2005 Wildlife Code Changes
lures may be used, and all fish must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught. Fish may not be possessed on these waters.
Live Bait (Frogs). Bullfrogs and green frogs taken and possessed under statewide seasons and limits may be used as bait. The daily limit remains eight bullfrogs and green frogs in the aggregate. The daily limit for southern leopard frog, plains leopard frog and cricket frog is five each.
Experimental Hand Fishing Season. An experimental hand fishing season for catfish has been approved for 2005 as part of a five-year study to determine the effects of hand fishing on catfish populations, and whether such a season should be established in the long term.
To hand fish in Missouri, you must obtain a Hand Fishing Permit ($7) in addition to the prescribed fishing permit, unless exempt. You must also submit, within 10 days following the close of the season, a complete report on a form furnished by the Department. Failure to submit an accurate and complete annual report shall be sufficient cause for denial of a hand fishing permit the following year.
The hand fishing season will run from sunrise to sunset, June 1 though July 15.
The daily limit is five channel, blue or flathead catfish, in the aggregate. The minimum length limit is 22 inches for flathead and blue catfish. There is no minimum length limit for channel catfish.
Only waters that are also are open to commercial fishing for catfish, or closely tied to such waters, have been opened to hand fishing. These areas are:
- Fabius River system from the mouth to the Highway 61 bridges, and the South Fabius River in Marion County from the Highway 61 Bridge upstream to Dunn Ford Access;
- Mississippi River from the mouth of the Fabius River upstream to the mouth of the Des Moines River;
- That part of the St. Francis River that forms the boundary between the states of Arkansas and Missouri.
Feet and bare hands may be used without the aid of hooks or other man-made devices. Catfish may be taken by hand fishing only from natural objects or natural cavities. Catfish may not be taken from any man-made object from bona fide construction such as bridges, docks, boat ramps and rock rip rap. No part of any object may be disturbed or altered to harvest a catfish by hand. Hand fishers may not possess fishing equipment, except a stringer, while on designated hand