Fragrant water lilies cover large areas along the south shore of Goose Prairie in late spring. Even before invasive species like water hyacinth and giant salvinia got into the lake, native species could render it impassable to boats. Goose Prairie also features American lotuses.
The turnaround point for most of us who fear spending a "night in the Caddo motel," although old Caddo hands claim they learned their way around the lake long before the 1970s boat roads and pay them no attention. This sign is at Pine Island Pond near Big Cypress.
Only from Potter's Point Hill can you get something of an overlook view of Caddo Lake, but don't wait until the leaves appear on the hillside hardwood trees. Biologists differ about how cypresses like these (which must germinate on dry ground) got their start far out in the lake.
Spatterdock, with its modest, round, yellow blooms, here reflected in the still dark water, is one of the three common water lilies (or water lily-like plants) at Caddo Lake. The others are the American lotus and the fragrant water lily.
The fragrant water lily, often called "white water lily," is a true water lily of the genus Nymphaea and produces delicate, spiked, white-and-yellow blooms of a few inches across. In season, great fields of these blooms cover large areas of Caddo Lake.
Longtime Caddo guide Billy Carter, who admits to being "a product of the swamp," at the helm of his Go-Devil boat. Carter has operated a fishing and duck-hunting guide service for more than forty years.
Tucker's Marina is one of a few fishing marinas that still operate around Caddo Lake. The high-water mark of the fish-camp industry was just before World War II, when more than twenty marinas were in business. Groups of black fishing guides once offered their valuable services at every marina and kept tourists from getting lost on the lake.
Caddo co-author Thad Sitton maneuvers his fourteen-foot, nine-inch canoe just off Taylor Island in early spring. In his exploration of the lake, Sitton kept in mind the local saying, "If you find yourself drowning in Caddo Lake, try to stand up."