The original General Land Office survey of Lewis County, conducted in the 1840's, mapped the entirety of Labelle Lake CA as prairie. However, just one-half mile south and west of the area, open, upland prairie transitioned into the Troublesome Creek floodplain, which was at least partially wooded. This landscape pattern was characteristic of the region as described in the following passage excerpted from "Presettlement Prairie of Missouri" (Walter Schroeder): A second physiographic expression of prairie in northeast Missouri was the narrow upland or ridge prairie between the subparallel, southeast-flowing streams from the Salt River north to Iowa. These prairies, like those of the Grand-Chariton country, were narrow and elongated. This characteristic shape was expressed in names, such as Ten Mile Prairie in Lewis County. Where valley sides were not steep, the prairies merged into timber through extensive tracts of barrens or "grassy woodlands."
Historical land use patterns in northeast Missouri, including the area that is now LaBelle Lake CA, was one of intense land use, with little regard for conservation. The rich soils that lay in Lewis County were heavily exploited near the end of the 1800's and early 1900's laying waste to expanses of forest, prairies and many riparian areas. Many cleared acres were converted to crop and intensively farmed. Most of those productive prairie acres are considered to be the most valuable land in the county and are still in row crop production.
The post-settlement history of the LaBelle Lake CA has been mixture of hay and pasture management with some row cropping of corn and soybeans.
LaBelle Lake (112 acres) was designed and built as a water supply lake by the city of LaBelle in 1979. The initial fish stocking by the City occurred in 1980 and included largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and black crappie. In 1983 the City entered into an agreement with the Department through the Community Assistance Program to manage the fishery. The Department reimbursed the City for developments on the lake, which included a concrete boat ramp, privy, and gravel parking lot.
The Department managed the lake during those years to provide high quality largemouth bass fishing.
When the city of LaBelle discontinued use of the lake as a water supply, the Department purchased the lake and surrounding 234 acres from the city in 2003. At that time, improvements were made to the boat ramp and an additional privy was installed.