The pier and banks at Neshoba Lake will be crowded Saturday morning for the annual youth Catfish Rodeo. Registration starts at 7 a.m.
The pier and banks at Neshoba Lake will be crowded Saturday morning for the annual youth Catfish Rodeo. Registration starts at 7 a.m.
The nets are up. The big catfish have been released into Neshoba Lake in the area around the pier.

And there will be plenty of fish to catch Saturday during the annual Youth Catfish Rodeo at Neshoba Lake. Registration starts at 7 a.m., and as always, a big crowd is expected.

This annual event is part of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Parks and Fisheries statewide program to provide fishing opportunities across the state. The Neshoba Lake event is usually one of the biggest of the 60-plus youth rodeos held each year. The rodeo has been going on for nearly 20 years.

“We have brought in more than 2,000 large catfish for the rodeo,” said Sherry Hazelwood, who oversees the youth fishing rodeos. “Some of the fish will be tagged and anyone who catches one will receive a prize. We will have food, drinks and activities for the kids.”

There is no charge for the children, 15 and under to fish. Adults will not be allowed to fish but can help bait the hooks and get the fish off the hooks, put them on stringers, etc. All children must be supervised.

Children must bring their own fishing gear, tackle and a cooler to take the fish they catch home. There will be prizes for different age groups.

Hazelwood has a motto for the youth fishing program.

“If we keep them on the banks of a fishing pond, we’ll keep them off the streets,” Hazelwood said. “The rodeo is perfect to promote friendship and fellowship. You see all ages enjoying one of life’s greatest blessings. It is a great experience.”

Hazelwood said there is a great need for volunteers to help with the various tasks that need to done during the rodeo.

“If you don’t have a young fisherman, you can still come out and help,” said Hazelwood. “You don’t have to have kids to come and be a part of the rodeo.”

She emphasized that the rodeo is always carefully supervised.

“We will have game wardens and plenty of law enforcement there to monitor and make sure we have a safe environment. We will have an ambulance. We emphasize safety above everything else.”

There will be plenty of other activities in addition to the fishing. The Mississippi Wildlife Museum always brings exhibits. There is an archery course lined up. A helicopter is expected to come in for a landing along with other activates.

Hazelwood noted that Neshoba Lake has been a busy place for kids in recent week. She said 800 students from Neshoba Central recently came out for a day camp.  

“We want people to come out and use our facilities,” Hazelwood said. “We have 23 full hookup camping spots. People can come out and have reunions, birthday parties and other gatherings.”

For more information, contact Hazelwood at 601-562-9696 or call the Neshoba Lake office at 601) 656-7376.

“We encourage everyone to come out and bring a pole, bait, tackle, coolers and a smile,” Hazelwood said.