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Fish Hatchery Visitor’s Center Expected To Open Next Month

North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Manager Justin Wilkens shows a holding tank to Yalobusha Supervisor Board President Amos Sims. The visitor’s center is expected to open in late April.

By David Howell

ENID – The much anticipated wait for the opening of the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery’s visitor’s center is only weeks away.

    The visitors center is located adjacent to the actual operations of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks hatchery.

    The hatchery is a one-of-kind facility in Mississippi, integrating MDWFP spawning work with visitors’ access and is located just off I-55 at the Enid exit below the dam.

    Visitors will be attracted to the hatchery area with signs along Interstate 55. The visitors’ center is 5,000 square feet and will provide a positive outreach to anglers and the general public regarding natural resources and MDWFP management practices.     A 10,000 gallon aquarium will feature native Mississippi fish in a natural habitat setting. There is also be a pond for anglers to catch and release while visiting the center. Visitors will also be able to access a special observation area where the spawning occurs.

    “There is nothing like this in the state,” hatchery manager Justin Wilkens proudly points out.

    While the visitor’s center is only weeks away from opening, with a late-April projected opening date according to Yalobusha County Economic Development District Director Bob Tyler, the hatching season has already started this spring.

    Wilkens reported one of the first species to spawn each year in Mississippi is the walleye, and likewise hatchery workers will spawn this species first at the hatchery. Next on the list will be the Florida bass, which typically spawns in late March.

    Other fish species that will be spawned at the Enid Lake facility include triploid hybrid crappie, regular white crappie, bluegill, redear, grass carp and others.

    The hatchlings will be released in area state lakes.

    The staff at the hatchery includes four with plans to hire two additional employees. Volunteers will also assist with the visitor’s center.    

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