Kayaking on Bayou Deloutre

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lady and man Kayaking on bayou deloutre

By Charles Paxton

Just sharing some pictures taken at Bayou Deloutre (Bayou of the otter) last Saturday (Aug 22). There’s a landing just 7 minutes away from Antioch by car, but a world away in terms of isolation. We only saw one other family all day, some friendly young men fishing from the slipway. They’d caught 5 Bream, one of good size, and a 9″ long Channel Cat ( aka Blue Catfish). I said that’d look good in an aquarium and the fisherman laughed and said it would look pretty good frying in butter too!

Once out on the bayou we were alone among the birds and the beasts.

We met this Raccoon beside the river, his wet legs show he had recently been hunting in the shallows.

We met this Raccoon beside the river, his wet legs show he had recently been hunting in the shallows.

 

Three river turtles and an Anhinga beside tranquil Bayou Deloutre

How many turtles can you see in this picture? The Snakebird is an Anhinga.

There was a sweet breeze running up from the south that cooled us off every now and then.  Kayaking is the best way to explore the bayous, it’s really fun and Deloutre is lovely. It isn’t big and intimidating and there are lots of bird encounters.

It runs down into Louisiana from Arkansas and varies greatly in width and depth along the route. At times it seems no more than a narrow creek, by the time it reaches Stirlington, it has widened and deepened into what feels like a major river.

Trees beside Bayou Deloutre

Delightful Deloutre

 Near Antioch Deloutre is lined with Tupelo trees and Bald Cypress and has an intimate feeling, it’s just the right size for an expedition. About the width of the Thames above Medmenham and with no discernable flow, it is as easy paddling up north or down south. 

The water runs from Arkansas down to connect with the Ouachita River (the upper reaches of which we canoed with my sister and brother-in-law). We had lovely sightings of Kingfishers, Herons, Swamp Turkey (Anhinga), many frogs of various sizes, a water snake and a raccoon!

Kingfisher above, water snake below!

Kingfisher above, water snake below!

Broad-banded Water Snake

Broad-banded Water Snake

We saw turtles, but they dived before we could get to identification distance – canny little critters.

There are so many places that you can access only by kayak, aluminium fishing boats are too wide and have too deep a draft. Motors are too noisy. Kayaks are perfect!

This stretch is negotiable by kayak, if you wriggle your bum back and forwards a bit!

This stretch is negotiable by kayak, if you wriggle your bum back and forwards a bit!

In the shallows you can see tangles of wood and fish moving about.  There seem to be small frogs everywhere and curious hopping insects that visually blend into the sand very well.

A rare view of sandstone and an intriguing burrow.

A rare view of sandstone and an intriguing burrow.

At one stage we saw a sandstone bedding plane exposed in the bank and at another, a striped river prawn approximately 2 inches long.

A river prawn. Possibly an unusual variety of amphidromous  Macrobrachium.

A river prawn. Possibly an unusual variety of amphidromous Macrobrachium. Imagine it hatching as  larva in brackish coastal swamps and swimming about 400 miles upstream to reach this point!

An Anhinga drying off its wings

An Anhinga drying off its wings

If you’re hungry and thirsty afterwards (you very likely will be), stop off at Antioch’s country store on Highway 2, The Bienville Scenic Byway for a very tasty burger.

If you’d like a restaurant meal you can enjoy the full works at the ’50’s Diner across the road. I enjoyed a good cheeseburger there on Texas toast with country fries. The folks are real friendly and there are nostalgic antiques.

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