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Mississippi Fishing Licenses and Regulations

Fishermen salivate over the variety of gamefish in Mississippi’s waters. Species like bass, crappie, and walleye keep them Fishing year-round.

But to catch them legally, you’ll need to get the right Mississippi fishing License. Plus, you’ll need to learn the state fishing regulations.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know about getting your Mississippi Fishing License and legally fishing.

Types of fishing licenses

If you live in Mississippi you can apply for a resident fishing license. If you’re visiting then you’ll need to apply for a non-resident fishing license.

You can get both licenses through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks. You must be able to prove residency to get your resident fishing license.

During free fishing days, anyone can legally fish without a license. Also, you may not need a fishing license if you meet certain criteria. To check the exemption criteria click here.

For everyone else, you’ll need a license to catch and keep gamefish. There are two basic types of recreational licenses. Here’s a look at both.

Recreational fishing licenses:

If you’re into fishing for fun, sport, or a meal, this is the license you’ll need. There are many types of recreational fishing licenses.

The price of the license depends on how long it’s valid. Short term fishing licenses are cheaper than long term licenses. However, long-term licenses are a better bargain.

If you’re visiting Mississippi for the week and want to fish, a seven day license might be ideal. If you’re a resident looking to fish for years to come, a lifetime fishing license would be best.

Commercial fishing licenses: 

If you plan on selling the fish you catch, you’ll need a commercial fishing license. Here‘s a full list of reasons you would need a commercial license. This includes recent rule changes.

Commercial licenses are for catching large amounts of non-game fish like carp, drum, and catfish. If you’re saltwater commercial fishing for gross amounts of cobia or mackerel, you’ll need this license.

Transporting fish for the purpose of sales is also covered when you get this license. However, you may need additional permits to legally carry fish across state.

Commercial freshwater fishing licenses can be bought at any MDWFP District Office and any MDWFP State Park. You may apply in person or by mail.

Mississippi freshwater fishing license:

This license allows you to legally fish inland waters. Freshwater licenses are offered to both residents and non-residents. You may acquire both recreational and commercial freshwater licenses. There are a variety of freshwater license options offered through the MDWFP.

Mississippi saltwater license:

To fish coastal areas for fish like snapper, grouper, and mackerel, you’ll need this license. The price for a saltwater license varies, depending on the specific license.

A saltwater license is required to fish south of U. S. Highway 90. Freshwater and saltwater licenses can be used between I-10 and U. S. Highway 90. You may not use a saltwater license north of I-10.

Keep in mind that It’s not entirely about the license. There plenty of things you’ll need to know about the rules for fishing in Mississippi. 

Freshwater fishing regulations 

Daily catch limit: 

Certain non-game fish have no daily catch limit. However, many gamefish in Mississippi are protected by regulation.

You’ll need to know how many fish you can keep per day—also called a creel limit. For example, on the Mississippi River, you’re allowed to keep ten flathead catfish per day. If you’re targeting walleye, the daily catch limit would be eight. The number varies from species to species. Here’s a more detailed list of freshwater daily catch limits.

Length limit:

Certain species of freshwater fish must be of legal length to keep. They can have minimum and maximum length limits. Here’s an example of each:

In Arkabutla Lake, crappie must be at least 12 inches in length to keep. But, in Lake Bolivar, when copia are more than 20 inches in length, they must be thrown back.

Commercial freshwater fishing gear 

There are rules when it comes to commercial fishing gear. For example, you’ll need to know how to legally use:

  • hooks
  • trotlines
  • snag lines
  • hoop nets
  • gill nets
  • slat baskets

Each has specific regulations. They can be found here. You can also find a list of restricted species for commercial fishermen.

Saltwater fishing regulations 

Many of the same general rules apply for saltwater fishing. There is a daily catch limit and length limit for ocean gamefish as well. For example, the minimum keeping length for black grouper is 20 inches. The daily catch limit is four.

Rules on how to legally take a fish from Mississippi’s saltwater  

You can legally catch and take saltwater fish by using:

  • a hook and line (cane-pole or rod-and-reel)
  • A trotline (if you’re south of Interstate 10, you must be registered with MDMR)
  • Gigs and spears
  • Cast nets that are no larger than 12 feet
  • Seines
  • Trammels
  • Certain eel traps

You’ll also need to know reef fishing regulations–there are certain hook tools you must use while reef fishing.

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