Outdoors

Want to fish on the Coast but don't have a license? Here's when you're allowed to wet a hook.

Fishermen fish from Moses Pier at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor. The state has three days designated for fishing without a license, only one of which holds for saltwater fishing.
Fishermen fish from Moses Pier at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor. The state has three days designated for fishing without a license, only one of which holds for saltwater fishing. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com / File

We live in an area that is flush with bodies of water full of fish.

From the bayous, rivers and lakes inshore to the back bays, front bays, Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico offshore, there are plenty of places to drop a line and catch everything from freshwater bass and catfish to ground mullet, cobia and more.

Mississippi wants to make sure everyone has a chance to try their hand at fishing, so they've created "free fishing days" on the calendar. That means you do not have to have a license to go fishing on these days.

Be warned, however, that freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing is not the same.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks regulates freshwater; Mississippi Department of Marine Resources regulates saltwater, so the "free days" have some differences.

One day everyone can agree on is July 4. Saltwater and freshwater fishing is open to everyone on public bodies of water, whether they have a license or not. However, you do have to have a state fishing lake and state park permit to fish in state park, regardless of the day.

In addition, June 2-3 are free days for freshwater fishing. It's the Saturday and Sunday of National Fishing and Boating Week.

Saltwater and freshwater licenses are $12.29 (with fees) each and are good for a year. There also is a 3-day freshwater license available for $18.29 and a sportsman license, which covers freshwater fishing and hunting is $47.29.

Any resident between 16 and 64 must purchase a license. A lifetime recreational saltwater license is required for seniors 65 and older for $7.29, taxes included.

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