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Freshwater Commercial Fishing

The use of certain fishing gear and/or the selling of non-game gross fish are activities regulated under the authority of commercial fishing regulations.

Non-Game Gross Fish
The category of fishes listed as non-game gross fish are a valuable resource, supplying protein, income and enjoyment. These fish are sometimes referred to as rough fish. They consist of catfishes, buffalo fishes, paddlefish (spoonbill catfish), carp, shad, gar, drum, and several species of minnows. Non-game gross fish can be sold by persons having a commercial fishing license.

Commercial Fishing Gear
Non-game gross fish can be harvested using traditional sport fishing gear, but they can also be caught using commercial fishing gear, such as, gill nets, trammel nets, hoop nets, slat boxes, and trotlines. A person must have a commercial fishing license to fish commercial fishing gear. Although a trotline can be fished on a sport license, a commercial license is needed when fishing more than 100 hooks in aggregate or to sell fish.

Two companies in Mississippi are buying the invasive Asian Carp and need commercial fisherman to harvest these species. If you want more information call Dennis Riecke at (601) 432-2207.

Recent Changes to Commercial Fishing Rules

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Commission has adopted new rules concerning commercial fishing. The rule change is necessary to have some regulations consistent with recent changes by the legislature in the statutes dealing with commercial fishing.  To see a copy of the rules click here. Recent rule changes are:

  1. The minimum slat width on slat baskets shall be 1 ¼ inches.
  2. Commercial fishing equipment will be TAGGED by a water proof tag that  has the fisherman's MDWFP # on the tag. Persons fishing hoop nets, gill nets, trammel nets, commercial trotlines, crawfish traps, shrimp traps, and slat baskets will no longer have to purchase a tag from MDWFP. A valid tag for commercial fishing gear can be (a) a waterproof tag supplied by the fisherman with the owner's MDWFP #;  (b) tags sold by MDWFP after June 25, 2012 - tags where the owner had to engrave their MDWFP # on the tag; or (c) old MDWFP Commercial Fishing Equipment Tags sold prior to June 25, 2012  made valid by the gear owner flipping these metal tags over and engraving thier MDWFP # on what used to be the back-side of the tag. The MDWFP # can be found on one's license above the Date of Birth: It is a number unique to each customer of the MDWFP.  For any tag to be valid the MDWFP # number on the tag needs to be legible and at least 1/4 " in height. The MDWFP # number can be engraved or written with a waterproof marker.  Commercial Fishing Equipment Tags will still be available at MDWFP offices and state parks while supplies last. A slat basket license will stil be needed for each slat basket that a person fishes.
  3. Persons with commercial fishing license may fish a trap for freshwater shrimp.
  4. Waters open to the harvest of paddlefish for roe are closed to all other gill net or trammel net fishing (this regulation will not apply to Mississippi River).
  5. There is no license exemptions for those helping a person with a commercial fishing license fish commercial fishing gear:  A person holding a Freshwater Commercial Fishing License can be assisted by a helper who has any valid license issued by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries & Parks.


A commercial fishing license is needed to:

  • Sell nongame gross fish and non-native fish
  • Fish commercial fishing gear
  • Harvest minnows from public waters
  • Sell minnows at whole sale
  • Raise non-game wildlife in captivity
  • Cost: $30 resident, $200 non-resident.,
  • Special permits required for paddlefish harvest
  • Slat basket license (needed for each basket/box) $30
  • Commercial fishing licenses are sold at any MDWFP Regional Office; at any State Park; North MS Fish Hatchery, and the MDWFP Office in Jackson. Commercial fishing licenses can also be purchased by mail. 

          Application for Commercial Fishing License

Rules & Regulations

Paddlefish Fishing

The Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks recently passed final Rules for the commercial harvest of paddlefish for the 2015-2016 egg harvest season.  The final Rules can be viewed at www.mdwfp.com/administration/rules/rules-(final).aspx

Paddlefish Application Information for Paddlefish Permits

Additional Resources


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