State wildlife officials and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation are offering free opportunities for young anglers to have a week of education and fun at two different Camp Fish programs.

The first is June 17-20 at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Visitor and Education Center at Enid Lake. The second is July 21-24 at Paul B. Johnson State Park near Hattiesburg.

“The camp is much more than children going fishing,” said Larry Bull, Fisheries Bureau Assistant Director for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “Classroom discussions and hands-on exercises led by MDWFP fisheries biologists and Mississippi Wildlife Federation volunteers will help students gain a better understanding of fish, fishing, and fisheries management.”

Space at both camps is limited to 20 applicants, and open only to children ages 11-15. Participation will be based on essays included with the applications. Online applications can be made at the Mississippi Wildlife Federation website, mswildlife.org. Paper applications can be obtained from the MWF by calling (601) 605-1790.

The application deadline for the Enid camp is June 6. Selected participants will be notified by June 11.

The deadline for the Johnson State Park camp is July 11. Selected participants will be notified by July 15.

For more information about MDWFP and Camp Fish, contact Bull at (601) 432-2200 or write LarryB@mdwfp.state.ms.us.

Olive Branch youth rodeo

A youth fishing rodeo, hosted by the MDWFP and the Olive Branch Parks and Recreation Department, will be held Saturday at 8 a.m. at the George M. Harrison Municipal Park. The free fishing rodeo is open to children aged 15 years and under, and registration begins at 8 a.m. 

The park is located at 8700 Church Rd at the intersection of Hwy 305. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear, catfish bait and stringers. The ponds have been stocked with catfish for the event.

Fishing rodeos offer a quality fishing experience for younger anglers in a controlled and safe environment. For more information, call the Olive Branch Parks and Recreation Department at (662) 893-5219 or the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau at (601) 432-2200.

Natchez State Park gets bass

The lake that produced Mississippi’s state record largemouth bass — 18.15 pounds in 1992 — just got a boost from the MDWFP fisheries bureau. Natchez State Park’s 230-acre lake received approximately 3,750 Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings from the Turcotte Hatchery.

“Our fall sampling revealed a healthy bass population, but the overall number of bass collected was slightly lower compared to previous years,” said MDWFP fisheries biologist, Jerry Brown.  “Our management plan for this lake calls for maintaining the bass abundance at a certain level; this stocking will help achieve that goal.”  

Alligator application starts June 2

MDWFP will accept applications June 2-9 for the 2014 public waters alligator hunting season, which will be held statewide Aug. 29-Sept. 8. A total of 920 permits are available across the seven hunting zones.

Individuals may apply for any or all zones, but are limited to one application per zone. Applications are only available online at mdwfp.com. There is no cost to apply, but applicants must provide a current email address and possess a valid Mississippi hunting license, be residents of Mississippi, and at least 16 years of age. Residents who are exempt from purchasing a hunting license may apply by validating their exempt status on the application. All drawn applicants will be notified via email within five working days of the June 9 deadline. 

The application period for the private lands hunt is June 1-July 1 for alligator vouchers in the counties of Adams, Attala, Bolivar, Carroll, Claiborne, Copiah, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Leake, Leflore, Madison, Marion, Pearl River, Rankin, Simpson, Sharkey, Sunflower, Washington, Warren, Wilkinson, and Yazoo. Private lands within the open counties must contain at least 20 acres of privately owned surface water to qualify for an alligator harvest voucher. Each property is limited to one application. Each application requires special documentation and landowner permission. Private land applications may be downloaded and printed at www.mdwfp.com/alligator.