All states have fishing regulations that you need to observe. The ones that are presented below are valid in the state of Missouri, and they should be helpful for anglers that intend to throw their line here.  


General regulations

The fishing gear that is considered legal in Missouri consists of pole and line, trotline, throwline, bank line, and jug line. If you go ice fishing, you should know that the tip-ups you intend to use are also considered a pole and line.

Bowfishing and spearfishing are legal, so you can use bring bows and arrows, crossbows and spears but only some of the species can be caught like that.

The Missouri Department of Conservation also allows anglers to use gigging, snagging, grabbing and snaring. Using fish traps is prohibited though, except for live-bait traps.

The maximum number of hooks that you can set at the same time is 33, no matter how many poles you use. Fishing on the Mississippi alone grants you the right to use 50 hooks.

In case you’re using more than 2 poles, you have to label the extra poles with your name, address, and license number.

One other thing to remember is that culling is forbidden. You have to decide on the spot if you’re keeping the fish and adding it to the daily limit.


Game fish regulations

There are about 20 species of game fish in the state waters of Missouri. General regulations for game fish allow all year open season for most of the species. Some differences are listed here.

You can fish for black bass all year, but not in the area that lies south the Missouri River. In that specific area, the season started on May 27, and it stays open until the end of February.

Paddlefish have a much shorter season. It begins on the 15th of March, and it’s over on April 30. The notable exception is constituted by the Mississippi river, where the first season lasts until May 15, and there’s also a fall season from September 15 through December 15.


Nongame fish regulations

The list of nongame fish in the state waters includes invasive species like bighead and silver carp as well as hog suckers, green sunfish, bluegill, drum, and gar. Simply put, if it’s not on the game fish list or an endangered species, you can treat it as nongame.

You can use a pole and line as well as jug line or trotline all year round to catch nongame, but using a bow, crossbow gig or spear has various restrictions. One of the restrictions is that you can only use these other methods during daylight with some exceptions.

You can use the bow and arrows 24 hours on the Mississippi, Missouri and St. Francis rivers or on impounded waters in the April through January months.



Fishing for trout in Missouri can be done with just your fishing license and daily tags if you’re on trout parks, but for lakes and streams outside these areas, you have to buy a trout permit.

The daily limit in most areas never rises above four trout fish, and most of them only allow one fish per day. The minimum length also varies, but for most of the streams and lakes, the limit is 18 to 20 inches.

When you intend to fish for trout you need to check for catch-and-release restrictions on Hickory Creek, Stone Mill Spring and around city areas.  

Regulations allow all types of lures on some of the lakes and rivers, but at least half of the fishing spots authorize artificial lures and flies only.



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