Lake Martin is a large freshwater environment containing open water, but of more interest to kayakers and paddlers are the cypress groves and bird rookeries in a swamp along the lake's eastern fringe.
The land surrounding Lake Martin was once used aggressively for logging. As a result, most of the cypress groves and trees on the water are younger. Though birds such as cormorants, great egrets, and herons have returned to seasonally make their nests in the treetops (the nesting area remains closed to all boaters during nesting season, though the swamp outside of the nesting area remains accessible during this time). Swamp life is teeming on the water as well, with red-eared sliders stretched on exposed logs and alligators sunning themselves if the conditions are right.
The largest appeal is getting to paddle through the picturesque cypress groves as the Spanish moss hangs from branches. As a lake popular with anglers and seasonal duck hunters, the air tends to be punctuated by the sounds of boat engines and other people on the water as well as traffic on Rookery Road; if you head deep enough into the swamp, however, it is also possible to find yourself among choruses of insect and bird calls.
Lake access to boats and paddlers is permitted only during the hours of noon to sunset during duck hunting season. There are no amenities on the lake, so plan ahead. A free public boat launch with outhouses is located at the intersection of Lake Martin Road and Rookery Road. Kayak rentals are available from Champagne's Swamp Tours (located 500 feet south of the public boat launch) for $10 per hour; you can reach them at 337.230.4068 or visit their dock at 1151 Rookery Road, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.