Barnett Reservoir Sets Permit For Fishing By Spillway

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — People older than 16 will soon need to register for a free daily permit to fish by a Barnett Reservoir spillway in central Mississippi.

The requirement starts Dec. 1, and the reservoir director said the goal is to cut down on littering and vandalism.

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District said in a news release that its board of directors voted Thursday to make the Spillway Recreation Area permit-only for fishing.

“We hate it has come to this, but we have to create some feeling of accountability among other users to end this problem,” reservoir director John Sigman said in the release. “We’ve looked at it from every angle and have invited input from our users, but the litter situation has not improved, and this has to change. It's not just an environmental problem but also a safety issue with so much litter on the rocks.”

The new rule will affect both sides of the Pearl River below the spillway dam in Rankin County, just north of Jackson.

The daily registration system will be similar to daily check-in stations that the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has at wildlife management areas.

People wanting to fish will be required to get a permit form at a check-in station and fill it out before using the spillway park.

Each card will have three parts. One goes on the vehicle dashboard, one goes in a box at the permit station and one is carried by the user. Violators could face a fine of up to $100.

Reservoir Police Chief Trevell Dixon said in the news release that the dashboard card will show a cellphone number that officers can use in case of emergencies to reach people who are fishing.

“There are times when people need to be notified that we are anticipating a rising river that will require the removal of vehicles from the parking lot on the northwest side," Dixon said.