum, and garfish. Boating and water skiing are popular in open water portions.
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Avoyelles Parish is well known for its hunting and fishing culture. The Spring Bayou complex is made up of properties throughout the parish owned by private individuals, farmers, timber companies and by the state of Louisiana. The state owned property is referred to as the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area which is located in north central Avoyelles Parish, two miles east of Marksville, off La. Hwy. 115 and 452. These highways connect to La. Hwys. 1 and 107 in the immediate vicinity of Marksville. Convenient access to the area headquarters on the west side is provided by a blacktop road. Access by vehicle to the east side is provided by an improved shell road off the Bordelonville levee. Access to the interior is mainly by boat. Three concrete boat ramps are provided for this purpose. Other Management Areas in the parish include Lake Ophelia, Grand Cote, Grassy Lake and Pomme de Terre areas.
Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area contains 12,506 acres and is owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The area is in the low lying Red River backwater system. General topography is low, poorly drained land, with numerous finger lakes and narrow ridges. About 40 percent is covered by water, with various open lakes, bayous, bays, and sloughs. The area is drained by Little River. The forest cover consists of nuttall oak and overcup oak with bitter pecan on the higher elevations. The lower elevations contain overcup oak, bitter pecan, swamp privet, and buttonbush. Lake edges are finged with cypress, willow and buttonbush. The primary bodies of water in the management area include Boggy Bayou, Coulee Noir, Lac Aux Siene, Lake Francois, Lake Gabriel, Lac A Deux Boute, Lac Tete de Boeuf, Grand Lake, Tee Lac, Grand Coulee,Petite Bay and Old River. Those water ways outside the management area but still within the Spring Bayou Complex include Little River, Lake Grand Bayou, Bae Sec and Cocodrie Bayou.