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The Sporting Life in Southwest Louisiana

Hunt, fish and commune with nature year-round in Southwest Louisiana.

By Rebecca Deurlein on May 16, 2023

Fishing in SWLA
Rick Olivier

Located along white sand beaches, near some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, Southwest Louisiana is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts – especially the boating, hunting and fishing kind.

Calcasieu Lake, nestled between the region’s five parishes and about 17 miles south of Lake Charles, is an angler’s paradise. Redfish, speckled trout and flounder abound in these waters, and at almost 77 square miles, there’s plenty of water (and secret fishing holes!) to explore.

Allen Parish offers Tenmile Creek and Sixmile Creek, both streams where the crappie and bass keep on biting. Bundick Lake in Beauregard Parish is a reservoir loaded with catfish, bass and perch. Here, anglers work their way into the best fishing coves on Cajun-style canoes known as pirogues.

Josh Duffel is an avid kayak angler and manager of Ship to Shore, a maritime store showcasing all things water recreation. He says that the temperate climate of this region makes any time a great time to get outside, but he does have a preference.

“Winter time is great for the trout to begin stacking up around Prien Lake in Calcasieu Parish,” he says. Prien is also jumping with croaker, redfish, specks, flounder and black drum.

Kayaking in SWLA
Rick Olivier

Into the Wild

The big draw in Southwest Louisiana is being one with nature, and there’s no shortage of options to do so. Watersports are hugely popular on the miles of lakes and streams that make up this area’s landscape. The unique, swampy terrain and warm climate draw an abundance of wildlife, along with opportunities to view it.

Duffle says that there are plenty of places to kayak where you can spot alligators, eagles and even dolphins. Since the waterways in this part of the country are both brackish and fresh, the variety of water activities is matched only by the breadth of wildlife attracted to it. 

“No matter where you are in the area, the water is never that far away, so the opportunities to explore are endless,” says Duffle.

His insider tip? If you want to explore or fish more abundant marshes in your kayak, it is just a short drive to Hackberry, with at least seven different launches along Highway 27, headed south from Interstate 10.

Fishing in SWLA
Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

Family-Friendly Fun

You don’t have to be a water lover to enjoy sporting in Southwest Louisiana; there’s more than enough activity here for landlubbers as well. Every year, millions of birds fly along the Creole Nature Trail that runs through the Central and Mississippi flyways, so much so that the locals call this area “the grand slam” for duck hunters. This is also a great spot for hunting and trapping beavers, bobcats, coyotes, gray and red foxes, minks, muskrats, opossums, river otters, raccoons, and – if you’re so inclined – skunks. 

Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish is a bird-lover’s dream with its agricultural land and coastal marshes that draw egrets and roseate spoonbills. A three-mile auto tour with interpretive signs for wildlife viewing is also available.

For residents and visitors, local gear shops offer everything from hometown advice to tackle, tours, boat rentals and swimming courses.

Louisiana Bait & Tackle Shop, Bowie Outfitters and Lake Area Adventures all provide everything you need for a day on the water. Lake Area Adventures takes this a step further as a one-stop shop for family fun and activities. In addition to its boat tours, it offers swimming lessons for all ages and abilities, parents’ night outs, and even large inflatables for the kids.

Whether your interests have you paddling through the water, dropping a line or trekking through the woods on a hunt for wild game, the land and water in Southwest Louisiana will pleasantly oblige.

Great Golf

Several top golf courses can be found throughout Southwest Louisiana.

One of the beautiful venues is Koasati Pines Golf Club at Coushatta Casino Resort, located in Kinder. The course features an 18-hole, par 72 championship layout and has six sets of tees to accommodate all golfing levels. Westlake is home to The National Golf Club of Louisiana, which spans 7,000 yards and features 14 water holes and 65 bunkers. The National is consistently rated among the state’s best courses by Golfweek and Golf Digest. Be sure to grab some on-site Cajun cuisine after your round at The Max restaurant. In Sulphur, Frasch Park Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 71 venue with a scenic canal that runs through the course. Frasch Park is ideal for all golfers because it measures only 6,267 yards but still plays as a par 71.

Lake Charles has a trio of courses to enjoy, including Contraband Bayou Golf Club, which is ranked among the best golf courses in Louisiana by Golf Digest. Contraband was designed by world-renowned golf architect Tom Fazio, who fashioned the 7,000-yard, par-71 layout to emphasize the natural environment. Another top venue is The Country Club at the Golden Nugget, a challenging course that measures 7,000 yards and offers level changes on almost every hole. And for those who like to play the links-style game, Mallard Golf Club is a Scottish-inspired course with several bunkers, as well as fast fairways that provide maximum rolls for your golf ball.

Kevin Litwin contributed to this article.

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