The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

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.  Great camping is found around Willow Island at all but the highest of water levels.  It is the last possible sandbar island campsite above Vicksburg, which is now 23 miles downstream.  (Note: at low water you will find much good sandbar camping below here, but none at high water).  At medium water a blue hole is sometimes found in a large depression just downstream of the tallest forested part of the island.  This depression is created and scoured by high waters and floods.  It is self-propagating much to the delight of the fish and turtles that thrive in its impound, and later by the herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, anhingas, terns, killdeer and other waders that flock to its shores for a wild fish smorgasbord.


461 LBD Chotard Lake Terrapin Neck Cutoff


For a spectacular glimpse into the hidden jungle you’ve been paddling through (but can’t see from the main channel) duck into the narrow opening left bank descending near mile 461.  This is the entrance to Chotard Lake.  You are in for a treat.  Especially if it’s hot, or cold & windy.  According to local resident and river expert Tommy Shropshire, “Chotard is connected to the River by a narrow canal that is unobstructed except by an occasional fallen willow or log.  Below 16 VG you’ll likely bump bottom or maybe an old stump.  Each year it continues to silt-in and becomes more shallow. Pending the rate of rise & fall, the meandering access to the canal also changes. So folks should note that what one saw last trip may or may not be the same this trip.”


You are the edge of an extensive vibrant bottomland hardwood forest which stretches out here almost unbroken to the Loess bluffs at Vicksburg.  This is the old route of the Terrapin Bend Cut-Off of 1886.  Enter the narrow channel and meander the best part of two miles through dense overhanging willows to reach the wide expanse of Chotard Lake beyond.   There is a private boat launch two miles down the lake on its south shore called Laney’s Landing which you can use for a small fee.  Chotard cuts a hairpin curve through the woods and connects with two other large oxbow lakes, Tennessee Lake and Albemerle Make, creating endless possibilities for paddling and exploring in all directions.  Other connected lakes (depending on river level) include Vining, Louisiana, and Airplane Lakes.  Go to Google Earth (link provided below).  When viewed from above this curvy collection of cut-offs and cuticles creates as swirling watery/woodsy wilderness, a land of the lost, a veritable paradise for paddlers!


“The two abandoned riverbeds, Albemarle Lake and Lake Chotard, have now become popular hunting and fishing resorts. Together the two lakes cover more than a 1,000 acres. Since both are on the river side of the levee system, they have not suffered as heavily from agricultural chemical pollution as some of the landside oxbow lakes, and they are periodically restocked when the Mississippi rises high enough to flow into and through its old channels.”  (Historic Names & Places)

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Greenville to Lake Providence
Greenville, Mississippi  
Greenville Accomodations and Restaurants  
Greenville Blues Festivals  
Greenville Boat Ramp  
Greenville Harbor  
537 LBD Warfield Point Park
537 LBD Old Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
534 LBD Vaucluse Landing
531.5 RBD Sunny Side Landing
530.7 LBD Greenville Bridge
529 – 525.5 LBD Lakeport Towhead / American Bar
525 LBD American Cut-Off / Lake Lee
Lake Lee Public Boat Ramp  
Options for Paddlers Below Greenville Bridge Near American Bar and Lake Lee  
Lake Washington  
523 – 520 RBD Island 68
519 – 515 RBD Kentucky Bend
515 – 512 LBD Leota Bar / Cracraft Chute
514 – 512 RBD Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88
512 RBD (And Up Back Channel) Grand Lake Landing Boat Ramp
510 – 506 RBD Cracraft Bar
Paddler’s Choices Through Cracraft Chute & Sarah’s Cutoff  
Entering Louisiana  
503.5 RBD Bunch’s Cutoff
503 RBD Chute of Old River Lake
505 – 502 LBD Corregidor Bar
500 – 495 RBD Wilson Point Bar
496 LBD Tennis Court Landing
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
494 – 487 LBD Baleshead / Stack Island / Ben Lamond
Two Stack Islands?  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landings  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
Lake Providence to Vicksburg
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landing  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
480 – 474 Fitler Bend
471 – 465 Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar
Paddler’s Routes Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar  
462 – 459 RBD Willow Island
461 LBD Chotard Lake Terrapin Neck Cutoff
Laney’s Landing  
459 LBD 2010 F-4 Tallulah – Yazoo Tornado
458.8 LBD Eagle Lake Pass
458 LBD Tara Landing
457 RBD Madison Parish Port and Public Boat Launch
Bluz Cruz Kayak and Canoe Race  
Willow Island, Chotard Lake, and Eagle Lake: Paddler’s Routes  
458 – 449 Milliken Bend
449 – 445 RBD Sparta Island
449 – 445 RBD Marshall Cutoff
446.5 LBD Paw Paw Chute
The “Heart of the Darkness” Tour  
Around Paw Paw to Forest Home Chute  
Paw Paw to Vicksburg Via the Yazoo  
Steele Bayou Control Structure  
What Are the Paw Paws  
Paw Paw Chute / Sparta / Brown’s Point: Paddler’s Routes  
445 – 442 Brown’s Point
444 Brown’s Point Fault Line
441 – 438.5 RBD Delta Point Bar
Habitat Restoration on the Lower Miss  
438 RBD King’s Point / Secret Entrance Into Lake Centennia
437.7 LBD Mouth of the Yazoo River
Vicksburg Services and Accommodations  
Vicksburg Services, Accommodations, and Restaurants  
Looking Downstream  
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Atchafalaya River 159 – 0 SIMMESPORT TO MORGAN CITY
Louisiana Delta 229 – 10 BATON ROUGE TO VENICE
Birdsfoot Delta 10 – 0 VENICE TO GULF OF MEXICO