Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge offers many different opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you enjoy hunting, fishing, photography, or wildlife observation, the refuge offers activities for every age and interest.
Hunting is the most popular recreational activity at Mathews Brake NWR. Hunting seasons include deer, waterfowl, squirrel, rabbit, frog and raccoon. Hunters are also allowed to take feral hog, opossum, coyote, beaver, bobcat, and nutria according to refuge regulations.
Each person 16 years of age or older hunting at Mathews Brake NWR must possess a Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex Annual Public Use Permit. Permits ($15) are available for purchase online or may be obtained in person via check or money order at the following locations: Panther Swamp NWR, Yazoo City, MS and Yazoo NWR, Hollandale, MS. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 4 pm. Permits are valid August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2015. Mail-in requests for permits will not be accepted.
Fish populations consist mostly of rough fish, which can withstand hot, murky water with low oxygen content, including long-nosed gar, buffalo, carp, bowfin, and catfish. A wide variety of fish species exists in the streams and bayous, including largemouth bass, various bream, and crappie. Mathews Brake was historically one of the premier fishing areas in this part of the Mississippi Delta. Siltation and turbidity from land clearing during the 1900’s has degraded the brake’s fishery but sport fishing is still popular.
Fishing is permitted in refuge waters throughout the year except in the closed Waterfowl Sanctuary, from one day prior to the beginning of waterfowl season through March 1. Trot lines, limb lines, jugs, seines and traps are prohibited. A complete summary of refuge regulations is available online. Each person 16 years of age or older fishing at Mathews Brake NWR must possess a Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex Annual Public Use Permit. Permits ($15) are available for purchase online or may be obtained in person via check or money order at the following locations: Panther Swamp NWR, Yazoo City, MS and Yazoo NWR, Hollandale, MS. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 4 pm. Permits are valid August 1, 2014 – July 31, 2014. Mail-in requests for permits will not be accepted.
Wildlife Viewing and Photography
Most wildlife observation and photography is associated with hunting and fishing. Visitors must comply with existing laws, regulations, and policies concerning access and harassment of wildlife.
Special use permits are required for all commercial photography. Please contact the refuge for more information.
You National Wildlife Refuges are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.
The majority of the refuge is only accessible by boat. A boat launch for public access is located at the parking area on the east side of the refuge.
The water level normally falls significantly during summer, allowing for germination of desirable moist soil plants beneficial to waterfowl and other migratory birds. During the fall and winter, the water level rises from precipitation and flow from Abiaca Creek.
In the summertime, temperatures can be extreme! Be sure to bring plenty of insect repellent, drinking water, appropriate footwear, and sunscreen. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to visit, especially during the summertime when temperatures are more moderate and wildlife is most active. Also be sure and watch out for snakes and other potentially hazardous wildlife species.