Focused on Mississippi: Pickwick Lake

Focused on Mississippi

TISHOMINGO COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – This is Pickwick Lake. It stretches 50 miles from Pickwick Dam in Tennessee to Wilson Dam in Alabama and impounds several thousand acres of the Tennessee River in the very northeast corner of Mississippi.

Out there somewhere is the state lines of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. No need to mark it or even worry exactly where it is because all nearly 500 miles of the shoreline of the lake looks pretty much alike. It’s all scenic.

Now, in the spring of the year is when people come here to fish up in the inlets for largemouth bass. And in the fall they come for the smallmouth bass. But I love Pickwick Lake for other reasons.

Admittedly, Pickwick is best enjoyed with a boat. You get to see places you only see on the water- like where the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway enters into the Tennessee River system. It’s not spectacular- just where the natural rock all of a sudden gets a shape to it. And the waterfall. Now that’s a popular place on Pickwick Lake. You can only see it with a boat. 

But there’s enough to enjoy if all you do is stay on the shore. Get up early so you don’t miss any of it. Some mornings the fog rolling onto the big lake out of the inlets and hollows muffles the sound of the last of the night bugs going to sleep and the first of the day birds waking up. The lake wakes up, too- it’s deep sleep evaporates like a dream you remember having but you can’t remember what it was. 

Then the sun wins the day over the mist and fog and begins to paint the lake. Ripples at first- then dancing for joy in the distance- then showering you with diamonds- with a cut and clarity like no gem in any jewelers show case could ever capture- and you can’t really capture this, either. It’s like so much of life- you can just be in it in the moment and take it for what it is and remember it for what it does for you. But you can’t keep it.

But the fisher-people find their spot and catch their haul. And in-between bites they enjoy the lake- the solitude that you can only get being on the open water- and the camaraderie you can only get sharing a bucket of bait with a friend. 

It’s a day well spent exploring the coves and inlets and looking across the lake curious as to what state you are looking at on the other side. And realizing it doesn’t really matter.  

J.P. Coleman State Park is on Pickwick Lake. They are open mostly on the weekends-Thursday though Sunday- with some limitations because of COVID-19 right now. The hotel at the park plans to open September 1st.

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