Fishing in Missouri offers a wealth of opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, obtaining the correct fishing license is essential for a legal and enjoyable fishing experience. This guide will walk you through the types of fishing licenses available, the process of obtaining them, and the regulations you need to be aware of.

Why Getting a Missouri Fishing License is Crucial

A fishing license is more than just a legal requirement; it’s a vital contribution to the conservation and preservation of Missouri’s aquatic resources. The fees collected from license sales directly fund various initiatives, including:

  • Habitat restoration projects that enhance fish populations and improve water quality.
  • Stocking programs that ensure a diverse array of fish species thrive in Missouri’s waters.
  • Educational programs that promote responsible angling practices and environmental stewardship.
  • Access improvements that create and maintain fishing spots for anglers to enjoy.

By purchasing a license, you’re not only gaining access to incredible fishing opportunities but also investing in the future of the sport and the environment.

Who Needs a Missouri Fishing License?


  • Ages 16-64: Must have a valid fishing license.
  • Ages 65 and older: Exempt from needing a fishing license but may need special permits for certain activities like trout fishing.


  • Ages 16 and older: Must have a valid fishing license.


  • Children under 16: Do not need a fishing license.
  • Landowners and their immediate family members: Can fish on their own property without a license.
  • Certain disabled veterans and active-duty military personnel: May qualify for license exemptions or discounts.

Types of Missouri Fishing Licenses

Missouri offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different needs and durations:

1. Daily Fishing Permit

  • Resident and Non-Resident: $8
  • Valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase.
  • Ideal for short-term fishing trips or occasional anglers.

2. Annual Fishing Permit

  • Resident: $12
  • Non-Resident: $49
  • Valid from the date of purchase through the last day of February of the following year.
  • Best for those who plan to fish regularly throughout the year.

3. Trout Permit

  • All Anglers: $10
  • Required in addition to a regular fishing license to fish in designated trout waters.

4. Lifetime Fishing Permit

  • Residents Only: Prices vary by age
  • Youth (0-15): $275
  • Age 16-29: $400
  • Age 30-39: $350
  • Age 40-59: $300
  • Age 60-64: $35
  • A one-time purchase that grants fishing privileges for life.

5. White River Border Lakes License

  • Residents of Missouri and Arkansas: $10
  • Allows fishing in the waters of both states’ border lakes.

How to Obtain Your Missouri Fishing License

Online Purchase

In-Person Purchase

  • Available at MDC offices, licensed vendors such as bait and tackle shops, and sporting goods stores.
  • Ensure you carry your permit while fishing.

By Phone

  • Call 1-800-392-4115 to purchase a license by phone.
  • A $2 surcharge applies for credit card purchases.

Fishing Regulations and Limits

General Rules

  • Catch and Size Limits: Vary by species and location. Always check the latest regulations on the MDC website.
  • Fishing Methods: Allowed methods include pole and line, trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line, and jug line. Specific methods may be restricted in certain areas.

Special Regulations

  • Trout Fishing: Requires a trout permit in addition to a regular fishing license.
  • Free Fishing Days: Typically the first weekend after the first Monday in June, when no fishing license is required.

Conservation Efforts

  • Fishing license fees support habitat restoration, stocking programs, educational initiatives, and access improvements.

Can I fish in Missouri without a license?

No, unless you fall under one of the exemptions mentioned earlier, such as being a resident aged 65 or older, or a child under 16.

What happens if I lose my license?

If you bought your license online, you can reprint it at home. If purchased in person, you can buy a replacement permit from any vendor for $2.

Do I have to renew my license?

Yes, fishing licenses are effective from the date of purchase until the last day of February of the following year.


Obtaining a fishing license in Missouri is a straightforward process that supports conservation efforts and ensures sustainable fishing practices. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, make sure to get the appropriate license and familiarize yourself with local regulations to enjoy a responsible and rewarding fishing experience.

For more detailed information and to purchase your license, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

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