Fishing Regulations in Missouri

All states have fishing regulations that you must follow if you want to go fishing. The ones that are presented below are valid in the state of Missouri, and they should be of assistance to anglers who plan to cast their lines in this state during their trip.



General regulations

Pole and line, trotline, throwline, bank line, and jug line are the types of fishing equipment that are considered legal in the state of Missouri. If you plan to go ice fishing, you should be aware that the tip-ups you intend to use will be considered a pole and line under the ice fishing rules.

Bowfishing and spearfishing are both legal, so you can bring your bows and arrows, crossbows, and spears along with you. However, only a few species can be caught this way, so plan accordingly.

Anglers are also permitted to use gigging, snagging, grabbing, and snaring techniques, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. The use of fish traps, with the exception of live-bait traps, is strictly prohibited.

No matter how many poles you use, the maximum number of hooks that can be set at the same time is 33, regardless of the number of hooks you set. The Mississippi River alone grants you the ability to use 50 hooks while fishing.

If you are using more than two poles, you must label the extra poles with your name, address, and license number in order to avoid confusion.

Another thing to keep in mind is that culling is strictly prohibited. You must make a decision on the spot as to whether or not to keep the fish and include it in your daily limit.


Game fish regulations

Missouri’s state waters are home to approximately 20 different species of game fish. The general regulations for game fish allow for an open season throughout the year for the majority of the species. Here is a list of some of the differences.

You can fish for black bass throughout the year, but not in the area south of the Missouri River, which is closed to fishing. The season began on May 27 in that particular area and will continue until the end of February.

Paddlefish have a much shorter season than other types of fish. It will begin on the 15th of March and will conclude on the 30th of April. The Mississippi River is a notable exception, with the first season lasting until May 15 and a second season running from September 15 to December 15. The Mississippi River also has two seasons, with the first lasting until May 15 and the second running from September 15 to December 15.


Nongame fish regulations

The list of nongame fish found in state waters includes invasive species such as bighead and silver carp, as well as hog suckers, green sunfish, bluegill, drum, and gar, among other fish species. Put another way, if it is not on the game fish list or is not a threatened or endangered species, it can be treated as nongame.

To catch nongame, you can use a pole and line, as well as a jug line or trotline, at any time of year. However, you must follow certain rules when using a bow, crossbow gig, or spear. There are some exceptions to this rule, but one of the restrictions is that you can only use these other methods during daylight hours.

During the months of April through January, you can use the bow and arrows at any time on the Mississippi, Missouri, and St. Francis rivers or on impounded waters.



If you’re fishing for trout in Missouri’s trout parks, you can get away with just your fishing license and daily tags, but if you’re fishing for trout in any other lakes or streams outside of these areas, you’ll need to purchase a trout permit.

The daily limit for trout in most areas never exceeds four fish per day, and the majority of them only allow one fish per day. The minimum length varies as well, but for the most part, the limit is between 18 and 20 inches in most streams and lakes.

If you intend to fish for trout, you must first determine whether catch-and-release regulations apply in Hickory Creek, Stone Mill Spring, or the surrounding areas of the city.

Some lakes and rivers are permitted to use all types of lures, but at least half of the fishing spots are restricted to artificial lures and flies only, according to regulations.