Fish Measuring and Identification

Learn to measure and identify the fish and other aquatic life you catch so you can abide by Missouri's seasons, daily limits, length limits, and other regulations. When in doubt a fish's identity or legal length, play it safe, and return the fish to the water unharmed immediately.

How to Measure a Fish

How-to-measure-fish diagram

Total length is measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, with the fish laid flat on the ruler, with the mouth closed and the tail lobes pressed together.

Measure a Paddlefish

Measuring a paddlefish

Paddlefish are measured from the eye to the fork of the tail.

Measure a Shovelnose Sturgeon

Measuring a sturgeon

Sturgeon are measured from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail. Only shovelnose sturgeon are legal to keep.

Missouri Game Fish

Click on a fish's name to view detailed information about it.

Game Fish
Common Name Scientific Name Family
Black Crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus Sunfish
Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus Catfish
Brown Trout Salmo trutta Trout
Chain Pickerel Esox niger Pike
Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus Catfish
Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris Catfish
Goggle-eye (Northern Rock Bass) Ambloplites rupestris Sunfish
Grass Pickerel Esox americanus Pike
Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides Sunfish
Muskellunge Esox masquinongy Pike
Northern Pike Esox lucius Pike
Paddlefish Polyodon spathula Paddlefish
Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss Trout
Sauger Sander canadensis Perch
Shovelnose Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynch Sturgeon
Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu Sunfish
Spotted/Kentucky Bass Micropterus punctulatus Sunfish
Striped Bass and Hybrids Morone saxatilis Temperate Bass
Walleye Sander vitreus Perch
Warmouth Lepomis gulosus Sunfish
White Bass, Yellow Bass, and Hybrids Morone chrysops Temperate Bass
White Crappie Pomoxis annularis Sunfish

Related Content

Do Not Harvest List

Some fishes in Missouri cannot be harvest due to being on the threatened or endangered list, or because they closely resemble a protected fish. Continue reading to learn about these fishes.

Check the Code

This is NOT a legal document. Regulations are subject to revision during the current year.
Refer to the Wildlife Code.

Fishing Regulations Summary

Comment on Regulations

Regulations and Permits Definitions

Knowing regulations and permits definitions helps you abide by the Wildlife Code of Missouri.