Mississippi Travel: A Visit to Pelahatchie Bay

Pelahatchie Bay is a small bay which attracts fishermen, walkers, and wildlife. It is one of the many bays and inlets that are connected to the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Fed by the Pearl River these areas create an ecosystem for all types of life.

The early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to visit small bays and inlets in Mississippi. The summer brings hot temperatures to all places around the state.  Pelahatchie Bay is home to many visitors taking advantage of the cooler spring days.

On one late afternoon visit Jess and I were taking photos and observing the wildlife at Pelahatchie Bay. The first thing that caught our attention was a blue heron enjoying the sun and looking for food. The blue herons are majestic birds that are large and beautiful. They command attention from all who observe them. The sun reflections make them appear to walk on water. The blue heron takes notice of our appearance but continues on his mission for this afternoon. We observe for a while and take pictures before continuing our journey through the bay. At times it seems the blue heron is posing for this photo session.

blue heron pelahatchie bay 1 april 12

The blue heron is not the only bird to make an appearance this afternoon. An egret is hiding in the river brush searching for food. This beautiful bird struts for us as it scans the river water. There is an abundance of fish in this area and the egret will be busy eating for a while this afternoon. These birds are not alone in the bay. The river is a source of life for this ecosystem. In the mornings and afternoons otters will make an appearance swimming happily in the river. Bugs, snakes, and rabbits also frequent this landscape.

white egret pelahatchie bay april 12

As we continue on our journey through the bay a group of fishermen on a wooded deck into the river captures our attention. This is an eclectic group of people composed of high school kids and two older women. Each group is absorbed in their own worlds.

We are hardly noticed by the high school kids. They have fishing poles and are engaged in conversation. We say hello and continue our journey through the deck.  The two older women are friendly and share their fishing story with us. They tell us how this is one of many afternoons that will be spent at this fishing hole. This is relaxation for them after finishing the work day. The women have brought a cooler of food and drink. Today is not a good day for catching fish but they have enjoyed books and conversation.

The view of the river is wonderful and clear showing its banks and channels. The blue sky with clouds provides the perfect reflections of the river. There are trees and undergrowth on each side of the river providing shade and food for the wildlife in the area. The river feeds the Ross Barnett reservoir which can be seen in full a few miles from this spot.

Our journey continues as we move toward the next part of the bay. There is a small bait shop and restaurant on the opposite side. This shop is frequented by fishermen in search of live bait and a meal before the day’s activities. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch consisting of home cooked southern food. The aroma of the cooking food is pleasant and inviting. Often while shopping for fish bait or eating  there are discussions as to where the best fishing hole for the day is located and what is the best type of bait for the expected catch. Minnows and crickets are popular bait sold at the shop.

blue heron and egret pelahatchie bay april 20

The next place we visit is the entrance to a trail through the woods. It is inviting with the trees and peaceful. There is a small breeze blowing making the afternoon more comfortable. Jess and I discuss taking a hike through this trail. It is a short trail and we can see that is ends on the other side of the bay. We decide to take a few pictures and leave the trail for another day.

The time has come to leave Pelahatchie Bay. We take one final look at the blue heron which has now been joined by an egret enjoying the day. It is a wonderful site observing how these birds live in peace with one another. Nature is calm and relaxing and we are blessed to be a small part of the circle of life.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce


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  1. That was a good story. I can never tell them apart, but I think that all of those birds with the skinny legs and the long necks look majestic.

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