Natchez welcomes commission meeting

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Dan Gibson, mayor of Natchez, welcomed the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to the “Oldest city on the highest bluff along the greatest river,” during a regularly scheduled commission meeting Thursday. Gibson went down the line of commissioners shaking hands and gave executive director Lynn Posey a hug. 

Gibson thanked them for their work as they have to make difficult decisions at times. 

“We commend you and hope you are enjoying Natchez,” Gibson said. “It is a real honor to have you all here.” 

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MDWFP commissioners toured Lake Lincoln, Calling Panther Lake and Bob M. Dearing Natchez State Park Wednesday on the way down to the commission meeting. Renovations are underway at Bob M. Dearing Natchez State Park to update the cabins and improve the fishing habitat and fishing access at the lake. 

Jerry Brown, Director of Fisheries, said they have gone ahead and dropped the lake down during the summer and are making improvements to the dock access at the lake and boat ramp access. Natchez State Park is home to the state bass record caught on a rod and reel. Anthony Denny, of Washington, hauled in an 18.5 pound largemouth bass on the state park lake on December 31, 1992. 

The record has stood the test of 31 years. Brown said the lake continues to produce quality bass, redear sunfish and crappie. He added the habitat improvements for the fish was due to the timing of the cabin renovations. 

“We decided while they were doing improvements to the cabins we would do habitat work on the lake. We are adding fish attractors and creating gravel bream beds with easy fishing access from the bank,” Brown said. “We hope to get it back up before spring. We have always had healthy fish there. A lot of times when we see lakes with a lot of creeks it brings in forage fish such as shad. As long as you have food they tend to be healthier.” 

Lake Lincoln also has a creek running through it and produces healthy quality fish in the fish surveys the department conducts each year. There are no new habitat improvements planned for Lake Lincoln yet although the department has deployed fish attractors with brush piles providing structure for fish. 

Calling Panther Lake, located west of Crystal Springs, is a state fishing lake and one of the most popular lakes in the state. It led the State Lakes in fishing revenue and will include a Wildlife Management Area this fiscal year. Archery draw hunts, shotgun only squirrel hunts in February and youth turkey draw hunts will be offered at the lake. 

“It won’t change anything really. You will need to have a WMA permit to hunt and State Lake permit to fish. It has a nice campground too,” Brown said. “It is a great place where you could hunt deer in the morning and catch fish in the afternoon.”

Commissioner William Mounger, who represents the southwest region of Mississippi, toured the renovations of cabins at Natchez State Park yesterday and traveled down to Wilkinson County to visit Clark Creek Natural Area. Clark Creek is located at 366 Fort Adams Pond Road in Woodville and features waterfalls. It is a bit of a hidden gem. 

Mounger said the Natchez State Park cabin renovations were providing bright and open spaces. Concrete pads by the cabins offer a place to barbecue or grill. 

“It is a super nice park and there are a lot of opportunities there,” Mounger said. “I think it will be a great destination for people in the future.” 

Bob M. Dearing Natchez State Park should be finished with renovations and the lake should be filled back up with water by Spring 2024.