Fishing won’t be allowed in the lake for another two years but in that time, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will be working to increase the fish size, population and diversity.
Before beginning the stocking, two different trucks stopped by the lake – past the “restricted” barriers – to inquire about the status of the lake. Others watched from the levee.
“Given its location and the people you see around watching, it’s a popular place,” he said. “They’re ready to fish and we’re looking at late spring or early summer of 2015 before we finish.”
“We’re just thrilled we’re ahead of schedule,” said Fisheries Bureau Assistant Director Larry Pugh. “The dam project is complete, we closed the valve and we got enough water to stock.”
Biologists from MDWFP took truckloads of fish down what will be a boat ramp when the lake is finished and into the creek channel running through the lake. The channel has more than 10 feet of water at its deepest currently but most of the lake is still yet to be filled.
Pugh said as a rule they wait two years after stocking a lake to open it to anglers.
“The lake has to fill up, first of all,” he said. “We want the fish to get enough size and we also want them to spawn twice before they are fished. We have to have not only these fish but fish behind them growing when it opens.”
Before then, Biologist Tyler Stubbs said they plan to stock the smaller four-acre pond next to the lake and have fishing rodeos.
The pond can be restocked quickly and drained into the lake so MDWFP can try out different combinations or host fishing events.
This spring, Pugh said, the lake will be stocked with bass.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality raised the dam classification two years ago to a high hazard dam, meaning it had to meet higher standards.
It was drained so the levee could be moved and rebuilt to meet the higher standards.