Catahoula NWR headquarters is located approximately 12 miles east of Jena, Louisiana. From the Intersection of LA 28 and US 84, turn west on US 84. Follow US 84 about 1.5 miles and turn west on Catahoula NWR Road. The headquarters is about .5 mile from US 84, located in the second building. Directional signs are found along the route.

Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge is a wintering refuge area for migratory waterfowl. The American Bird Conservancy has designated the refuge as one of 500 Globally Important Bird Areas in the U.S. Catahoula Lake itself is a Ramsar-designated Wetlands of International Importance for its historic concentration area for waterbirds, including shorebirds and migrating/wintering waterfowl. 

Catahoula Lake, a 30,000-acre natural wetland, often holds winter waterfowl populations of up to 75,000 individuals. Additionally, the Duck Lake Impoundment attracts more waterfowl to a specially-developed habitat manipulated to promote the growth of aquatic and moist soil vegetation. 

Perhaps the best birding introduction to this massive site is the nine-mile Wildlife Drive around Little Lake near the refuge headquarters. Driving clockwise around the loop, the lake will be on the right. Several short, unimproved walking trails lead to additional lakeside views. 

The combination of the lake and the forest attracts many bird species. In all, 132 species have been recorded here. Those include diving and puddle ducks and numerous wading birds. Seven woodpeckers, five species of flycatcher, nine sparrows, and thirteen warbler species are commonly recorded on an annual basis. 

The refuge is divided into two units. The 6,671-acre Headquarters Unit borders nine miles of the northeast shore of Catahoula Lake. The 18,491-acre Bushley Bayou Unit is located 8 miles west of Jonesville. Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of activities for visitors. Visitors annually take advantage of outdoor recreation opportunities such as hunting, wildlife photography and observation, and fishing. Amenities are limited to parking and interpretive/directional/identification signage, and the site is not handicapped-accessible.