Deep lakes hold a unique place in the human imagination. The idea of a bottomless lake appears commonly throughout world mythology; in such bodies of water, one typically imagines monsters, lost cities, treasures, mermaids, kingdoms of the dead, and so on.
From Lake Baikal in Russia to Lake Vostok in Antarctica, these lakes are filled with rare endemic species and mystery waters that are yet to be discovered. However, you don’t have to travel the world to find deep lakes because there’s a good chance one exists in your state. Mississippi, for one, has a lot of freshwater and all the benefits that come with it.
If you enjoy sandy summer reading, water activities, or reeling in a catch, Mississippi’s lakes are the places to be. But which of these is the deepest? This article dives deep into Mississippi’s deepest lake, including its depth and other fascinating facts.
What is the Deepest Lake in Mississippi?
Although narrow, Okhissa Lake is almost 80 feet deep at typical water levels, making it the deepest lake in Mississippi.
Okhissa Lake, located within the Homochitto National Forest, is a 1,075-acre clear spring-fed lake and recreation area. The lake is peacefully tucked away in 189,000 acres of land managed for various activities in the rolling hills of Southwestern Mississippi. Thousands of acres of undisturbed wilderness surround this flooded timber impoundment, and camping and hunting are currently prohibited near the lake. Okhissa is a lovely lake with steep, forested mountains, and it is densely packed with draws and drains that carve out little pockets and fingers within each cove.
What Makes Okhissa Lake Special?
World-renowned bass fisherman Bill Dance designated Okhissa Lake as his first “Bill Dance Signature Lake,” as he was engaged in the fish habitat from the planning stage, and the lake teems with bass, bream, crappie, and catfish. The Bill Dance brand rapidly made this lake renowned among fishermen looking for Bill Dance Signature Lakes. Okhissa Lake boasts 40 miles of shoreline and deep waters that are great for largemouth bass. This species is rarely found this far south since bass prefer cooler waters. Okhissa is over 80 feet deep in certain spots, allowing for colder waters that support largemouth bass habitat.
On November 7, 2007, Okhissa Lake opened to the public for fishing, and it was a spectacular day for anglers. Okhissa Lake has a slot limit of 16 to 20 inches. Anglers may keep up to ten bass daily, with no more than one measuring more than 20 inches in length.
Fishing at Okhissa Lake
At Okhissa Lake, fishing is a big deal. The lake has at least 500 man-made beds for fish habitat, and 700 acres are dedicated solely to fishing. Furthermore, trees remain on the lake bottom, providing additional habitat for fish that prefer deeper, cooler waters. Mississippi has stocked F1 hybrid bass in this lake, but any angler seeking to capture a bass here should do some online research to get advice from other anglers who know the lake. For a first-timer unfamiliar with the lake, the cove layouts and bass migration patterns can be challenging. Bream, catfish, and crappie can also be found in the lake.
Things To Do at Okhissa Lake
While Okhissa Lake is well-known for its fishing, tourists can also enjoy pleasure boating and water skiing on the lake. Water skiing has its own buoyed ski area, and Okhissa Lake’s recreational activities will grow in the coming years. The lake has a boat ramp on both the north and south ends, picnic grounds, and a gazebo with views of the lake and dam.
Additionally, there are plans for campgrounds, cottages, and a resort with conference facilities in the future, but for now, visitors to Okhissa Lake can stay at a few neighboring campgrounds. Visitors can also stay at the Clear Springs Campground in the Homochitto National Forest. Swimming beaches, environmental education locations, footpaths, and day-use areas are also envisioned for the lake. So, whether people prefer fishing for a record catch or taking a pleasant boat ride, Okhissa Lake is a spot to keep an eye on. Visitors can witness the beauty and fun of a new lake evolving before their eyes.
Why is Okhissa Lake Closed?
According to a report from the US Forest Service, Okhissa Lake will be closed until March 15, 2023, as part of a significant effort to improve the fisheries’ quality, lessen the biological and recreational impacts of an invasive species, and improve the overall recreation experience for visitors.
The lake’s quality has declined over the last decade due to various factors, including increased aquatic weeds such as giant Salvinia, a fish population quantity and health deficit, and a lack of bank fishing access. Moreover, agricultural lime was sprinkled throughout the dry lake bottom during early construction to boost the efficacy of the fertilizer applied.
Every attempt is made to keep other fish from invading Okhissa Lake, and this is done to keep the fish population balanced and to keep the fish from dying off. Due to a shortage of natural spawning places, spawning beds were put in before the lake bottom was flooded to improve the lake’s productivity and fishing habitat.
What is the Biggest Lake in Mississippi?
Sardis Lake is Mississippi’s largest and most beautiful lake, but the fun-filled recreational choices attract millions of tourists yearly. The reservoir’s 98,520-acre (398.7 km2) surface area is ideal for water skiing, sailing, fishing, and picnics. In addition, there is a beach where you can relax and soak up the sunshine. There are fishing options for bass, crappie, and catfish, and if you enjoy hunting, be prepared to see deer, turkey, quail, and duck. The Sardis Lake Marina, located on the lake’s southeast shore, features 140 parking spaces, a restaurant, boat, ski, tube, and wakeboard rentals.
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- Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (1970) https://www.mdwfp.com/media/news/fishing-boating/its-just-okhissa-way/#:~:text=The main lake is narrow,reaches nearly 80 feet deep
- Lake Lubbers, Available here: https://lakelubbers.com/lake/okhissa-lake-mississippi-usa/
- Enterprise-Journal, Available here: https://www.enterprise-journal.com/local-news-top-stories/okhissa-close-through-march-2023-work#sthash.DvLPFDEH.dpbs