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News Filed Under Fisheries

August 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University has hired a new marine fisheries specialist for its Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

Marcus Drymon began his MSU Extension Service appointment Aug. 1. Before coming to MSU, he received his doctorate from the University of South Alabama Department of Marine Sciences, where he also served on the faculty.

Newts are common inhabitants of small, woodland ponds, especially when no fish are present. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
August 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Small, forested ponds are abundant in Mississippi, and there is a good chance one is somewhere on your back 40.

Most landowners see these small systems as difficult to manage for fish because they are too small, shallow, or weedy, or maybe the trees are too close to the water's edge. Fishing may not be your thing anyway. In these cases, consider managing small, wooded ponds for wildlife.

Water hyacinths produce lovely blooms on Mississippi water surfaces during the summer, but this aggressive and invasive plant blocks light, stops photosynthesis for the plants growing below the surface and eliminates oxygen in the water. Freezing temperatures will kill plants, causing additional water quality problems. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/ J. Wesley Neal)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although water hyacinth is beautiful and quite stunning when in bloom, it is not a desirable plant in ponds.

Water hyacinth floats gracefully on water surfaces. Its inflated, spongy stems feature attractive flower spikes adorned with up to 20 blue, yellow and light-purple flowers. It is common on many of Mississippi's navigable waterways, including the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Pearl River drainage. Native to tropical South America, water hyacinths feel right at home with Mississippi's warm summers and fertile waters.

July 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Invasive Plants, Marine Resources, Water, Wildlife

BILOXI, Miss. -- Individuals interested in learning more about conservation of Mississippi's natural resources can attend the Coastal Mississippi Master Naturalist class.

The seven-week course begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, located at 1815 Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi. Classes meet once a week at various locations through Oct. 17. Weekday classes meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Weekend classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

With proper stocking ratios and active management, small ponds can provide fun fishing opportunities and food for the table. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Stocking ponds with largemouth bass and bluegills is the most common management strategy used in Mississippi, but this combination is not ideal for ponds smaller than one acre.

In these tiny ponds, other species -- either by themselves or in combination -- can usually provide higher quality fishing opportunities than the traditional bass and bluegill approach. One great choice for small ponds is catfish, which provide easy fishing and excellent table fare.

Hybrid sunfish, sometimes called hybrid bream, are good options for small ponds because they grow quickly, especially when fed, and they are easy to catch. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi landowners have tiny ponds that are not ideal for traditional largemouth bass/bluegill management. In ponds less than an acre in size, other species, either by themselves or in combination, can usually provide higher quality fishing opportunities than the traditional bass and bluegill approach.

A great choice for small ponds is to create a hybrid sunfish pond. Hybrid sunfish, sometimes called hybrid bream, are a good option for small ponds because they grow quickly, especially when fed, and they are easy to catch.

Landowners can learn how to improve the quality and quantity of sport fish, such as this bluegill, in upcoming free pond management workshops. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who want to improve an existing pond or build a new one can find guidance in upcoming educational workshops.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have teamed up to offer at least seven pond management workshops this year. The short sessions will be held throughout Mississippi, so chances are good there will be one near you.

February through April are common months for fish to become stressed and die. Water quality, specifically issues with alkalinity, may be the root cause. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Kevin Hudson)
February 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter and spring weather in Mississippi is a rollercoaster ride. Some nights are below freezing, while others feel like midsummer. With the warmer, sunnier weather, people begin to pay more attention to their ponds.

November 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The best fishing holes may begin with good fish genetics, but they continue with proper pond management.

Since the early days of farm pond management, MSU Extension Service specialists have made fish stocking recommendations based on the idea that if it's set up right in the beginning, the pond will provide quality fishing opportunities for decades to come. I have told many landowners there's no need to restock bass or bream unless there is a fish kill or someone wants to intentionally start over by draining or poisoning the pond.

A successful fisherman knows that a productive and healthy lake is important to produce large fish. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Contrary to popular belief, fish don't like "clean" water.

If you have ever accidentally placed your pet fish in a bowl of pure, distilled water, you know what I mean. Fish have salts and other compounds in their blood. If their external environment is too different from their internal environment, fish have to fight continuously to keep the salts in and the water out.

Great days on the lake like this one do not just happen. Fish management plays a significant role in meeting the pond owner’s desire for growing trophy bass. (Submitted photo)
August 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – There is no easy answer to the debate for the best type of bass to stock in a Mississippi pond.

The genetic differences between Florida bass, northern bass and hybrid bass are often relatively subtle. Fish management plays a greater role in meeting the pond owner’s desire for growing trophy bass, but the decision is still an important one.

July 1, 2016 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Evidence that people are watching too many zombie shows or movies can be found in the concerns and questions pond owners have for biologists.

June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The life of a fish is more complicated than most people realize. It needs places to hide from predators, ambush prey, spawn and guard young fish, and just loaf and relax.

Alligators are protected by Mississippi law, so consult wildlife officials for guidance in removing these unwanted visitors from ponds and lakes. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pond and lake owners frequently seek help to control unwanted pests in and around their water, such as turtles, beavers, muskrats, nutrias, alligators and sometime geese.

A new lake or pond provides a new habitat for local critters to move into and live. When landowners decide to put a pond or lake on their property, they need to consider control plans for those unwanted visitors because it is only a matter of time until these animals move in and call the body of water home.

This young angler is actually helping an Oktibbeha County pond grow larger fish. Pond and lake managers need to harvest 1 pound of bass to 5 pounds of bream, usually beginning in the third year after stocking, to promote larger fish. (MSU Extension Service file photo/Linda Breazeale)
March 4, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I manage the fish in my lake or pond?”

My responses to these landowners vary, but I usually ask them some questions of my own. What is your goal? Do you want big bass, big bream or just an overall increase in all fish species in your pond or lake? Once the lake owners set their goals, then we can go to work.

Pond weeds start growing early as soon as day length and water temperatures allow, so start a weed management program before they become a problem. (Photo by MSU Extension/Wes Neal)
February 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Having too many weeds in a pond is the bane of many Mississippi pond owners.

Pond weeds start growing early, as soon as day length and water temperatures allow. Don’t let them get out of hand! Start a weed management program before they become a problem to keep your pond picture perfect.

Before fertilizing a pond, be sure there will enough fishing to take care of the increased fish population. (Photo by MSU Extension/Wes Neal)
February 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The decision to fertilize a fishing pond is one that should not be taken lightly.

A fertilization program can greatly increase fish production in fishing ponds. Adding nutrients stimulates the growth of microscopic plants, or algae, which feed the small animals that feed the fish.

Kudzu is one of many invasive species of plants, insects, fish and mammals competing with Mississippi’s native species for resources. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
January 8, 2016 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Everywhere you look, you can see something that wasn’t originally part of Mississippi’s landscape.

From fire ants that came ashore in the early 20th century to a Eurasian sedge thought to have been transported by visitors to the grave of the Gypsy Queen in a Lauderdale County cemetery, Mississippi has a wide variety of invasive species. Kudzu, Chinese privet, cogon grass, Asian carp, pine beetles and wild hogs are other examples of plants and animals that have invaded Mississippi’s landscape.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension Service professor, demonstrates safety features on a life raft used aboard commercial fishing vessels. (Photo by MS-AL Sea Grant Consortium/Melissa Schneider)
October 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- The Atlantic hurricane that sunk the cargo ship El Faro in early October highlights the need for sailors to be trained in how to react in an emergency.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension professor of marine resources at the Coastal Research and Extension Center, is trained to certify marine safety instructors who are sailors on commercial vessels. Two Mississippi sailors he trained survived an on-the-water collision that sunk one boat in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Charlie Culpepper, a graduate student in the Mississippi State University Forest and Wildlife Research Center, is studying methods to better manage and optimize crappie reproduction. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
September 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Fisheries

By M.K. Belant and Keri Collins Lewis
MSU Ag Communications

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Nature offers a narrow and unpredictable window for breeding fish, and Mississippi State University scientists are studying ways to help hatcheries stock the state’s lakes.

What if conditions could be controlled within hatcheries so the intense seasonal workload could be dispersed over time? This ability would be especially beneficial for the popular black, white, and hybrid triploid Magnolia crappie.

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