One of Mississippi’s most-popular public lakes, Simpson Legion Lake on Highway 49 between Mendenhall and Magee, is closing to allow the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to repair and renovate the dam, the agency has announced.
The 76-acre lake is popular because of its easy access from Highway 49 and its ample bank-fishing opportunities.
According to Larry Pugh, fisheries director for MDWFP, the dam is in need of repair and is the next project in the agency’s renovation project in its public lake system.
“The bad news is that the lake will be closed for about 2 to 2 1/2 years,” Pugh said. “The good news is that historically, once we renovate and repair a lake, it comes backs better than ever.”
Typically, the MDWFP draws a lake down to renovate aging water-control structures, but it also uses the time to do renovations to the shoreline and lake bottom to improve fish habitat and increase bank access.
The lake was open in December during the drawdown; fishermen were allowed bank access only and all limits were removed.
Pugh said the agency was able to use its electrofishing boats, normally used to survey fish and return them safely to the water, to capture some of the fish and transfer them to other lakes in its system. Included were several of the trophy bass that had made Simpson Legion so popular. Pugh said fish were taken to both Lake Calling Panther near Crystal Springs and Lake Mike Connor at Collins.