Regulation changes made months apart by Barnett Reservoir officials and last week by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have unified the law regarding trotlining and jugging in the Pelahatchie Bay area of the 33,000-acre lake near Jackson.

Now, it is illegal to run trotlines or fish with jugs anywhere in Pelahatchie Bay, Barnett Reservoir’s largest feeder creek, which is located in the southeast corner of the main lake.

“What we had were two differently worded regulations about where it was legal to jug fish or trotline in the Pelahatchie Bay area,” said Craig Hunt, parks and recreation director of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, a state agency that manages the reservoir. “Both were vague and combined basically made it impossible to understand closed areas, and even could have been interpreted to say that no parts of the Bay were open.”

When the original regulations were written, only the south bank of the Bay had been developed into subdivisions. However, over the past 15 years, all but three sections of the north shore have been developed, including new boat channels dug to reach housing areas.  

The confusing regs were originally designed to eliminate jugs, trotlines and drop lines from high-traffic areas and near homes. With the north shore now developed, reservoir officials gave that area the same protection.

“We (PRVWSD) made our changes to clarify the rules,” said Hunt.

“We (MDWFP) made the change to be on the same page as Barnett Reservoir,” said Larry Bull, assistant chief of fisheries for the state wildlife agency.

Regulations for other areas of Barnett Reservoir remain unchanged. The use of trotlines, jugs or limb lines is forbidden on the main lake from the dam north to a line between the point where the Twin Harbors channel enters the main lake in Madison County and the Fannin Landing boat launch in Rankin County. The use of such gear is also prohibited within 100 yards of any sandbar or public boat launching facility within the main lake or Pearl River, and in any marked navigational channel between Mississippi Highway 43 and Ratliff Ferry in Madison County.