One of Mississippi’s most popular public fishing lakes will be off limits, at least for boaters, for the next few months after being lowered to prepare for work to make Calling Panther Lake more “user friendly.”

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) has lowered the lake level and closed the boat ramp at the 512-acre lake just west of Crystal Springs in Copiah County. 

MDWFP expects the work to be completed late this year. The lake will remain open to bank fishing and camping during the boat ramp closure.

Calling Panther, which was built and filled with water and fish in 2000 and opened to fishing in 2003, has always been difficult to navigate by boat due to extensive standing timber. The timber has made the lake very productive for fishing, but difficult to fish.

MDWFP fisheries director Larry Pugh had indicated that even he was often frustrated trying to find his way through the timber, especially at the end of a trip and returning to the boat ramp. Apparently enough fishermen complained that the project was scheduled.

“We’re lowering the lake level by several feet to expose submerged timber in order to cut boat lanes,” says MDWFP fisheries biologist Jerry Brown. “In addition, we will build a new fishing pier.

“These projects will enhance fishing and boating access for anglers visiting Calling Panther Lake.”  

Brown said the lake improvement project is expected to be complete by late fall 2015 and the lake will be refilled.

For information about the lake, contact lake manager Ricky Blakeney at (601) 892-4776.