Sloan Okhissa Lake Homochitton NF


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USDA Forest Service - Region 8 National Forests in Mississippi Homochitto National Forest Okhissa Lake and Recreation Area ….on National Forest Lands Franklin County, Mississippi


There is a sixty-year history of local support for the construction of a recreation reservoir on National Forest Lands in southwest Mississippi. The Forest Service is building a 1075-acre lake and recreation area that will provide water, land and nature-based recreation opportunities. Economic diversity and rural development was a major factor considered in making the decision to begin this project.


Main spillway riser 85-feet high


Summer 2000


Summer 2004


May 2005 Looking east from top of dam


May 2005 Auxiliary Spillway


Aerial view after 'liming'of lake bed. Lime will enhance lake fertilization; which improves fish habitat, provides increased productivity, improves recreational fishing and manages aquatic weeds. Summer 2001


Natural spawning sites are limited in Okhissa Lake because of steep slopes and no rocky areas. Placement of spawning beds enhance the productivity and fisheries habitat of the lake and will improve the quality of fishing experiences. Crappie, largemouth bass, and bream (bluegill and redear) will use the same gravel spawning beds but at different times. The male bluegill builds nests consisting of dish-like depressions fanned out of a variety of substrates with gravel preferred. Nests may be solitary, but are usually in colonies, often in association with other sunfish species, up to 500 per colony. To improve the lake fishery habitat, fish structures were installed before the lake bottom was flooded. Spawning bed boxes Summer 2001


Spawning Beds May 2005


Ledges and channels will provide adequate escape cover habitat for fish. Deep water is needed immediately adjacent to shallow feeding areas to allow adequate escape cover for fish Stumps and tops are placed in conjunction with ledges and channels to enhance cover and to attract fish to specified locations Generally channels and ledges will be located in less than 35 feet and deeper than 5 feet of water Summer 2002


May 2005


Tony Dixon, Forest Supervisor Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran Homer Wilkes, NRCS Dedication of Okhissa Dam – October 2005


Fish stocking Fish stocking began once the valve was closed. It will take 18 months to establish a balanced fish population of predictor and prey. Fish to be stocked include bluegill, redear, white perch, sunfish, black crappie, threadfin shad, fathead minnows, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. Please do not add fish to the lake, plenty of the right type will be stocked. Unscheduled fish could destroy the balance and cause the fish population to die off. If the population remains balanced, there should be 5 to 7 lb bass to catch when the lake is open to fishing in mid-2007. catfish bass bream crappie Fish stocking will establish the lake with the proper species and numbers of fish to ensure a balanced and sustainable fish population that will offer a quality fishing experience to the public.


Catfish and Bream provided by Mississippi Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries andamp; Parks 200,000 Catfish Stocked Fall 2004 Redear and Copper-nosed Bluegill 300,000 Fathead Minnows 300,000 Bream


Bass was provided by: 22 day-old Bass April 29, 2005 Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery


80,000 Bass


Roads: In partnership with Federal Highway and Mississippi Dept of Transportation, seven (7) miles of roads have been designed. The road construction contract has been awarded and construction has begun. Turn lanes along U.S 98 and two miles of roads will be constructed in the first phase. As funding is available, phase 2 will be completed. Timber along the road clearing-limit was cut from September to December 2004. Turn lane – looking west toward Hwy. 98


Beautiful scenic roads at Okhissa Lake


Construction of water lines go across land and across the lake.



Double Cabin Dog Trot Style Resort Picnic Activity Area Day Use Picnic Shelter A second solicitation for private partnership proposals for additional recreational developments around the lake is expected to occur early in 2007. Our objective is to reassess the requirements of the original prospectus, which received no response, and offer it as a public solicitation for proposals. Major recreation facilities, such as a lodge, cabins, restaurant, marina and campgrounds around the lake will be marketed for construction, maintenance and operation through the Forest Service permit program. All current appropriations have been delegated. Further development will depend on a successful bidder, as well as added appropriations. Small Cabin


Design work is on going for recreation infrastructure, including roads, beaches, and boat ramps. Beach Bathhouse with Snack Concession Beach Activity Area Restroom at Okhissa Lake A high priority is construction of a Day-Use Area, which will allow public access for lake use by the time the lake is filled (anticipated 2007). Entrance Station


Resort Island Cabins Day use zone Rd. #149 Marina Camping Dam


April 1 Water Elevation – approximately 279 feet Lake Depth – approximately 60 feet deep @ dam with 13 feet remaining for a total depth of 73 feet. Lake Surface Area – approximately 720 acres with 355 acres to go for a total of 1075 acres. Lake Volume – approximately 754,009,895 ft3 with 542,541,019 ft3 to go for a total of 1,296,550,914 cubic feet. Okhissa Lake is estimated at 2/3 full.



Fill line for water Approximately 700+ acres Fishing/canoeing area Approximately 300 acres Water skiing area


Quiet fishing area


A quiet place to spend fishing or dreaming.



Okhissa Lake Franklin County, Mississippi Homochitto NF National Forests in Mississippi Contacts: Tim Reed, District Ranger Tim Slone, Deputy District Ranger Mary Bell Lunsford, Public Affairs Officer @ 601-384-5876

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