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Public Waters Program

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Mississippi is fortunate to have abundant fishing opportunities. With 119 public lakes, 123,000 stream miles and 225,000 freshwater acres, finding a place to go fishing is not hard.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks personnel work hard to improve fishing. A fishery has three parts - fish, habitat and people. Knowledge of all three is required if fishery managers are to be effective
Anglers spend around $240 million a year in Mississippi and generate a total economic impact near $1.5 billion.

  • 651,000 licensed anglers in 2011 included 57,500 non-residents.
  • 94% of our licensed anglers fish in freshwater.
  • 72% of the resident anglers live in rural areas, 44% are female.
  • Cleanliness, safety and proximity to home are important factors anglers use to decide where to go fishing.

Evaluating fish populations, habitats and the impacts of fishing are difficult tasks. Fishery managers must rely on samples which only capture a small percentage of the fish in a lake. Changes in weather and fishing pressure also make the manager's job a challenge.

Although manpower restrictions don't allow every lake to be sampled every year, experience and improved sampling methods allow fishery managers to make forecasts and evaluate the state of our state's fisheries.

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