All of the above methods of taking fish are considered sport fishing methods.
Number of poles and hooks
If you use more than three poles (or two poles on the Mississippi River) at any one time, the additional poles must be labeled with your full name and address or Conservation Number. Regardless of the method or number of poles, you may not use more than a total of 33 hooks at any one time; except on the Mississippi River the maximum is 50 hooks at one time. If fishing on the Mississippi River and on other Missouri waters at the same time, no more than 50 hooks may be used and not more than 33 on waters other than the Mississippi.
Hooks on trotlines must be staged at least 2 feet apart. Hooks on any type of line, as well as the line itself, must be attended every 24 hours or removed.
Prohibited fishing methods
No one may use any explosive, poison, chemical or electrical equipment to kill or stupefy fish. Such material or equipment may not be possessed on waters of the state or adjacent banks.
Spearguns may not be possessed on unimpounded waters or adjacent banks, and spears may not be propelled by explosives.
It also is illegal to attempt to take fish by hand, with or without a hook, and to intentionally leave or abandon any commonly edible portion of any fish.
Only live-bait traps are allowed
Fish traps, including slat and wire ones, may not be possessed on waters in Missouri or on adjacent banks. However, live-bait traps are allowed.
Labels required on traps and lines
You must place a tag of a durable material with your full name and address or your Conservation Number on live-bait traps, trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines and live boxes.
Use of Lights
As an aid to fishing methods, an artificial light may be used only above the water surface. However, while fishing by pole and line only, underwater lights may be used to attract fish. Underwater lights also may be used when bowfishing on lakes, ponds and other impoundments.
Check Special Area Regulations
Special fishing restrictions exist for particular areas. Always check before you fish.
You may possess no more than the daily limit of any given species while you are on waters, or on the banks of waters, where daily limits for those species apply. Any species taken into actual possession, unless released unharmed immediately after being caught, shall continue to be included in the daily limit of the taker for the day.
Where only catch-and-release fishing is allowed, fish must be returned unharmed immediately to the water after being caught.
The possession limit is twice the statewide daily limit. Fish you take and possess must be kept separate or distinctly identifiable from fish taken by another person. If you are away from your catch, the device holding the fish must be plainly labeled with your full name and address.
A minimum length limit means that fish below a designated length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.
A slot length limit or protected length range means that fish within a designated length range must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.
A maximum length limit means that fish above a designated length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.
Regardless of where taken, fish that are not of a legal length cannot be possessed on the waters or banks where length limits apply. The head and tail must remain attached to the fish while you are fishing on waters where length limits apply.
The fish you catch in Missouri, or elsewhere, may be possessed and transported as your personal baggage, if you have the required permit. Fish may be stored, preserved or refrigerated only at your home, camp, place of lodging or in a commercial establishment. Stored fish must be labeled with your full name, address, permit number, species of fish and the date placed in storage. Fish taken in another state by methods not permitted in Missouri may not be possessed on waters of the state.
Porous-Soled Waders Ban
Didymo is an invasive alga that can lodge in porous-soled waders.
Porous-soled waders include shoes, boots, or waders with porous soles made of felt or any matted or woven fibrous material.
To keep didymo from invading trout waters, porous-soled waders are prohibited on the following waters:
Maramec Spring Park
Bennett Spring State Park
Montauk State Park
Roaring River State Park
Lakes and streams
Barren Fork Creek in Shannon County
Blue Springs Creek in Crawford County
Capps Creek in Barry and Newton counties
Crane Creek in Stone and Lawrence counties
Current River in Dent, Texas, and Shannon counties
Dry Fork Creek in Crawford and Phelps counties
Eleven Point River in Oregon County
Hickory Creek in Newton County
Lake Taneycomo and its tributaries in Taney County
Little Piney Creek in Phelps County
Meramec River in Crawford and Phelps counties
Mill Creek in Phelps County
Niangua River in Dallas and Laclede counties
North Fork of White River in Ozark County
Roaring River in Barry County
Roubidoux Creek in Pulaski County
Spring Creek in Phelps County
Stone Mill Spring Branch in Pulaski County
Live Bait Regulations
Live Bait Species
Live bait includes crayfish, freshwater shrimp, southern leopard frogs, plains leopard frogs, cricket frogs, and nongame fish. Bullfrogs and green frogs taken under season limits and methods also may be used as bait.
Bighead carp and silver carp may not be used as live bait but may be used as dead or cut bait.
Live bait taken from public waters of Missouri may not be sold or transported to other states.
Game fish or their parts may not be used as bait.
Live bait may be taken by trap, dip net, throw net, pole and line or seine.
Live-bait traps must have a throat opening not more than 1-1/2 inches in any dimension, and must be labeled with the user’s full name and address, or Conservation Number.
Traps must be removed if they cannot be checked at least once every 24 hours.
Seines must not be more than 20 feet long and 4 feet deep, with a mesh of not more than 1/2 inch bar measure.
Live bait, except fish, may be taken by hand.
Crayfish also may be taken by trap with an opening not to exceed 1-1/2 inches by 18 inches.
All bluegill, green sunfish and bullheads more than 5 inches long and other species of nongame fish more than 12 inches long must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught by any of the methods listed above except pole and line. The daily limits for nongame fish apply to the large fish taken by pole and line.
There is no length limit on bighead carp, common carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, grass carp and silver carp when used as bait.
Live bait may be taken throughout the year.
A combined total of 150 crayfish, freshwater shrimp and non-game fish.
5 each of southern leopard frog, plains leopard frog and cricket frog.
A combined total of 8 bullfrogs and green frogs. Bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken only from sunset June 30 through Oct. 31.
Any number of goldfish and bighead, common, grass and silver carp.
Any number of live bait, when purchased or obtained from a source other than the waters of the state or a licensed commercial fisherman; must be species on the Approved Aquatic Species List and angler must carry a dated receipt for the bait.