Get Hooked: Missouri Fishing License for All Ages

Fishing is a popular outdoor recreational activity in Missouri, with over 1.1 million residents participating in 2021 alone. However, to legally fish in the state, most anglers need to secure the proper permits and licensing. This comprehensive guide outlines everything you need to know about getting a fishing license in Missouri, including age requirements, residency status, license types, fees, exemptions, and more.

Who Needs a Missouri Fishing License?

In Missouri, a fishing permit is required for most anglers age 16 and over . This includes both residents and non-residents. Some exemptions apply, which we will cover shortly.

The fishing permit allows you to legally take and possess:

  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Turtles
  • Crayfish
  • Live bait

In addition to the general fishing permit, you may need permits for specific species or activities . For example:

  • A trout permit is required to possess trout outside of trout parks or fish in certain designated waters .
  • A daily trout tag is needed when fishing in Missouri’s four trout parks .
  • Specialized permits may be required for gigging, bowfishing, snagging, or commercial fishing .

Always review regulations for the species you plan to target and area you intend to fish.

Fishing License Exemptions

While most anglers need a permit, there are some exemptions to Missouri’s fishing license requirement. Individuals who qualify for an exemption can fish without a general permit but may still need species-specific permits.

The following groups do not need a fishing permit:

  • Missouri residents age 65 and older .
  • Missouri residents age 15 and younger . Youth are limited to certain methods like pole fishing, bow fishing, and gigging.
  • Qualifying disabled residents with documents from an approved medical professional.
  • Resident landowners fishing on land they own, along with immediate family members.
  • Qualifying military veterans or active duty with documents proving eligibility.

Those with exemptions still need species permits like:

  • Daily trout tags when fishing in trout parks .
  • Trout permits when fishing for trout outside of parks .

Always have proper documentation to prove your exemption status.

Eligibility for Resident vs. Non-Resident Licenses

Missouri offers resident and non-resident licenses at different fee rates. Here is how residency is defined:

Resident Qualifications

You qualify as a Missouri resident if:

  • Your permanent legal residence has been in MO for at least 30 days.
  • You do not claim residency in any other state or country.

Owning property or attending school in Missouri does not confer residency alone.

Non-Resident Definition

Anyone who does not meet Missouri’s residency criteria is considered a non-resident for licensing purposes. This includes visitors fishing while on vacation.

Types of Missouri Fishing Licenses

Missouri offers several license and permit options suitable for different anglers’ needs and trip duration.

Annual Fishing Licenses

Annual licenses allow fishing for a full year from date of purchase. Separate resident and non-resident versions are available.

Daily Fishing Permits

Daily permits allow fishing for a single 24-hour period. Resident and non-resident daily permits cost the same.

Lifetime Fishing Licenses

Missouri residents can purchase lifetime fishing licenses or the Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit valid for life. Fees vary by age.

Specialty Versions

Specialized licenses include:

  • White River Border Lakes Permit – Allows reciprocal fishing in border lakes.
  • Short-term licenses – For brief 1-3 day fishing trips.
  • Military permits – Reduced cost permits for active duty and veterans.

Compare all Missouri fishing license options here.

Missouri Fishing License Fees

License fees in Missouri depend on residency status, age, license duration, and other factors. Here are the current rates:

Resident :

  • Daily: $8
  • Annual: $13
  • Lifetime (under age 65): $300-$400

Non-resident :

  • Daily: $8
  • Annual: $51

See all current fishing license fees in Missouri. Some increases take effect February 2024.

Discounts are available for seniors, military members, and youth under 16. Qualifying disabled residents fish for free with proper documentation.

How to Buy a Missouri Fishing License

You can purchase a Missouri fishing license:

  • Online through the MDC website
  • By phone at 1-800-392-4115
  • In person at select vendors like bait shops or sporting goods stores
  • Through the MO Hunting & Fishing app – download here

Some license types have restrictions on purchasing methods. Review limitations before selecting how to buy your permit.

Fishing Regulations, Limits and Requirements

In addition to proper licensing, anglers must follow Missouri fishing regulations around:

  • Season dates – Open seasons differ by species and location.
  • Daily limits – Limit number varies by fish species.
  • Size restrictions – Minimum size requirements apply to certain fish.
  • Approved methods and gear – Vary by species and season.

Always review fishing regulations before each trip. Properly following the rules supports conservation and fisheries management.

Consequences of Fishing Without a License

Fishing without a valid Missouri license or permit is illegal. Penalties include:

  • Fines up to $300 plus court costs
  • Confiscation of unlawful catch and fishing equipment
  • Potential suspension of future fishing privileges

Enforcement aims to protect Missouri’s aquatic resources. Purchasing proper licensing helps fund conservation efforts for future generations.

Fishing License Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where does fishing license revenue go?

Revenue from license and permit sales supports Missouri fisheries management, habitat improvement, fish stocking, conservation officer work, and improving angler access and opportunities statewide.

Can I fish on private ponds without a license?

Resident landowners and their immediate family may fish without a permit on private waters fully enclosed by land they own. All other anglers need a permit.

When are Missouri’s Free Fishing Days?

During Free Fishing Days, anyone can fish without permits or tags. These days occur annually in June. Check the Missouri Department of Conservation for exact dates.

Get Started Fishing in Missouri!

We hope this guide provided helpful information for securing your Missouri fishing license. Properly licensing yourself ensures compliance with conservation regulations while supporting fisheries management and habitat protection efforts statewide.

With your permit in hand, start planning the fishing adventure of a lifetime across Missouri’s vast lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. Tight lines!

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