Can You Use an Arkansas Fishing License in Missouri?

Fishing Across State Lines: Your Guide to Arkansas and Missouri Fishing Licenses

Passionate anglers living near the Arkansas-Missouri border often wonder: Can I fish in Missouri with my Arkansas fishing license? The answer is yes, but with some important caveats. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the specifics of reciprocal fishing privileges between these two states and provide a clear overview of the license options available to Arkansas anglers wanting to cast their lines in Missouri waters. Drawing on authoritative information from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC), you’ll gain the knowledge needed to legally and confidently enjoy the fantastic fishing opportunities both states have to offer.

Reciprocal Fishing Privileges Between Arkansas and Missouri

Arkansas and Missouri have a reciprocal agreement that allows anglers from either state to fish in certain border waters with their respective state licenses. These waters include:

  • St. Francis River: Anglers can fish the entire St. Francis River with a valid fishing license from either state.
  • Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Norfork Lake: Properly licensed anglers from Arkansas or Missouri may fish in the Missouri portions of these lakes, as well as the flowing waters and backwaters on the Arkansas side.

It’s important to note that anglers must adhere to the regulations of the state in which they are fishing. For example, if you’re an Arkansas angler fishing in Missouri waters, you must follow Missouri’s fishing regulations, such as daily limits, size restrictions, and seasons.

License Options for Arkansas Anglers Fishing in Missouri

As an Arkansas angler looking to fish in Missouri, you have several license options:

  1. Arkansas Fishing License Only: This license allows you to fish in Arkansas waters, including the Arkansas portions of Table Rock, Bull Shoals, and Norfork lakes. However, it does not permit you to fish in Missouri waters, except for the reciprocal privileges mentioned above.
  2. Missouri Fishing Permit Only: Purchasing a Missouri fishing permit grants you the right to fish in Missouri waters but does not cover the Arkansas portions of the border lakes. If you plan to primarily fish in Missouri, this might be the best option for you.
  3. White River Border Lakes License: This special license is available to both Arkansas and Missouri residents. It allows anglers to fish in the Missouri waters of Table Rock, Bull Shoals, and Norfork lakes with either an Arkansas or Missouri resident license. Keep in mind that you must follow the regulations of the state where you are fishing.

Where to Purchase Fishing Licenses

Obtaining your fishing license is a simple process in both states:

  • Arkansas Fishing Licenses:
    • Purchase online through the AGFC website
    • Visit an AGFC regional office, nature center, or participating sporting goods store or boat dock
  • Missouri Fishing Permits:
    • Buy online from the MDC website
    • Call the MDC at 1-573-751-4115
    • Visit a permit vendor or MDC regional office

When buying your license, make sure to have your personal information handy, such as your Social Security number, driver’s license number, and date of birth.


As an Arkansas angler, you have several options for legally fishing in Missouri waters. The reciprocal privileges between the two states allow for fishing in border waters like the St. Francis River and the Missouri portions of Table Rock, Bull Shoals, and Norfork lakes. The White River Border Lakes License provides the most flexibility if you plan to fish extensively in those specific lakes.

Remember, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations of the state where you’ll be casting your line. By staying informed and obtaining the proper licenses, you can confidently explore the diverse and thrilling fishing opportunities that both Arkansas and Missouri have to offer. Tight lines and happy fishing!

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