Missouri Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations

Missouri Fishing Licenses


Missouri Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations

Missouri offers a great fishing vacation for both experienced and novice anglers. The lakes, rivers, and creeks that criss-cross the state host a variety of freshwater fish species across the country, with the catfish fishery being considered some of the best in the United States. Whether you want to fish from the banks of the Missouri River or cast a line on Jefferson Lake to catch a largemouth bass, you still need to get a Missouri fishing license.

There are several types of Missouri fishing permits offered to residents and non-residents. To avoid confusion, it is best to seek advice from the licensing department. Funds from the issuance of fishing licenses will be donated to the Missouri Fisheries Administration for conservation education, protecting fish habitats, increasing fish populations, and more.

There is a great variety of fish in Missouri and it is important that an angler have a basic understanding of them. It is also imperative that an angler be familiar with the fishing rules and regulations that apply to recognized fishing practices. Why? This knowledge will help an angler comply with Missouri fishing rules and regulations, and compliance with those laws will secure the future of the fish population.

Missouri Fishing Licenses

As anglers from different parts of the country travel to Missouri for their fishing vacations, enthusiasts need to be made more aware of the state\’s conservation programs. In addition to knowing the state\’s fishing laws and regulations, responsible anglers are expected to help protect the environment and its people. One way to help the conservation process is not to pollute the waterways and to practice fishing etiquette.

Have you ever tried fishing in Jefferson Lake or catching a hefty catfish from the banks of the Missouri River? If not, you are missing out on many of the best things the United States has to offer when it comes to fishing. Missouri, like many other states in the United States, is blessed with numerous rivers, streams and reservoirs. It offers plenty of fishing opportunities for both novice and experienced anglers. You can fish alone in one of the waters or bring your family with you. One thing is certain in Missouri: fishing will always be fun.

Missouri is home to three of the best fishing spots in the United States

Missouri is home to three of the best fishing spots in the United States. You have Lake of the Ozarks State Park where you can catch bass, crappie, and pikeperch. It is definitely a perfect place for a fishing vacation. Another top fishing spot in the state is Table Rock Lake, a tree-lined inland body of water outside of Branson, Mo. And of course, Missouri features Sioux Harbor, which is a popular fishing and boating spot. No matter where you cast your line, be it in the harbor or by boat, you can safely catch a catfish, carp and drum.

But of course the natural resources are not infinite. The sustainability of fishing depends heavily on the policy and responsibility of the angler. For this reason, the state of Missouri has appointed the Missouri Department of Conservation to manage, monitor, and protect natural resources – especially wildlife and fisheries – in the state. As part of its initiatives to protect its waters against possible depletion of fish stocks, the government agency sells fishing licenses to anglers who want to fish in their waters.

Fishing Licenses in Missouri

Not only are the fishing licenses valid for people who fish in the state of Missouri, but they also ensure that anglers fish legally in their waters and adhere to all fishing rules and regulations designed for maximum sustainability. In addition, the proceeds from collecting fees for the issuance of fishing licenses to anglers will be used to fund all of the agency\’s conservation efforts, including but not limited to research, breeding, and technology procurement.

Buying a fishing license in the state of Missouri is easy and straightforward. However, if you still don\’t know what type of license to buy, this article will help you get started.

Who Must Get a Missouri Fishing License?

A Missouri Fishing License (or as the state officially calls it) is required by anyone fishing in the waters within the state\’s jurisdiction. There are several exceptions, but those who are exempt will still need to purchase a daily trout fishing permit or license if needed. Here are the qualifications for the Missouri Fishing License Exemption:

  • All Missouri resident landowners and all members of their immediate household (see definition on page 45) when fishing on their land.
  • Any Missouri resident (whether or not they meet the definition of landowner) who owns land that completely encloses a body of water, or any member of their immediate household if they fish in those waters.
  • Any Missouri resident who is 65 years of age or older. Any person (resident or non-resident) aged 15 or under. Teens who fish without permission are restricted to the following methods: rod and line, gig, bow, crossbow, snaring, grasping, and snagging.
  • Any Missouri resident with no more than 20/200 visual acuity in their better eye at maximum correction or with a concentric field of view of 20 degrees or less. A certified declaration of authorization from a licensed ophthalmologist, optician or doctor must be carried with you.
  • Any Missouri resident who is so severely and permanently disabled that they can no longer move freely without a wheelchair. A certified declaration of suitability from a licensed doctor must be carried with you.
  • Any Missouri resident with cerebral palsy or a mental disorder or illness as defined in the Revised Missouri Bylaws Section 630,005 and who is severely disabled and unable to fish alone. Must be accompanied by a licensed adult angler and must have a certified letter of authorization from a licensed medical practitioner qualified to assess and treat developmentally disabled people.
  • Any resident or non-resident who is a duly discharged veteran, who has a service disability of 60 percent or greater, or who was a prisoner of war while serving in the military. Must have a certified letter of authorization from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Any member of the U.S. military currently assigned to a Warrior Transition Brigade, Warrior Transition Unit, or military medical center as a patient. Must carry orders that show such an assignment.

Residence requirements

A resident angler has several privileges and may qualify for special discounts, rates, and permits. However, there are requirements that must be met before a resident can obtain a Missouri fishing permit. Here are the requirements for eligibility for housing:

  • Anyone who is not in need of residence in another state or country and whose actual place of residence and legal residence address are both in Missouri and who have resided for at least 30 days prior to applying for the permit. Owning real estate or attending school in Missouri does not make you a lawful resident.
  • Missouri residents employed in the District of Columbia by the United States or serving in the U.S. Forces. (Immediate family members who live with them can also obtain a residence permit.)
  • All members of the U.S. Forces stationed and residing in Missouri and their immediate family members with permanent relocation status.
  • Nonresidents who are enrolled students attending any public or private high, post-secondary, or vocational school in Missouri and who are enrolled during the School attendance live in Missouri; must carry proof of Missouri residency and student status such as student ID when fishing. Note: Non-resident students who qualify for a residence permit must obtain one in person, by telephone, or by mail from the Ministry of Conservation\’s offices.
  • Immigrants who hold a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service I-551 Resident Alien Card who are not claiming residency rights in another state or country, and whose actual place of residence and legal permanent residence are both in Missouri and for at least 30 days prior to obtaining one Permit.

How do I buy a Missouri fishing license?

The state of Missouri has several options for obtaining a fishing license. Whichever is most convenient for you, you can approve your Missouri fishing purchase online, in person, through the app, or over the phone.

  • On-line . One of the most convenient ways to buy a Missouri fishing license is online. All you have to do is leave the MDC website and pay with your credit card. There are no surcharges and you can print out your approval directly after the purchase confirmation so that you can use it immediately.
  • Personally . You can also purchase a fishing permit over the counter from any permit and license seller across the state.
  • Via the MDC app. You can also purchase a permit by downloading the free MO Fishing app and purchasing directly with a credit card. The app also displays the digital copy of the permit, which is as valid as a paper permit. Learn more about the app by following this one shortcut .
  • Over the phone . You can also call 800-392-4115, order your permit by phone, or pay by credit card. This method of obtaining a permit incurs an additional charge of $ 1 and takes up to 10 days for the permit to be delivered to you.

Different types of fishing permits in Missouri

Anglers have different permits to choose from depending on their age, residence status and special circumstances. Here is a matrix of all the available fishing permits you can buy in the state of Missouri:

Approval typeResidentsNot resident
Fishing permit (For fish, frogs, clams, clams, turtles, crabs and live bait.)
$ 12$ 42
Daily fishing permit$ 7$ 7
Combined hunting and fishing license$ 19Not available
National Guard and Reserve Service Hunting and fishing permits for small game$ 5Not available
Trout permit (16 years and older)$ 7$ 7
Trout permit (15 years and younger)$ 3.50$ 3.50
Small game hunting and fishing permits$ 19.00Not available


To catch fish, frogs, clams, clams, turtles, crabs, and live bait, a resident or non-resident angler must purchase permits for US $ 12.00 (residents) and US $ 42.00 (non-residents). A daily fishing permit can be purchased for both residents and non-residents for $ 7. Additionally, a resident or non-resident wishing to fish for trout must purchase a trout permit for $ 7.00 (or $ 3.50 for children under the age of 15).

Lifetime fishing license

Residents also have the privilege of purchasing a lifetime fishing permit so they can fish for the rest of their lives in Missouri waters. Here are the various lifetime permits a Missouri resident can obtain:

Lifetime fishing license (residents only)


Youth (0-5)$ 275
Age 16-29$ 400
Age 30-39$ 350
Age 40-59$ 300
Age 60-64$ 35


For more information on the various permits in the state of Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website .

Daily limits and other important fishing regulations

The state of Missouri has different ownership and catch restrictions for each species in order to maintain a healthy fish population in its waters. To learn more about the various Missouri fishing regulations, please download the free Missouri Fishing Guidebook from the link below.

frequently asked Questions

Q: What is the expiration date of the permit I purchased?

Fishing licenses are valid from the date of purchase until the last day in February of the following year.

Q: Where can I personally buy a Missouri fishing license?

You can purchase your Missouri fishing permit from the Department of Conservation offices or from vendors across the state, including bait and fishing and sporting goods stores.

Q: Is there a free day of fishing?

Yes. Anyone, with or without a license, can fish in Missouri waters during Free Fishing Days. In 2020, the schedule is on June 6th and 7th, 2020. Customers and guests can fish trout on private, licensed trout fishing spots without a permit.

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