Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge


(318) 726-4400

Map Directions

Things To Do


Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1997 through a unique partnership with the city of Monroe, Louisiana. The 2,000 acre scenic lake is owned by the city and serves as its secondary water source. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a free ninety-nine year management lease on the lake. The Service purchased 2,200 acres of land surrounding the lake, which expanded the refuge to 4,200 acres and protected most of the lake's watershed. The beautiful natural lake is studded with picturesque cypress and tupelo trees, and surrounded by swamps that graduate into bottomland hardwoods and then into upland mixed pine/hardwoods. The refuge supports an excellent fisheries resource and provides valuable habitat for migratory waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds, and many resident wildlife species. This semi-urban refuge is ideally located to provide a place for people to connect with the natural world. It is one of four refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuges Complex. The complex visitor center, a restored planter*s house, is situated on the 40 acre Black Bayou Lake Environmental Education Center. Adjacent to the visitor center are an arboretum with over 100 native Louisiana woody plants and a prairie demonstration area with native grasses and wildflowers. Facilities also include interactive visitor center exhibits, a mile long raised asphalt/boardwalk nature trail with 400 foot wildlife pier, boat launch, amphitheater and pavilion, a raised observation deck with spotting scope and several informational kiosks. Members of Friends of Black Bayou, Inc., a refuge support group, provide thousands of hours of services for the refuge.

Map of Black Bayou Lake NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 32.615600, -92.025180



  • Boating

    Boat launch available.

  • Fishing

    Black Bayou Lake is open for fishing from dawn to dusk every day, offering excellent year-round fishing opportunities in a beautiful setting. Fishermen commonly pursue largemouth bass, crappie, and redear, bluegill and other bream species. A Boat Launch is located near the visitor center and motors are restricted to 50 horsepower or less. A $2 launch fee is required and anglers must adhere to Louisiana freshwater fishing regulations.

  • Hunting

    Black Bayou Lake NWR offers an either sex archery season for whitetail deer. There is a long squirrel and rabbit season and they can be hunted with dogs after deer season closes. Raccoon and opossum can be hunted at night for one month and they can be hunted during daylight hours throughout the small game season. Recognized breeds of bird dogs may be used to hunt quail and woodcock. Historically a duck hunter's paradise, most of the lake is now a waterfowl sanctuary. Duck hunting, like all other hunting on the refuge, is allowed in the designated hunting area only. Review the Black Bayou Lake NWR Hunting and Fishing Regulations pamphlet for specifics.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    ATVs are permitted on trails designated for their use (see map). The trails are marked with signs and will be closed March 1 through August 31. ATVs are prohibited from one hour after legal shooting hours to 4 a.m. Raccoon hunters may not use ATVs. ATV tires are restricted to those no larger than 25 x 12 with a maximum 1" lug height and a maximum allowable tire pressure of 7 psi. as indicated on the tire by the manufacturer. ATVs cannot exceed 750 lbs., 85" in length and 48" in width. Use of all other ATVs or ATV tires is prohibited on the refuge.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Black Bayou Lake NWR consists of a beautiful 1,600 acre baldcypress/tupelo studded lake surrounded by swamps which graduate into bottomland hardwood forests and mixed pine/hardwood uplands.

    Cherrybark oak, cedar elm, green ash, and water and willow oaks dominate the lower areas while shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, mockernut hickory and post oaks dominate the upland sites.

    Wildlife commonly seen at Black Bayou Lake NWR includes: alligators, great egrets, wood ducks, green and great blue herons, numerous songbird species, broad-banded water snakes, red-eared sliders, green anoles, coyotes, skunks, white-tailed deer, dragonflies and butterflies. The lake supports an abundant fisheries resource.

Park Partners

Friends of Black Bayou, Inc.

Friends of Black Bayou is an award-winning, non-profit community organization that supports the protection and enhancement of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge located in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. FoBB came into existence in August 1997 with a core group of dedicated supporters who cared about the new Refuge and dreamed big. In a very short time, members began to see their dreams taking shape. Every year they sponsored a Fall Celebration with free activities for kids, food, exhibitors, and lots of fun. The century-old planter's home was renovated and is now the Visitors' Center. In 2004, FoBB was named the top Refuge Friends Group in the country. And this was just the beginning!

(318) 342-1144



Black Bayou Lake NWR is located just north of Monroe, Louisiana off U.S. Hwy 165. Approximately 1.3 miles north of the CenturyTel corporate headquarters turn east on Richland Drive. Cross Bayou DeSiard and the railroad tracks. The visitor center is on the right side of the road. Follow refuge signs to other facilities. Brochure maps, available at the visitor center, will show other access points.

Phone Numbers


(318) 726-4400