Fishing Regulations

What's New in 2014

  • The statewide daily limit for nongame fish taken by underwater spearfishing is now 20.
  • To improve blue catfish populations in Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, and their tributaries, three new regulations apply to these waters. Blue catfish 26 to 34 inches long must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught. An angler’s daily limit may not contain more than two blue catfish longer than 34 inches. The daily and possession limit for blue catfish on these waters will be 10.
2014 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations

Missouri's 2014 fishing regulations come into effect March 1, 2014, and remain in effect through February 28, 2015.

Do Not Harvest List

This list protects rare, threatened, and endangered native Missouri fish.

Fish ID and Measuring

Learn to identify and measure the fish and other aquatic life you catch so you can abide by Missouri's seasons, daily limits, length limits, and other regulations. When in doubt, play it safe, and return the fish to the water unharmed immediately.

Fishing Permit Information

Everyone who fishes in Missouri must have the appropriate lifetime, annual, or daily fishing permit, or qualify for an exemption. Browse Missouri fishing permit rules and obligations.

Game Fish Regulations

Browse specific regulations and permit requirements for a variety of Missouri's game fish.

General Fishing Rules

Check this section for Missouri's rules on fishing methods, length limits, jug-line regulations, possession limits, culling, and transportation.

Live Bait Regulations

Know Missouri's live-bait regulations, including species, methods, length limits, seasons, and daily limits.

Nongame Fish Regulations

Missouri's nongame fish include bluegill, green sunfish, carp, carpsuckers, suckers, buffalo, drum, gar and all other species other than those defined as game fish or listed as endangered.

Nongame Aquatic Species Regulations

Know the regulations for some of Missouri's nongame clams, frogs, and turtles.

Porous-Soled Wader Ban

To prevent the spread of didymo, an invasive alga, the use of shoes, boots or waders with porous soles of felt, matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo and buffer areas.

Reciprocal Fishing Privileges

Fishing privileges on boundary waters between Missouri and an adjoining state are mutually agreed upon by the two states. Know which state you're fishing in and the regulations that apply.

Regulations and Permits Definitions

Knowing regulations and permits definitions helps you abide by the Wildlife Code of Missouri.

Special Area Fishing Regulations

Most large reservoirs, lakes, rivers, streams, and trout areas in Missouri have methods, seasons, limits, or other fishing regulations that are different from the statewide rules. Browse special fishing regulations by area type, region, or specific area.

St. Louis Region Lakes Special Fishing Regulations

Download and print these special regulations for August A. Busch Conservation Area Lakes, St. Louis Urban Fishing Program Lakes and MDC and Community Assistance Program (CAP) Lakes.

Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks Blue Catfish Regulations

Browse changes to the daily, possession, and length limits for blue catfish on Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, and their tributaries effective March 1, 2014.

Why "No" to Noodling?

Hand-fishing has been illegal in Missouri since 1919, yet efforts to legalize it continue. This page explains why the Missouri Department of Conservation opposes hand-fishing.