Caddo Lake Information

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in Texas. It is located in Texas and Louisiana. Caddo Lake covers 25,400 and up to 33,000 acres with depth ranging from eight to 20 feet. Caddo Lake looks and feels completely different from man-made lakes with dark murky sloughs, soft shallow shorelines, fluctuating shoreline zones, permanently flooded bald cypress forests, and seasonally flooded bottomland floodplain forests. It also has deeper open water with abundant underwater debris. 

The four watersheds of Little Cypress Bayou, Big Cypress Bayou, Black Cypress Bayou, and Jeems Bayou feed Caddo Lake. It is located in Harrison and Marion Counties, Texas, and Caddo Parish, Louisiana. The towns of Caddo, Oil City, and Mooringsport, Louisiana, and Karnack and Uncertain, Texas, are the closest towns to the uniquely and sparsely inhabited Caddo Lake. In Louisiana, you access Caddo Lake on the east by I49 and LA 1, and in Texas, on the west via SH 43. From the north, access Caddo Lake from LA 2 in Louisiana, and SH 2 in Texas. 

All of the waters of Caddo Lake are public, but the shores of Caddo Lake are privately owned. The Texas Parks and Wildlife owns 8,000 acres and operates Caddo Lake State Park. The Cypress Valley Navigation District (CVND) maintains Caddo Lake’s boat channels. The Caddo Lake Levee District owns and operates the dam. Caddo Lake is loud with the sounds of nature which provides 200 bird species, 30 amphibians, 60 reptiles, 55 mammals, and more than 90 species of fish with a natural habitat. Caddo Lake is a waterway to be highly respected because it is extremely easy to get lost when boating off of the marked boat channels. 

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty with more than 150 member nations along with Bird Life International, World Wildlife Fund, the International Water Management Institute, Wetlands International, and the World Conservation Union. The Ramsar Convention designated the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge as “A Wetland of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat”. This designation provides Caddo Lake with conservation efforts as a wetland habitat with international cooperation and puts it into an international arena. There are 24 other Ramsar Convention designated sites in the U.S., but Caddo Lake is the only one in Texas. 

History of Caddo Lake

Being a natural lake, Caddo Lake’s history is unique compared to impounded man made lakes. The Caddo Nation’s people have inhabited the Caddo Lake region from as early as 200 BC. By 800 BC, The Caddos had evolved into the Caddoan Mississippian culture. The first humans inhabiting the Caddo Lake region were hunters and gatherers, and then they eventually established permanent settlements and farmed beans, corn, and squash. 

The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of different Native American tribes who lived in East Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Spanish Explorer, Hernando de Soto, documented the Caddo villages in the 1540s. By the time the Spanish and later the French were operating within the region, the Caddo villages had become garrisoned posts, and the trails between the villages had become military routes. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was the biggest threat to the Caddo Nation. In 1835, the Caddo Nation signed a treaty with the U.S. for $80,000 and moved to Binger, Oklahoma, today’s Caddo Nation capitol.

Scientists believe that Caddo Lake formed over many years. Bald cypress trees have been discovered in Caddo Lake with 600 rings in them. The Great Raft is what the scientists call the reason for the formation of several lakes situated in the flood plains of great rivers in the U.S. Caddo Lake is located in the region of Arklatex, a combination of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. The Red River turns south in Louisiana and runs right by Caddo Lake’s eastern border. 

Over thousands of years, periodic flooding of the Red River rose into the forests on its banks. As the trees were ripped from the banks during floods, they filled up the river and formed a long series of logjams from today’s Arkansas-Louisiana border to Natchitoches, Louisiana, which is 50 miles southeast of Caddo Lake. These logjams are referred to as the Great Raft. 

The Great Raft deepened the banks of the Red River, forged new tributaries, and created numerous lakes in the lower elevations of rivers and streams that feed the Red River. Most of those lakes no longer exist. Only five remain, Caddo, Cross, Wallace, Bistineau, and Black Bayou Lakes. They are known as the Great Raft Lakes. The construction of dams in the early 20th century preserved them. 

In 1874, the U.S. government destroyed the Great Raft of the Red River. The dam on Caddo Lake was constructed in 1914. There are numerous ghost towns dating back to the Republic of Texas era along the shores of Caddo Lake. 

Caddo Lake Cabins and Vacation Homes

You will find amazing cabins and vacation homes on Caddo Lake, and they are as unique and eclectic as Caddo Lake itself. Most of the land around Caddo Lake is privately owned, and there are plenty of options to choose from. For example, there are the owners of the Caddo Caboose who turned a rail car into a cabin-like getaway. The Longhorn Ammunition Plant in Karnack, Texas, provided most of the munitions for the World Wars and the Korean War; this train car transported munitions. 

Caddo Lake is a peaceful, extremely rustic region. Both private owners and private parks, and state operated parks offer rental cabins. Some are not pet friendly. They offer all the creature comforts you desire while providing you with a wonderful idyllic experience on an ancient waterway filled with mystique and intrigue as you try to figure out what is bringing out the nightly cacophony of the owls, insects, and other creatures. 

Find the perfect vacation home on our Caddo Lake Cabins page.

Camping at Caddo Lake

So many choices are available for tent camping and RV camping at Caddo Lake. You will find most of the camping opportunities on the Texas side, but Louisiana has the Earl G. Williamson State Park. It offers RV hookups, tent sites, and a 450-foot fishing pier. In Texas, you can find great places to camp in private parks, RV parks, and the Caddo Lake State Park, which offers campsites with water only to full RV hookups. 

With 200 bird species, almost 30 amphibians, 60 reptiles, 55 mammals, and more than 90 species of fish in a natural habitat, you should be sure to bring your binoculars. When camping at Caddo Lake, the nighttime is louder than during the day. The nightlife at Caddo Lake is nature’s nightclub, and you provide your own beverages. The owls and the frogs, and the bugs all chime in to perform a symphony. 

Be sure to stock up on supplies before you arrive at Caddo Lake because the nearest Walmart is 10 miles south from the furthest eastern tip in Louisiana and in Marshall, Texas, 15 miles southwest of Caddo Lake. 

Find the ideal camping spot on our Caddo Lake Campgrounds & RV Parks page. 

Fishing Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake is under the fishing regulations of two states with vastly different regulations. You will want to know where and what you can and cannot do legally on Caddo Lake. We have made it easy for you to understand them on our Caddo Lake Fishing Regulations page. 

It would be easier to list what freshwater fish and other species that you cannot find in Caddo Lake. Over 90 species of fish inhabit Caddo Lake. The most popular game fish are hybrid striped, largemouth, spotted, white, and yellow bass, bluegill, channel and flathead catfish, black and white crappie, longnose gar, chain pickerel, redear sunfish, and warmouth. People also love to catch clams, crayfish, frogs, mussels, and other aquatic life in Caddo Lake. 

Caddo Lake is a bald cypress tree forest with Spanish moss draping over the cypress branches. Bald cypress tree forests are inundated in Caddo Lake providing abundant fish cover. Aquatic vegetation covers 95% of Caddo Lake on the Texas side. Fishing piers and duck blinds also provide cover for fish. There are multiple boat ramps on the Louisiana and Texas sides of Caddo Lake; some are public, some are in private parks, and some charge launch fees. Water skiing and water sports are limited to the boat channels and the area below Turtle Island, which makes Caddo Lake a fisherman’s paradise. 

Canoes and kayaks give anglers access to backwater fishing areas. On your first fishing adventure to Caddo Lake, consider hiring a guide service. Boat channels are marked on Caddo Lake, but it is so easy to get lost on its backwaters. Local Caddo Lake guides are expert navigators through this mysterious lake with nature everywhere. Not only do the guide charters offer half and full-day fishing trips, their services also include scenic and photography tours. There are numerous boat rental services around Caddo Lake. 

Find experienced local guides on our Caddo Lake Fishing Guides page.

Boating on Caddo Lake

Fishing is the chief attraction on Caddo Lake. Water sports and skiing are allowed in limited areas only in the boat channels and the area below Turtle Island. People love the canoe and kayak paddle trails for fishing and sightseeing. There are plenty of boat launches, some are public, some are in private parks, and some charge fees. 

There are so many stumps in Caddo Lake that it is important to buy a Caddo Lake map and stay within the marked channels. If you are not experienced with Caddo Lake, and you wander into the backwater sloughs, you can easily get lost. You should let someone know where you will be going and when you expect to be back if you go boating on Caddo Lake. 

If you want to experience Caddo Lake without the responsibility of navigating, many of the fishing charter services offer scenic and photography tours. 

Find experienced local guides on our Caddo Lake Tour Guides page. 

Find or sell a boat on our Caddo Lake Boats for Sale page. 

Caddo Lake Marinas

There are no full-service Marinas on Caddo Lake in Louisiana. The Drift Inn Landing, a few miles northeast of Mooringsport, Louisiana, has a double lane boat ramp on the canal with the deepest water on Caddo Lake with RV sites and a store. In Texas on the north side, about in the middle of Caddo Lake, is Potter’s Marina. It has a boat ramp with a few day slips.

Johnson’s Ranch Marina is the oldest inland operating marina in the State of Texas on the southeastern edge of Caddo Lake. It is the only marina that supplies gas on Caddo Lake. It has an over the water dock pavilion and has been serving the outdoor public since 1908. 

Plan your trip to Caddo Lake by finding a place to launch your boat on our Caddo Lake Marinas and Caddo Lake Boat Ramps pages.

Trails at Caddo Lake 

A 1.5 mile moderately trafficked loop located in the Caddo Lake State Park is fine for all skill levels of hiking. Dogs are welcome on a leash on this trail, which also offers activity options. The Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge’s Magazine Trail is a 0.4-mile long trail and lightly trafficked loop used for hiking, walking, and bird watching. You can also ride horses through the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Texas on the Wildlife Observation Trail and roads open to vehicles, along with wildlife watching and bicycling for free.

Hunting on Caddo Lake 

Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located near Karnack, Texas, offers hunting opportunities to hunters with hunting licenses. It offers a seasonal white-tailed deer hunt, a feral hog hunt, an archery hunt, and a Persons with Disabilities /Youth Hunt. It allows legally licensed vehicles on the refuge, which are restricted to roads that are open to travel. Off-highway vehicles, ATV’s, ATC’s, and UTV’s, and fires and camping are prohibited. Dogs are welcome on a leash with the owner’s name and address on its collar. 

The Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMR) in Texas, south of the Caddo Lake NWR, offers opportunities for fishing and trapping. Public hunting of white-tailed deer, feral hog, waterfowl, dove, other migratory game birds, squirrel, rabbit, hare, coyote, raccoon, beaver, nutria, and frogs is permitted with an Annual Public Hunting permit. Primitive overnight camping is permitted. 

In Louisiana, sportsmen hunt for alligator, deer, squirrels, doves, ducks, geese, pheasant, quail, and wild turkey at Caddo Lake. There is an unwritten regulation about permanent private blinds. No official blind ownership is recognized, but the blind owner’s de facto laws respect privately owned blinds. Many waterfowl hunters use pop-up blinds on boats to hunt waterfowl on Caddo Lake. For Louisiana hunting regulation information you can refer to the current state guidelines:

If you are hunting waterfowl on Caddo Lake, you must have a Texas hunting license on the Texas side and a Louisiana hunting license on the Louisiana side. 

Things to Do at Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake is a rural and rustic area. There are a few restaurants on the western edge of Caddo Lake, with the Riverbend Restaurant and Big Pines Lodge on the westernmost tip of the lake both serving seafood and beer and wine. The Aseret Mexican Restaurant and Laugh Happy Arcade are located on SH 43. B & D’s café further east from SH 43 serves home cooking on the lake. It is BYOB on Caddo Lake because there is no nightlife for humans; only nature enjoys a true nightlife. 

You can visit Captain Ron's Gator Park, Petting Zoo And Gardens in Uncertain, Texas, on the west side of Caddo Lake where visitors have the opportunity to see live alligators in a natural setting as well as various other animals like goats, chickens, turtles, and pigs, and can watch a gator feed. Many options for taking Caddo Lake tours, from fishing guide services to touring charter businesses are available. 

Plan your next adventure on our What To Do At Caddo Lake page. <URL>

Caddo Lake Real Estate

There is a significant difference between the price points of homes on Caddo Lake in Louisiana and Texas. Caddo Lake homes in Louisiana are in the top 20 real estate market for the state, and there are 20 homes and 10 lots and land listings at any given time. The average list price for an upscale Caddo Lake home is $339,000. 

In Texas, Caddo Lake real estate is in a lesser-known market for lake homes, typically with between 20 to 30 homes and land lots for sale. The price points range from around $40,000 to more than $2 million.

The nearest metroplex from either state on Caddo Lake is Shreveport, Louisiana. Caddo Lake is rural with few entertainment options. On the Texas side, the nearest Walmarts are in Marshall, Texas, about 15 miles of the southwestern tip of Caddo Lake, and 10 miles south from the furthest eastern tip in Louisiana. In Texas, the only school district serving the Caddo Lake region is Karnack ISD. In Louisiana, Caddo Public Schools is the sole school district. 

To find your dream lake home, explore our Caddo Lake Homes for Sale page.

Caddo Lake Weather & Climate

Caddo Lake sees an average of 50 inches of rain per year, with 2 inches of snow and 214 days of sunshine. The winter low in January is 34 degrees with a summer high in July of 93 degrees. April, May, and October are the most comfortable months for this region.

Keep an eye on the skies with our Caddo Lake Weather Forecast page. 

Caddo Lake Zip Codes

Harrison County, Texas: 75640, 75642, 75650, 75651, 75659, 75661, 75670, 75671, 75672, 75688. 75692, 75694.

Marion County, Texas: 75564, 75657.

Caddo Parish, Louisiana: 71106, 71107, 71105, 71118, 71109, 71115, 71104, 71108, 71129, 71119, 71047, 71101, 71103, 71082, 71033, 71060, 71061, 71046, 71007, 71135, 71133, 71149, 71009,71044, 71069, 71138, 71148, 71136, 71004, 71137, 71134, 71043, 71029, 71162, 71166, 71163, 71161, 71164, 71165, 71102, 71120, 71130, 7115171152, 71153, 71154, 71156, 71150.

Flora and Fauna at Caddo Lake

The flora and fauna of the Caddo Lake region puts you in touch with some of the richest wildlife in the U.S. It contains 200 bird species, 30 amphibians, 60 reptiles including alligators, 55 mammals, and more than 90 species of fish. The bald cypress forests draped with Spanish moss throughout Caddo Lake give you an ethereal experience. 

Common wildlife sightings include such as beaver, frogs, green heron, barred owl, snakes, gray squirrel, turtles, white tailed deer, and wood duck. After dark is when Caddo Lake comes alive with the sounds of nature. The owls and frogs tune in with cadence with the bugs who give you an orchestra of nature. It is loud!

Caddo Lake Email Updates


Visit our Caddo Lake Sponsors!

Caddo Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Caddo Lake Weather Forecast


Partly Sunny

Hi: 89

Wednesday Night


Lo: 66



Hi: 92

Thursday Night


Lo: 67



Hi: 94

Friday Night


Lo: 70


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 96

Saturday Night


Lo: 74

Caddo Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/13: 171.56 (+3.56)