More paddling, angling opportunities open at Caddo Lake

acaddolakeAnglers and paddlers have lots more room to explore on one of East Texas’ best fishing lakes.

Ten new paddling trails encompassing more than 50 miles will open along a scenic stretch of Big Cypress Bayou and areas in and around Caddo Lake on Saturday, Feb. 2, to coincide with World Wetlands Day.

Five of the 10 new loop trails leave from Backwater Jack’s R.V.Park, which is nestled along the Spanish moss-draped Big Cypress Bayou shore nearJefferson. The other five trails feature put-in locations on Caddo Lake in and around Uncertain. The shortest trail (Benton Lake Loop on the Big Cypress) covers 2.4 miles round trip and meanders upstream from Backwater Jack’s. The longest paddle trail (Hell’s Half-Acre) covers 8.8 miles round trip and leaves fromCaddo Lake State Park.

“The launch of these 10 trails represents the most trails ever opened on one day since the Texas Paddling Trails program began in 1998,” says Shelly Plante, nature tourism manager for theTexasParks and Wildlife Department. “The Caddo-area trails increase the total number of official state paddling trails to 48, giving Texans more than 430 miles of day-trip trails to explore throughout the state.”

Paddlers on the new Caddo trails will find themselves amid mature bald cypress swamps and bottomland hardwood forests that are home to diverse flora and fauna.

Approximately 216 bird, 47 mammal, and 90 reptile and amphibian species occur in the area. A number of animals and plants here are considered rare, threatened or endangered under national and international laws. These species include, but are not limited to, the peregrine falcon, the alligator snapping turtle, and Rafinesque’s big-eared bat. More information about the paddling trails can be found on informational kiosks located at each trail access site.