Kepler is a treasure in the Hill Country
By Mary K. Hamner
Kepler Lake is a reservoir located in Northwest Louisiana, about five miles from Castor and four miles from Jamestown. It is an open lake used for fishing and boating. Construction of the spillway was completed n 1958. Kepler is home to a variety of wildlife including alligators, bass, bream, perch, gar, and catfish. Other wildlife of interest includes otters, beaver, egrets, ducks, eagles, and many other bird varieties.
Roy Shagun, who lives along the shoreline in what is known as the Kepler Lake Community, enjoys non-ending photo opportunities as he watches wildlife along the lake. "I watch most evenings as egrets come flying in to a wooded marshy area I can see from the peninsula where I live. The trees turn solid white and with the evening sun shining on the birds, it is a quite a sight. Close up, from a boat, you can see their nests, and young birds hatching," Shagun said.
That Shagun has an eye for nature's beauty is obvious in photo shots of sunsets capturing stunning colors reflected on the water, evening moonscapes, alligators everywhere--just below the water and out--an endless collection all reflecting the variety of life on the lake and its beauty. "When I first moved to Kepler, I experienced a period of regret," Shagun said. " Even though I had family roots in Bienville Parish, I had traveled a lot in my lifetime and life on the lake was different to say the least." Shagun spent time in Alaska during his military service during the Vietnam War, worked for Coca-Cola Company for twenty years, and was a dealer at the Shreveport Antique Mall until he moved to the lake. "Kepler is a remote peaceful beautiful lake." he continued, "Now I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."
A small lake in comparison to others, at the main boat launch near the spillway, you can see across the entirety of the lake to the white concrete Piney Woods Road Bridge. This is the only road that crosses Kepler. Channels have been cut in Kepler through the years to ensure that boaters don't run their boats onto stumps. The stumps are not as much a threat as they once were due to extensive draining and work to remove them.
Lovey Guice and her family began fishing the spring fed waters early on after Kepler was built. "My husband, Bill Guice, and our four children fished here when they were small," Guice said. "They learned their fishing skills on Lake Kepler. Later on," Guice continued, "when a place became available in 1986, we bought it. After we refurbished the camp house, we moved here permanently."
"My husband passed away last year," Lovey said, " but I still fish. Chewbacca, a great companion dog, sits on the back seat of my boat and watches the action. I fish for bass, crappie, bream, whatever happens to be biting. Wood ducks nest in boxes we've set up near our dock and I love to watch them. They sometimes build nests in my chimney."
"Our sons and daughter are grown up now and often come to visit. Something about living on Lake Kepler is just special," Lovey Guice said. "I love to fish and the water is soothing. At night moonlight on the water is just wonderful."
The Kepler Lake Community extends approximately two-thirds the distance around the perimeter of the Lake's shoreline. The unpopulated wooded area on the other side further enhances the area's attraction for wildlife. That raccoons, armadillos, deer, rabbits, bobcats, turkeys, plus other species abound there is most certain. In all seasons of the year a panorama of nature's beauty is on display.