Fishing

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Trout angler fishing in a stream
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Fishing is a great way to spend time with family and friends creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s a full-blown vacation or a quiet Saturday morning, fishing can get you away from it all. All you need is a pole, a line, a hook, some bait, and a permit.

No matter where you live in Missouri, a great fishing trip is close to home. Check Places to Go for conservation areas with fishing opportunities near you.

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Guidelines for Fishing on MDC Areas

Have the Right Equipment

Essential equipment includes a rod, reel, hook, line, and lure. Check the fishing gear page to see if you have the correct equipment.

Apply Bug Spray and Sunscreen

In addition to sunscreen, wearing a hat and/or sunglasses can protect you from too much sun and the glare reflecting off the water.

Bring a First Aid Kit

Put your kit in a waterproof case, especially if you are fishing from a boat. Be sure to include the basics in your kit: bandages, sterile pads, pain relievers, disinfectant, and an antibiotic cream.

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Before You Go

Get your fishing permit.

You can purchase permits online or in most Missouri sporting goods stores.

More information on fishing permits.

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Follow Fishing Etiquette

  • Some fishing locations are more popular than others, so when you find yourself sharing the space with fellow anglers, make sure you are respecting them and the outdoor area to ensure everyone has the best fishing experience.
  • Be aware of fishing seasons, area-specific regulations, and creel limits (the maximum amount of fish you can catch). Creel limits vary by conservation area and are posted on signs near conservation area parking lots.
  • Leave no trace. Properly dispose of your fishing line, lures, trash, and food waste in a trash receptacle. Littering can harm both land and aquatic wildlife and habitats.
  • Be a good steward and dispose of bait properly. Dumping bait can result in the introduction of an invasive animal. Invasive species can harm native wildlife and habitats and impact the ability humans have to do their favorite outdoor activities, such as fishing.

Great Places For Fishing

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boat ramp at Miller Community Lake
Carter
Miller Community Lake is 27-acres and has a one-mile surrounding hiking trail, a boat ramp and
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View of Big Tavern Creek from Boeckman Bridge, Miller County, Missouri
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Boeckman Bridge Access was acquired in 1982 to provide river access for launching canoes or sma
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Rocky stream at Wenkel Ford Access
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This area provides fishing access to the Bourbeuse River.

Events

Find events near you.
Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024 3:30 pm - Thursday, February 29, 2024 5:00 pm
Location: Cosmo-Bethel Lake

Date: Feb 29th

Location: Cosmo-Bethel Park

Join us for a trout fishing day in the park! Fishing poles, tackle, bait, and instruction will be provided. This is a great opportunity for anyone you know who is interested in trout fishing but does not have the gear to do so. Anyone is welcome. Stop by to grab a fishing pole and start fishing!

Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult AT ALL TIMES.

Participants DO NOT need a fishing permit during this event.

Registration is NOT required to attend.

Please email Huston Spellman, Community Education Assistant with questions.

Huston.Spellman@mdc.mo.gov 573-815-7900 ext. 2926
Registration period: January 24 - February 29
Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024 4:00 pm - Thursday, February 29, 2024 5:00 pm
Location: Online only

Fishing is an age-old way of engaging with our aquatic ecosystems that almost anyone can participate in. Old or young this pastime can be enjoyed for your whole life with family and friends. Join us for this virtual introduction to fishing and get your angling journey started. In this program you can expect to learn the basics of equipment, baits, fishing holes, and commonly targeted species. This program is intended for beginners of any age and no experience is required.

Please ensure your MDC account includes an accurate email address so that you can receive a link to the virtual program. Registration ends 2 hours before program begins.

Registration period: January 18 - February 29
Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024 6:00 pm - Thursday, February 29, 2024 8:30 pm
Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Learn how to get your trusty fishing reels in tip top shape before spring weather arrives.

Learn how to maintain and make minor but common repairs to spincasting, spinning and bait casting reels.

During this program we'll learn how to disassemble, clean, lubricate and make some common repairs on these three common types of fishing reels.

This program is appropriate for adults and children over the age of 9. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.

Each participant must register separately for this program.

Email the instructor for assistance with registration.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2024 8:00 am - Sunday, March 31, 2024 5:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

From artist Terry Martin: "I was fortunate to grow up in Missouri, where there were lakes, streams, and rivers to explore. Mine is a state with a premier conservation effort! I had a bicycle and a fishing rod (a fortunate son!). As a boy, I was up at daylight each day and home when it got dark. I developed more and more of an interest in the wildlife and geography of my surroundings. I discovered artists like John James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson, Maynard Reece, and fellow Missourian Charles W. Schwartz. Also of great influence were naturalists John Muir, Marlin Perkins, and Robert Bateman."

Terry Martin's art will be on exhibit in the Runge lobby until April 30. No registration required. All ages
Registration period: January 18 - March 1
Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024 8:00 am - Saturday, March 2, 2024 11:30 am
Location: MDC Kansas City Regional Office

Learn all about catching feisty winter trout and catch a few for dinner.

We'll start the morning off with a trout fishing lesson in the class room at the Kansas City Regional Conservation Office where we'll learn how to catch and clean trout. Then we'll head down to Honker Pond to try our luck catching some hungry trout.

Dress for the weather but if you get cold while you are fishing you can take a break to warm up by the fire and enjoy some hot chocolate.

Only children can fish at Honker Pond but parents and family are welcome to attend and learn along with the kids.

Missouri Department of Conservation will provide all of the equipment, bait, fishing coaches, hot chocolate and a warm fire.

Children do not need a trout permit to fish at this event as long as they plan to release their fish, if they would like to keep the trout that they catch they will need a trout permit. Permits will not be available at this event but they can be purchased online here https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/permits

or at any permit vendor.

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

If bad weather is forecast the day of this event it may be postponed. You will be contacted if any changes are necessary.

Dress appropriately for the weather.

Each child that attends the program must be registered separately. Contact instructor for assistance with registration.
Registration period: December 15 - March 2
Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024 12:30 pm - Saturday, March 2, 2024 2:30 pm
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center
What if you're fly fishing and looking for a specific color and pattern but you couldn’t find that fly in the store? Well then, this program could be for you as we delve into the basics of fly tying and tie two beginner fly patterns that could help you catch the fish of your dreams. Whether you’re just getting into the hobby or have a great collection of homemade flies this program could help your find your new favorite fly pattern.
Registration period: February 4 - March 3
Date: Monday, March 4, 2024 5:00 pm - Monday, March 4, 2024 7:00 pm
Location: Online only
Are you interested in learning to care and maintain your current cast iron cookware? Do you have older pieces you wish to restore to be able to enjoy and use? Please join us as we will go over how to maintain and ways to restore your cast iron.
Registration period: January 13 - March 6
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2024 2:30 pm - Thursday, March 7, 2024 3:00 pm
Location: Online only
Any time can be a great time to fish. Now that the weather is turning warm, the Spring fishing season will be in full force. Now is the time to brush up on those fish-cleaning skills. We are starting a three-part session on fish cleaning. In this session, we will focus on different equipment that will make cleaning fish easier.
Registration period: January 25 - March 7
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2024 6:00 pm - Thursday, March 7, 2024 8:00 pm
Location: Online only

Virtual -Advanced crappie fishing clinic

Are you tired of seeing all the Facebook post of other folks catching crappie? While your fishing trips have been uneventful? Do you want to learn some advance crappie fishing techniques and strategies? Do you want to increase your knowledge of modern fishing electronic? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you! We are partnering with Brad Shockley of I Am Outdoors and other local crappie fishing guides on area lakes to host a workshop educating crappie anglers on fishing techniques that will take your next fishing trip to a whole new level.

Workshop includes:

- Current regulations with an emphasis on Lake Pomme De Terre, Stockton, Table Rock, and Fellows Lakes

- Crappie fishing methods and equipment

• Doddle socking

• Spider rigging

• Dock fishing

• Using live bait

• Jigging

- Patterns and associated techniques

- Lure selection for each season

- How to fish a brush pile

- How to fish standing timber

- Locating crappie – analyzing a lake map

- Introduction to modern electronics

Crappie is one of the most sought-after fish by anglers in Missouri, give yourself an advantage on the lake. Each participant will receive some proven tackle to try on their next crappie fishing adventure!

A WebEx link to view the program will be sent out 24hrs before the program!

When: March 7th, 2023

Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

If you have any questions, please contact Lyle Whittaker at Lyle.whittaker@mdc.mo.gov or call (417) 895-6880 Ext. 1644

Registration period: January 25 - March 7
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2024 6:00 pm - Thursday, March 7, 2024 8:00 pm
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Advanced crappie fishing clinic

Are you tired of seeing all the Facebook post of other folks catching crappie? While your fishing trips have been uneventful? Do you want to learn some advance crappie fishing techniques and strategies? Do you want to increase your knowledge of modern fishing electronic? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you! We are partnering with Brad Shockley of I Am Outdoors and other local crappie fishing guides on area lakes to host a workshop educating crappie anglers on fishing techniques that will take your next fishing trip to a whole new level. Crappie is one of the most sought-after fish by anglers in Missouri, give yourself an advantage on the lake. Each participant will receive some proven tackle to try on their next crappie fishing adventure!

Workshop includes:

- Current regulations with an emphasis on Lake Pomme De Terre, Stockton, Table Rock, and Fellows Lakes

Crappie fishing methods and equipment

• Doddle socking, Spider rigging, dock fishing, using live bait and casting a jig

• Patterns and associated techniques

Fishing a brush pile and standing timber

• Locating crappie

• Introduction to modern electronics

Options to register:

1) To attend the in person, simply click the green register tab on this page

2) To attend virtually register for the virtaul program from our events page. Look for "Virtaul Crappie Fishing"

When: March 7th, 2023

Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

If you have any questions, please contact Lyle Whittaker at Lyle.whittaker@mdc.mo.gov or call (417) 895-6880 Ext. 1644