Fishing & Boating

Freshwater Commercial Fishing

The use of certain fishing gear and/or the selling of non-game gross fish are activities regulated under the authority of commercial fishing regulations.


Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License - $30.00*

Nonresident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License - $200.00"

Slat Basket License - $30.00*

*Prices do not include processing fees and agent fees.

All residents and nonresidents must purchase a Mississippi Freshwater Commercial Fishing License and a Slat Basket License in order to fish slat baskets in Mississippi waters. A Slat Basket License is required for each slat basket that a person fishes.

There is no license exemptions (age or disability) for those who fish commercially or for those helping a person with a Freshwater Commercial Fishing License fish commercial fishing gear:  A person holding a Freshwater Commercial Fishing License can be assisted by a helper who has any valid license issued by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks. Everyone in the boat with a licensed commercial fisherman is considered a "helper" and all helpers must have a license.

Rules & Regulations

A Freshwater Commercial Fishing License is needed to:

  • Sell, resell, ship or purchase for resale non-game gross fish and non-native fish
  • Fish commercial fishing gear
  • Harvest minnows from public waters
  • Sell minnows at wholesale
  • Sell, resell, or export across state lines crawfish and freshwater shrimp taken from public waters
  • Purchase a Slat Basket License (needed for each slat basket) 
  • Freshwater Commercial Fishing Licenses are sold at all fishing and hunting license vendor locations and at MDWFP Regional Offices; most State Parks; State Fishing Lakes the MDWFP Jackson Office. Freshwater Commercial Fishing Licenses can also be purchased by mail and over the phone with a credit card payment by calling 1-800-5GO-HUNT.
  • Application for Commercial Fishing License

Non-Game Gross Fish
The category of fishes listed as non-game gross fish are a valuable resource, supplying protein, income and enjoyment. These fish are sometimes referred to as rough fish. They consist of catfishes, buffalo fishes, paddlefish (spoonbill catfish), carp, shad, gar, drum, and several species of minnows. Non-game gross fish can be sold by persons having a commercial fishing license.

Commercial Fishing Gear
Non-game gross fish can be harvested using traditional sport fishing gear, but they can also be caught using commercial fishing gear, such as, gill nets, trammel nets, hoop nets (also called barrel nets, fiddler nets, and lead nets), slat boxes, and trotlines. A person must have a freshwater commercial fishing license to fish commercial fishing gear. Although a trotline can be fished on a sport license, a freshwater commercial license is needed when fishing a trotline with more than 100 hooks.

Daily Limits and Size Limits

Alligator Gar - 2 per person per day; no size limit

Channel Catfish and Blue Catfish - no daily limit; minimum size limit is 12 inches 

Flathead Catfish and Buffalofish - on daily limit; minimum size limit is 16 inches

Recent Changes to Commercial Fishing Rules

In January 2022 the revised Commercial Fishing Rule became effective. The current Rule can be found at: Commercial Fishing Rule

  1. The alligator gar quota has been removed. The daily creel limit for Alligator Gar is 2 fish per person per day.
  2. Lift traps are legal to use for crawfish.
  3. Written permission to check, run, set, and remove fish from another person's gear must include both the name and MDWFP number of the person running the gear and the name and the MDWFP number of the person owning the gear. This written permission must be carried on the person running the gear.
  4. The harvest and/or possession of Paddlefish by resident and nonresident freshwater commercial fisherman on all lands and waters in the State of Mississippi is prohibited. This includes all Mississippi waters and lands in border water areas adjacent to other states
  5. Gear use in sections of the Pascagoula River has been clarified in a separate rule section. 
  6. The special harvest season for Asian Carp at Moon Lake is October 1 - April 30 each year.
  7. Commercial fishing is prohibited in all National Wildlife Refuges and in all National Forest waters in Mississippi.
  8. Commercial fishermen do not have to report their harvest and fishing activities until asked to do so by the MDWFP. 

Invasive Carp Program

There are companies that buy Silver Carp, Grass Carp, Bighead Carp and Black Carp and need commercial fishermen to harvest these species. If you would like more information about these companies and how to contact them please call Dennis Riecke at (601)-432-2207 or send an Email to

Additional Resources


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