Bayou Bartholomew – The Longest Bayou in the World

February 27th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Bayou BartholomewIf you’re a fan of fishing or just enjoy getting out into nature, you may want to check out Bayou Bartholomew. Known as the longest bayou in the world, it stretches 359 river miles from Pine Bluff, AR, to the Ouachita River in Sterlington, LA.

The Arkansas River created Bayou Bartholomew some 2,000 years ago when it moved a ways east, leaving its old bed behind. This slowly filled with a variety of run off to become the leisurely bayou we know today. A “bayou” is a slow moving body of water in a low, flat area, usually serving as the outlet of a lake or river. Bayous are often found leading from (and are thus just as often confused with) swamps.

Bayou Bartholomew was a popular waterway for native Americans, who left artifacts along its banks. It was also an extremely important route for transportation during the 1800s. The interior Delta would have suffered mightily in those days had it not been for such waterways. Cotton, timber, and other goods were sent downstream in exchange for the supplies making their way back up.

Blue Heron along Bayou BartholomewThe bayou was also a popular source of recreation. Locals along its course swam, fished, and were baptized in its waters. They held barbecues, picnics, and revivals by it on its banks.

As with so much of our natural world, the bayou suffered some over the years. Pollution, logjams, and sediment levels have threatened its flow. Organizations like the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, however, stepped in to help. While there is still much to be done, today the bayou is beginning to reclaim its grandeur.

Boating and Fishing On the Bayou

Bayou Bartholomew is well known for its excellent bream, catfish, and crappie fishing. In fact, some stretches of the bayou are considered secret hot spots by local anglers – shhhhhhh!

Good fishing along Bayou BartholomewMinnows, jigs, spinners and light gauge fishing line are recommended for catching those crappie and bream. Catfish, on the other hand, are bottom feeders, best caught with worms, minnows, and stink baits. Be sure to get set with the local fishing regulations, too.

Folks also enjoy canoeing and kayaking along the bayou. Local wildlife includes alligators, turtles, migratory songbirds, and some 35 species of mussels. Bald eagles blue herons, osprey, wild turkeys, and owls are in abundance.

Bayou Bartholomew

Learn more about the world’s longest bayou at

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