MDWFP Fisheries Director Larry Pugh began seeing and hearing excitement from his fishing friends in Northeast Mississippi about the spring return of one of the area’s hotspots — Lake Lamar Bruce.
“Right now, we’re looking at early May, but we can’t confirm the dates until we take it to the Commission for approval,” Pugh said in mid-January, “but I already can tell it’s going to be a big day up there.”
The nearly 300-acre lake at Saltillo, just a few miles north of Tupleo, has been closed for four years for renovation, which included repairs to the dam, shoreline and habitat improvements, and a total restocking.
It’s the restocking that has piqued the interest of anglers — especially those who chase bass. There’s a history of big Florida bass production in the years following renovation and restocking of waters in the MDWFP’s State Lake system.
“I got a call the other day from a guy wanting to schedule a bass tournament around the opening day,” said Pugh, the former Northeast Mississippi fisheries biologist who still calls Tupelo home. “That’s fine, but I told him that it was going to be tough to do since we were going to have a strict slot limit on bass.
“We’re going to protect that original stocking class of bass until they mature, just like we have at our other lakes.”
No decision has been made on the extent of the length limit, but past slot limits on other lakes usually ran 16 to 22 inches. Any bass measuring in a slot must be released unharmed immediately.
Also, the daily creel limit is usually set to allow only one fish over the slot each day.
It’s the price anglers have to pay to enjoy a quality, trophy fishery over the next decade as the original class grows to maturity.
But Lamar Bruce has always been famous for different fish, namely bluegill and redear bream. Pugh sees no reason why that should change after renovation, although most of the attention will be on the bass.
The lake also received Magnolia crappie, the lab-produced triploid crappie that has done so well in small impoundments.
Lake records indicate that all game fish thrive at Lamar Bruce. Those include a 3.25-pound crappie; a 2.75-pound redear; and a 2-pound, 3-ounce bluegill.
The record most likely to fall within five years of reopening is the 11-pound, 12-ounce mark for largemouth bass.
State Lakes manager David Berry said a soft opening, when only youths aged 15 and under can fish, will precede the regular opening for all anglers. Keep a close eye on MS-Sportsman.com for the announcement of the opening dates and the new limits.
Courtesy of Bobby Cleveland of www.ms-sportsman.com