Indian Bayou

Indian Bayou is a unique 28,500-acre public access area located in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin, a prime location in the state of Louisiana. The bottomland hardwood forests, cypress swamps and lazy bayous offers stunning views of unspoiled Louisiana wilderness scenery that changes with the seasons. Recreational and leisure opportunities abound for enthusiasts of all skill levels, complemented by minimal development that facilitates public access without harming the basin’s habitat.

Owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Indian Bayou is part of the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System (ABFS) project. The ABFS encompasses more than half a million acres of scenic forested wetlands and swamplands in south Louisiana and was developed as part of the federal government’s response to the historic 1927 Mississippi River flood.

Indian Bayou Office

112 Speck Lane,
Port Barre, LA 70577

Phone number: (337) 585-0853

Recreational Opportunities


Some of the South’s best bottomland forest recreational hunting is found on Indian Bayou. The area’s small game includes squirrel, rabbit, woodcock and snipe. White-tailed deer and wild turkey are the only big game species. The area’s unique location in the center of the Mississippi Flyway, an important route for migratory birds, can produce superb waterfowl hunting. The area is also the first public land in the state to feature a 350-acre tract specifically for wheelchair-bound hunters.

Hunting seasons vary from year to year.


The area’s lakes, sloughs and bayous are home to abundant commercial and recreational fisheries. Popular sport-fish include: • Bluegill (bream) • Warmouth • Red ear sunfish • White and black crappie (Sac-a-Lait) • Striped, yellow and largemouth bass, • Catfish, Buffalo fish and freshwater drum are fished recreationally and commercially in the area, as are crawfish. A permit is needed for crawfishing, which can be obtained at the project office.

Boating and Paddling

Touring Indian Bayou by canoe, kayak or boat offers a close-up perspective on one of the nation’s last great scenic river swamps and its wildlife. A 24-mile network of paddling trails allows visitors to navigate the area’s streams and bayous without a guide. Mapped by the Corps in partnership with Atchafalaya Paddling Trails, the state of Louisiana and volunteers, these trails feature reflective blue and white directional signs at major turning points.

Hiking, biking and horseback riding

Hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders of all skill levels can access Indian Bayou through 35 miles of scenic trails, 13 of which are designated specifically for hiking.


Riders of all skill levels can access Indian Bayou along 8 miles of ATV all-weather trails. Additionally, for individuals with a LDWF-issued mobility impaired card or those over 60 may access an additional 4 miles of Physically Challenged ATV Trails. Off-road operation is strictly forbidden. These ATV trails are open from 4 a.m. until two hours after sunset.

What licenses are required to hunt and fish Indian Bayou?

State licenses are required to hunt and fish in Indian Bayou. Information about hunting and fishing licenses is available at www.wlf. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is required to hunt and to crawfish in Indian Bayou. These permits are free of charge and are available at the ABFS Project Office. For more information please visit or call the project office.

Safety Tips

Safety Tips

While in the basin, observe all posted rules, regulations and safety guidelines, and read notices posted on bulletin boards throughout the Corps public access areas.

  • Be alert to dangers posed by insects, snakes, alligators and poisonous plants. If you see a snake, remain a safe distance—at least the length of the snake’s body. Alligators fear humans and seldom attack, but may if protecting their offspring. If you see an alligator, stay at least 30 feet away, keeping in mind that alligators can cross short distances very quickly. Do not feed an alligator as this may cause the animal to lose its fear of people and become dangerous.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Whether hiking, biking, canoeing or riding an ATV or enjoying any other leisure and recreational activities, to avoid possible injury, keep an eye out for stumps, rocks, fallen logs, and other obstacles.
  • Be sure someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to return in case you need help.
  • Regardless of your activities, be aware that Indian Bayou is a popular hunting area. Wear appropriate gear while in the area. During open gun and primitive weapon seasons, all hunters (excluding waterfowl hunters) are required to wear a hunter orange hat and vest while in the field. All other users (hiking, birding, fishing, etc.) during these times are required to wear a hunter orange hat and vest while in the field. To properly prepare for your trip, please see our website or hunting guide for these dates (See Contact Information). Federal law requires a life jacket for every boater engaged in any leisure or recreational water activity. It is recommended that they are worn at all times while on the water.