Methods of Take

A recreational fishing license is required for all methods of finfish harvest.

Saltwater finfish may be taken from Mississippi waters by any of the following methods:

  • Hook and Line: Cane pole, handline, or rod and reel.
  • Trotline: Anyone trotline fishing south of Interstate 10 must be registered with MDMR and be issued a unique number that is to be attached, along with the fisherman’s name, to both ends of the trotline on corrosion-resistant tags, written in indelible ink so that it is readable by MDMR personnel. Beginning January 1, 2020, both recreational and commercial trotline tags shall be renewed on an annual basis. Trotline tags will be valid January 1 - December 31 of each year.
  • Bow, Spear, or Gig: No restriction on the number of prongs.
  • Cast Nets and Brill (Brail) Nets: Not to exceed 12 feet in radius, may be used in marine waters only. No freshwater species may be in a fisherman’s possession while he is using a cast net or brill net.
  • Small-Mesh Beach Seines: Under 100 feet in length and with a maximum 1/4-inch-square mesh size.
  • Trammel or Gill Nets, Seines, or Similar Contrivances: Must be under 1,200 feet in total length. Gill and trammel nets must be made of MDMR-approved degradable materials. Haul seines shall be constructed of a mesh size not to exceed 15/16” bar and 1-7/8” stretch and shall not be constructed of monofilament.
  • Permitted Eel Traps: Must have a minimum of 1/2- by 1-inch-square mesh size.

Special Provisions

  • Commercial Fishing Restrictions: Commercial fishing is prohibited north of the CSX Railroad bridge in the three coastal counties of Mississippi.

  • National Park Service Regulations: The National Park Service prohibits commercial fishing within the Gulf Islands National Seashore boundary, which is a one-mile perimeter around Ship, Horn, and Petit Bois islands.

  • Documentation Requirement: Any person or company selling or transporting for sale any species of fish that does not meet Mississippi state size limits or for which the season is closed must possess valid documentation from the state or country of origin evidencing that the fish were legally harvested.

Commercial Eel Fishing

A fishing activity using traps or pots where the sole purpose is to catch American eels (Anguilla rostrata). It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to retain any fish or shellfish other than adult eels while engaged in commercial eel fishing. An adult eel shall be defined as an eel at least six inches in length.

Saltwater Minnow License

In order to catch or transport saltwater minnows for sale, fishermen must obtain a saltwater minnow license.

All minnow traps placed in or on the marine waters of Mississippi must have a corrosion-resistant metal or plastic tag permanently attached to the trap and stamped with the licensed owner’s full name. The minimum height of the letters shall be at least 3/16 of an inch.

Commercial Net Fishing Regulations

Prohibited Equipment Possession

  • The possession of gill nets, trammel nets, or similar contrivances in marine waters where their use is prohibited constitutes evidence of offense, unless:
    • The vessel is anchored or moored at a permanent facility.
    • The vessel is traveling directly between a marina, harbor, or public boat launching facility and a U.S. Coast Guard marked navigation channel.
    • The vessel is traveling within a U.S. Coast Guard marked navigation channel.

Shoreline Restrictions

  • Use of gill or trammel nets is prohibited within 1/2 mile of the shoreline.

Marking Requirements

  • All nets must be clearly marked with the owner’s name or license number, with floats or buoys placed at intervals of 100 feet or less.

Restricted Areas

  • Nets, seines, or similar contrivances are not permitted in:
    • Rivers, bays, creeks, canals, streams, lakes, inlets, or other water sources entering salt waters, except in specified areas such as Cat Island and Biloxi Bay.
    • Areas within 1,200 feet of any pier or harbor.
    • Areas within 100 feet of the mouth of any water body.

Purse Seine Regulations

  • Purse seines may not exceed 1,500 feet in length, except those used for catching Menhaden, which must have a mesh size no smaller than 1/2-inch square (1-inch stretch).

Reef Fish Regulations

All fishermen fishing for reef-associated species (snappers, groupers, triggerfish and amberjack) must use NON-stainless steel circle hooks when using natural baits while fishing for all reef species, including Red Snapper.

The Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices Act of 2020 (DESCEND Act), effective January 13, 2022, requires fishermen to have a venting tool and/or descending device rigged and ready to use when fishing for reef fish. This rule applies to fishing for reef fish from commercial vessels, charter vessels and headboats and private recreational fishing vessels.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.