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Missouri Fishing Licenses and Regulations

Whether you are after trophy bass, muskie or wild trout, Missouri has it for you. Before you head there on your next Fishing vacation, make sure you have the proper licenses.

Licenses/permits

In Missouri, the licenses are referred to as permits. The basic permits are as follows:

Permit Type Resident Non-Resident
One Day $7.00 $7.00
Annual $12.00 $42.00
Trout Permit $7.00 $7.00

The basic fishing permit in Missouri is good when fishing during certain seasons. Make sure the species you intend to target is in-season and you have the proper permit.

If you plan on trout fishing in Missouri, you will most likely need to purchase a trout permit in addition to your fishing license. It’s required to possess trout, unless you are fishing in a state-run trout park. These parks require anglers to buy daily stamps. If you are fishing during the winter, the trout permit is required in all trout parks.

Missouri residents that don’t want to bother with a new permit every year can purchase a lifetime one. This permit is valid for the general fishing permit and the trout permit. Costs vary by age and are as follow:

Lifetime Permits

Age 0-15 $275
Age 16-29 $400
Age 30-39 $350
Age 40-59 $300
Age 60-64 $35

Lifetime permits are not available online or through permit vendors. To purchase them you will need to use the lifetime permit form and mail it to the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Seasons

Fortunately for Missouri anglers, most game species are available year-round. When targeting a select species, it is important to research the legal season for each body of water you intend to fish.

Missouri is a true year-round fishery, but it may require that you drive to different watersheds. For example, black bass are open year-round. If you fish Ozark streams, there is a closed season from March 1st until May 27th to protect spawning fish.

When looking at the season regulations, you can see that they are based on watersheds and not species alone. This is advantageous for both the angler and the fish. It allows the conservation department to protect fish on certain waters where it’s necessary, while pleasing anglers at the same time by giving them other fishing opportunities.

Conservation efforts 

The Missouri Department of Conservation works hard to protect its’ resources. To help them, they ask anglers to do a few simple things.

Zebra mussels are a problem in many watersheds across the country. Anglers and boaters can help limit the spread of them to new watersheds by:

  • Cleaning and removing all plant life, fish, and mud from your boat and gear. Use hot water when cleaning.
  • Draining all water from your boat, including live wells, before leaving the body of water.
  • Allowing enough time for your boat and gear to dry out before putting it in a different body of water.
  • Disposing of unused bait in the trash before leaving a body of water.

Didymosphenia geminate, commonly referred to as rock snot or didymo, is an invasive alga. The total effect it has ecologically is not yet known, but it is not angler friendly and makes a real mess of the streams it’s in. The long stringy algae gets caught on hooks and fly lines, creating a mess of your gear and making fishing almost impossible.

The best way to stop the spread of it is to wash all of your gear when going from one body of water to another. This goes for life jackets, waders, wading boots, rods, reels, and tackle. When washing, use a solution that’s 2-percent bleach, 5-percent salt water, or dish detergent.

Make sure to soak your gear in the cleaning solution for three to four minutes. Soft items like wading boots and life jackets should be soaked for at least 20 minutes.

To help stop the spread of rock snot, Missouri has banned the use of porous soles in all trout parks, trout streams, and Lake Taneycomo. This includes felt-soled boots and woven or matted fibrous-material soles. 

More than regulation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is more than a governing body that creates and enforces rules. They also exist to educate and help anglers—from beginners to the experienced.

All of the basic information a new angler would need can be found on the MDC Get Started Fishing page. They cover fish behavior along with habitat of the fish species found in Missouri. They also suggest the gear you will need and the tools that will make releasing your fish easier.

If you are unsure and want to lower the cost of your first fishing excursion, the state even has a rod-and-reel loaner program. This lets you fish the local waters without having to purchase an outfit.

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