The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail
Willow Island, Chotard Lake and Eagle Lake: Paddler’s Routes
Canoeists and kayakers can stay Main Channel to find the fastest route, or if the water is high enough jump behind Willow Island and Tara Island for back channel paddling (above 25VG). Opportunities for deep woods exploring by canoe or kayak is found paddling into the wonderland of Chotard Lake/Terrapin Neck Cutoff. You can paddle up the Eagle Lake Pass only when the river is bankful 35VG.
The fastest water in the Main channel follows predictable lines around Willow Island. Approach left bank past the mouths of Chotard and Eagle Lake Pass, past Tara Landing and then ease back across mid channel and slide towards the left bank past the Madison Parish Port and Tara Island, and stay right bank all the way down to Paw Paw.
Willow Island Back Channel
Willow Island back channel opens through in low water, around 15 Vicksburg Gauge, with good flow in medium water 25VG. By 35VG the back channel is flowing as fast as the main channel and long-distance paddlers might want to use it and shave off a few precious miles.
Chotard Lake/Terrapin Neck Cutoff 461 LBD
The Mouth of Chotard Lake/Terrapin Neck Cutoff opens up to paddlers in low water around 16 VG, maybe a little lower, maybe a little higher, changes from year to year. Two mile narrow chute opens up into a giant oxbow lake. Two miles across lake to Laney’s Landing, or continue beyond for exploring, birding and fishing.
Chotard Lake: Laney’s Landing
Well-designed concrete ramp at the edge of Chotard Lake north of Eagle Lake. Ample parking, and safe place to leave your vehicle for overnights. Check in at store. Formerly private ramp now made public through 2011 acquisition by the Miss Dept of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Eagle Lake Pass LBD 458.8
At low water this is nothing more than a ditch through the scraggly tornado ravaged woods. At medium water you can paddle in a short ways but might have to portage over fallen trees and a beaver dam. At high water you can work your way a little over two miles through this wildlife-filled chute to where it opens up into a small lake at the base of the levee.
Tara Landing LBD 458