Do Not Harvest List

Fishes that appear on the state or federal threatened or endangered list, or fish that closely resemble a protected fish, should not be harvested. Help protect the species listed below. If you catch a fish on this list (or one that looks like it), do not harm it, and release it immediately.

Commercial Fishermen: Don't take shovelnose sturgeon!

Commercial fisherman may not take shovelnose sturgeon from the entire Missouri River nor from the Mississippi River below Melvin Price Locks and Dam near Alton, Ill. See Commercial Shovelnose Fishing Restricted.

Endangered or Threatened Fish


 Central mudminnow side view photo with black background
Central Mudminnow
Umbra limi
Mudminnows are a small family of only six species and are most closely related to the pikes. This is the only mudminnow that occurs in our state, and it is rare, occurring only in a few marshy locations near the Mississippi River.


Crystal darter side view photo with black background
Crystal Darter
Crystallaria asprella
This pale, very slender darter is Endangered in Missouri. Formerly known from many river drainages in the east-central and southeastern parts of our state, it apparently now lives only in the Gasconade and Black rivers.


Cypress minnow side view photo with black background
Cypress Minnow
Hybognathus hayi 
Missouri’s Bootheel lowlands are unlike any other place in the state, and many of the animals and plants that live there occur nowhere else within our borders. The cypress minnow, like the habitat it prefers, is in danger of vanishing from Missouri.


Flathead chub side view photo with black background
Flathead Chub
Platygobio gracilis 
This active, big-river fish formerly occurred along the entire length of the Missouri River. In the 1940s, it constituted 31 percent of all small fishes in the Missouri River! By the early 1980s, that figure was 1.1 percent. Today, it has all but vanished from our state.


Goldstripe darter side view photo with black background
Goldstripe Darter
Etheostoma parvipinne 
One of the rarest darters in our state, the endangered goldstripe has exacting habitat requirements: It needs small, shallow, shaded, spring-fed streams with clear water and a low to moderate gradient. What it doesn’t need is siltation, pollution, channel restriction and removal of the tree canopy above!


Grotto sculpin side view photo with black background
Grotto Sculpin
Cottus specus 
A rare fish adapted cave conditions, the grotto sculpin used to be considered simply a different form of banded sculpin. It has recently been designated an endangered species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. It's found only in Perry County, Missouri.


Harlequin darter side view photo with black background
Harlequin Darter
Etheostoma histrio 
In Missouri, this rare darter is found only in our southeastern lowlands. It lives in flowing streams and ditches with sandy bottoms among logs, sticks and other organic debris. It is State Endangered because its small numbers and limited range make it vulnerable to extirpation.


Lake sturgeon side view photo with black background
Lake Sturgeon
Acipenser fulvescens 
The largest of Missouri’s three sturgeons is rare and endangered in our state. One way to identify it is by its conical (not shovel-nosed) snout. And despite its name, in our state this fish is almost always found in big rivers—not lakes.


Longnose darter side view photo with black background
Longnose Darter
Percina nasuta 
The next time you are enjoying the waters of Table Rock Lake, remember the longnose darter, which used to inhabit the White River when it still flowed through that area. This is why it’s important to protect this Endangered darter’s few remaining streams from sedimentation and pollution.


Mountain madtom side view photo with black background
Mountain Madtom
Noturus eleutherus 
This small catfish is rare and endangered in Missouri. It has been recorded from only a few locations in the southeastern portion of the state.


Neosho madtom side view photo with black background
Neosho Madtom
Noturus placidus
This endangered species is the smallest catfish in Missouri, where it lives under rocks in riffles or runs, in the clear water of Spring River in Jasper County.


Niangua darter male, side view photo with black background
Niangua Darter
Etheostoma nianguae 
Two small, jet-black spots at the base of the tail fin distinguish this small fish from the more than 30 other darters found in our state. Known from only a few tributaries of the Osage River, this dainty and colorful fish is a nationally threatened species.


Ozark cavefish side view photo with black background
Ozark Cavefish
Amblyopsis rosae
This small, colorless, blind fish lives its entire life in springs, cave streams and underground waters. It has been declared Endangered in our state and as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Pallid sturgeon side view photo with black background
Pallid Sturgeon
Scaphirhynchus albus 
Similar to shovelnose sturgeon, but with a longer and more pointed snout. Bases of the inner barbels are weakly fringed, and the base of an inner barbel is less than half the width of the base of an outer barbel.


Redfin darter side view photo with black background
Redfin Darter
Etheostoma whipplei
The redfin darter is of the rarest darters in Missouri and is endangered in our state. It is part of a highly distinctive fish community living in the lower Spring River and its North Fork, in Jasper and Barton counties.


Sabine shiner side view photo with black background
Sabine Shiner
Notropis sabinae
Missouri’s southeastern lowlands are home to a fantastic array of plants and animals found nowhere else in the state. The Sabine shiner is one of them—in Missouri, it’s known only from a short stretch of the Black River in Butler County.


Spring cavefish side view photo with black background
Spring Cavefish
Forbesichthys agassizi 
This is the only cavefish in our state that has eyes, however small, and whose body is yellowish-brown or brown; our other cavefishes lack eyes entirely and are pale and nearly colorless.


Swamp darter side view photo with black background
Swamp Darter
Etheostoma fusiforme 
Darters usually prefer the swift, clear waters of streams and riffles, but this darter is different. True to its name, it prefers swamps and sloughs with no current at all. Rare in our state, it’s found only in a few southeast Missouri locations.


Taillight shiner male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Taillight Shiner
Notropis maculatus 
One of the rarest Missouri minnows, the taillight shiner is known only from a few localities in Southeast Missouri—in habitats representing the last remnants of low-gradient streams and swamps that once characterized that region.


Topeka shiner female, side view photo with black background
Topeka Shiner
Notropis topeka 
Currently found in only a few Missouri streams, the Topeka shiner is an endangered native minnow that has declined precipitously because of environmental pollution, siltation, and loss or alteration of habitat.