By Riley Manning
The Fisheries Bureau of Mississippi’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said Friday progress is being made on reopening two major lakes in Lee County.
Elvis Presley Lake northeast of Tupelo was closed after the April 28 tornado that thrashed the woods and facilities around it. Larry Bull, assistant director of the Fisheries Bureau, said the department began removing the downed timber immediately after the storm.
“It’s coming along pretty well,” he said. “We were able to quickly move on a salvage timber sale and clean up most of what was left.”
However, Bull said no renovations had been made to the damaged facilities, including a pavilion, office building, and numerous piers around the lake.
“As for the reopening of the lake, we don’t have a timeline yet,” Bull said. “We’re still taking bids for the repair work and working out funds with FEMA.”
Saltillo’s Lake Lamar Bruce, on the other hand, is set to reopen in the spring of 2015, according to Bull. The north Lee County lake was closed in 2010 to repair one of its dams.
In the meantime, while waiting for the lake to refill with water, the Fisheries Bureau has repopulated Lake Lamar Bruce with fish. Bull said wildlife officials have put more than 200,000 Bluegill and 100,000 Redear Sunfish into the 300-acre lake, as well as largemouth bass, channel catfish, golden shiners and others.
By Bull’s count, the lake is now home to more than 515,000 fish.
“The stage we’re at now is waiting,” he said, “giving the fish time to grow and reproduce, so their populations can sustain themselves under fishing pressure.”