Fishing in Missouri? Discover Who Needs a License Now!

Fishing in Missouri? Discover Who Needs a License Now!

Fishing is a beloved pastime in the state of Missouri, known for its diverse waterways teeming with a variety of fish species. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to cast your first line, it’s crucial to understand the licensing requirements before embarking on your fishing adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the details of who needs a fishing license in Missouri, the types of licenses available, and how to obtain one. We’ll also provide expert tips to enhance your fishing experience while complying with state regulations.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Missouri?

In Missouri, anyone aged 16 or older is required to have a valid fishing license to fish in the state’s public waters, including lakes, rivers, and streams. This rule applies to both Missouri residents and non-residents. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • If you are fishing in a private pond or lake that is not connected to public waters, you do not need a license.
  • If you are assisting a licensed angler with baiting hooks, casting, and reeling in fish, you do not need a license as long as you do not personally keep any fish.

It’s important to note that even if you are exempt from needing a fishing license, you must still adhere to all other fishing regulations, such as daily limits and size restrictions.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Missouri

Missouri offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to the needs of different anglers:

1. Resident Fishing Permit

If you are a Missouri resident, you can purchase a Resident Fishing Permit. The annual permit costs $12 and is valid from the date of purchase through the last day of February of the following year. If you only plan to fish for a short period, you can opt for a daily permit, which costs $7 and is valid for the day it is purchased.

2. Non-Resident Fishing Permit

Non-residents visiting Missouri for fishing can purchase a Non-Resident Fishing Permit. The annual permit costs $42, while a daily permit is available for $7. If you plan to fish for multiple days, you can also choose a 3-day permit for $21 or a 7-day permit for $35.

3. Trout Permit

If you intend to fish for trout in Missouri’s trout parks, trout streams, or Lake Taneycomo, you must purchase a Trout Permit in addition to your regular fishing permit. The Trout Permit costs $7 for both residents and non-residents and is valid for the calendar year.

4. Lifetime Fishing Permit

For dedicated anglers who plan to fish in Missouri for years to come, the Lifetime Fishing Permit is an excellent investment. This permit is available to Missouri residents only and eliminates the need to purchase annual permits. The cost varies based on age:

  • Ages 15-30: $400
  • Ages 31-61: $350
  • Ages 62 and older: $50

How to Obtain a Fishing License in Missouri

Obtaining a fishing license in Missouri is a simple process with multiple options available:

  1. Online: Visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website ( and follow the prompts to purchase your license online. You can print your license immediately or save it to your mobile device.
  2. By Phone: Call the Missouri Department of Conservation at 1-800-392-4115 to purchase your license over the phone. Have your credit card information ready.
  3. In Person: Visit any of the numerous license vendors across the state, including sporting goods stores, bait shops, and some convenience stores. You can find a list of vendors on the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

When purchasing your license, you will need to provide personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number (for residents only). Non-residents may be required to show proof of residency in another state.

Tips for a Successful Fishing Trip in Missouri

Now that you have your fishing license, it’s time to plan your fishing adventure. Here are some expert tips to make the most of your experience:

  1. Research Fishing Spots: Missouri offers a wide range of fishing opportunities, from large lakes to small streams. Research the best spots for the type of fish you want to catch and the time of year you plan to fish. The Missouri Department of Conservation website provides detailed information on fishing locations, including maps and access points.
  2. Check Fishing Regulations: Each body of water in Missouri may have specific regulations regarding the type and size of fish you can keep, as well as the fishing methods allowed. Be sure to review the regulations for your chosen fishing spot before you go.
  3. Use the Right Gear: Having the appropriate fishing gear can make a significant difference in your success. Consider the type of fish you are targeting and the fishing method you plan to use when selecting your rod, reel, line, and lures. If you are new to fishing, consider visiting a local tackle shop for advice.
  4. Practice Catch and Release: While it’s exciting to bring home a catch for dinner, practicing catch and release can help maintain healthy fish populations for future generations. If you do plan to keep fish, be sure to follow the daily limit and size restrictions for the specific body of water.
  5. Be Prepared for the Weather: Missouri weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the forecast before your fishing trip. Dress in layers and bring rain gear if necessary. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need a fishing license if I am just helping someone else fish?

If you are assisting a licensed angler with tasks such as baiting hooks or reeling in fish, you do not need a license as long as you do not personally keep any fish. However, if you plan to fish yourself, you must have a valid license.

2. Can I purchase a fishing license for someone else?

Yes, you can purchase a fishing license as a gift for someone else. You will need to provide their personal information, such as name, address, and date of birth, at the time of purchase.

3. What happens if I lose my fishing license?

If you lose your fishing license, you can easily replace it. Visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website and log into your account to reprint your license. You can also visit a license vendor or contact the department by phone for assistance.

4. Are there any free fishing days in Missouri?

Yes, Missouri offers free fishing days each year, typically in June. On these days, anyone can fish in Missouri’s public waters without a fishing license. However, all other fishing regulations, such as daily limits and size restrictions, still apply.


Fishing in Missouri is a rewarding and enjoyable activity for anglers of all skill levels. By understanding the licensing requirements and following the state’s regulations, you can ensure a safe and successful fishing experience. Remember to obtain the appropriate fishing license, research your fishing spot, use the right gear, and practice catch and release when possible. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to cast your line and enjoy the beauty of Missouri’s waterways.

So grab your rod, reel in your sense of adventure, and head out to discover the joys of fishing in Missouri. The perfect catch awaits!

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