As an avid angler, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of casting your line into the bountiful waters of Missouri. From the crystal-clear streams of the Ozarks to the mighty Mississippi River, the Show-Me State offers a diverse array of fishing opportunities. However, before you can embark on your angling adventure, you’ll need to obtain a valid Missouri fishing license. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the types of licenses available, their costs, and the essential information you need to know to fish legally in Missouri in 2024.

The cost of an annual resident fishing license in Missouri is $13, while non-residents pay $51. However, there are various other license types, fees, and exemptions to consider, which we’ll explore in detail.

Why is a Fishing License Required in Missouri?

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 by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), including:

  • Maintaining and improving fish hatcheries that raise and stock over 7 million fish annually
  • Habitat restoration projects that enhance fish populations and improve water quality
  • 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 investing in the future of fishing and ensuring that Missouri’s waters remain healthy and thriving for generations to come.

Types of Missouri Fishing Licenses and Costs for 2024

Missouri offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to the needs of both resident and non-resident anglers. Here’s a breakdown of the most common license types and their costs for 2024:

Resident Licenses

  • Daily Fishing Permit: $8 – Perfect for short fishing trips or occasional anglers
  • Annual Fishing Permit: $13 – Valid from date of purchase through the last day of February of the following year
  • Trout Permit: $10 for adults, $5 for youth (15 and under) – Required to possess trout, except in trout parks where a daily tag is needed
  • Lifetime Fishing Permit: $295 – $430 based on age – A one-time purchase that provides fishing privileges for life

Non-Resident Licenses

  • Daily Fishing Permit: $8 – Same as the resident daily permit
  • Annual Fishing Permit: $51 – Allows non-residents to fish in Missouri for a full year

It’s important to note that license costs are subject to change, so always check the MDC website or with a permit vendor for the most up-to-date pricing information.

Who Needs a Missouri Fishing License?

In general, anyone aged 16 and older who fishes in Missouri’s waters must have a valid fishing license. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Missouri residents aged 65 and older are exempt from needing a fishing permit but may need to purchase trout permits.
  • Resident landowners and their immediate family members can fish on their own property without a permit, as long as they own all the land around the body of water.
  • Missouri residents 15 years old and younger can fish without a permit.
  • Honorably discharged veterans with a service-related disability of 60% or more, former prisoners of war, and active-duty military personnel assigned to a Warrior Transition unit may fish without a permit.

Always consult the MDC website or contact their offices for the most current information on permit exemptions.

Where to Buy a Missouri Fishing License

Obtaining your fishing license is a simple process, with several convenient options available:

  • Online: Visit the MDC website or use the MO Fishing mobile app to purchase and store your license digitally.
  • In-Person: Licenses are available at numerous vendors across the state, including bait shops, sporting goods stores, and MDC regional offices.
  • By Phone: Call the MDC at 1-800-392-4115 to buy your license over the phone.

Remember to carry your license with you whenever you’re fishing, either in paper form or digitally on your smartphone.

Fishing Regulations in Missouri

In addition to having a valid fishing license, anglers must also adhere to Missouri’s fishing regulations. These rules cover aspects like daily limits, size restrictions, and seasons for various fish species. Some key regulations to keep in mind include:

  • Daily Limits: Be aware of the daily limits for the fish you’re targeting. For example, the daily limit for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass) is 6 in most waters.
  • Length Limits: Some fish species have specific length requirements. Largemouth bass, for instance, must be at least 12 inches long to keep in most lakes and streams.
  • Seasons: Certain fish, like paddlefish and some species of trout, have specific seasons when they can be legally caught. Always check the current regulations before planning your fishing trip.

The MDC provides a comprehensive guide to fishing regulations, which can be found on their website or in printed form at permit vendors and regional offices.

Protecting Missouri’s Aquatic Resources

As an angler in Missouri, you play a crucial role in preserving the state’s vibrant fisheries. By following regulations, practicing catch and release when appropriate, and supporting conservation efforts through your license fees, you help ensure that Missouri’s waters remain healthy and productive for years to come. Together, we can maintain the Show-Me State’s reputation as a premier destination for anglers from all walks of life.


Obtaining a Missouri fishing license is a simple yet essential step in your angling journey. By understanding the types of licenses available, their costs, and the regulations you need to follow, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy the state’s incredible fishing opportunities responsibly. Remember, your license fees directly support conservation efforts that benefit fish, wildlife, and the habitats they depend on. So get your license, grab your gear, and head out to explore the amazing waters that Missouri has to offer.

Do I need a fishing license if I’m under 16?

Children under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license in Missouri. However, they must still follow all other fishing regulations, such as daily creel limits and size restrictions.

Can I use my Missouri fishing license in other states?

No, your Missouri fishing license is only valid within the state of Missouri. If you plan to fish in other states, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate license for that state.

How long is a Missouri fishing license valid?

Missouri fishing licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase. For example, if you purchase a license on June 1st, 2024, it will expire on May 31st, 2025.

Where can I find information on fishing regulations and limits?

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website provides detailed information on fishing regulations, including daily creel limits, size restrictions, and special area regulations. You can also find this information in the annual Missouri Fishing Regulations booklet, available online or at MDC offices and license vendors.

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