Missouri Fishing License 2024: Cost, Types & How to Buy

MIssouri Fishing License Feature Image

Missouri has it all when it comes to freshwater fishing. From great bass smallmouth fishing and largemouth bass fishing to trout fishing in the Ozarks and panfish in local lakes, anglers are spoiled for choice.

To get the most out of the your fishing trip to Missouri, and to stay within local regulations, you need to get a Missouri fishing license (which local authorities call a fishing permit).

This article will help you with the following (and more):

  • How much a Missouri fishing license costs
  • Which Missouri fishing license you need to buy
  • Where to Buy a Missouri fishing license

Read on for more information in one handy, easy to read blog post.

How Much is a Missouri Fishing License (Permit)?

Missouri licenses are great value for the quality of the fishing. The price for an annual MIssouri fishing license is $12 for residents and $49 for non-residents. Daily licenses are cheaper at $8 for both residents and non residents, but the yearly option is much better value, especially for residents.

Check out the tables below for info on special licenses and lifetime Missouri fishing licenses, as well as discounts and exemptions.

See also: How Much is a Fishing License in All 50 States of the US?

Who Needs a Fishing Permit in Missouri?

Any angler between the ages of 16 and 64 who wishes to legally fish in Missouri must possess a valid fishing license. The license is good for fish, frogs, mussels, clams, turtles, crayfish and live bait. Various permit options are available, depending on factors such as residency, age, and fishing duration.

In addition to the standard fishing license, you may also need a permit to fish a particular species. For example, you’ll need a trout permit to possess trout. The Missouri Department of Conservation website provides a comprehensive list of permits required by species.

Here is the license fees page: https://mdc.mo.gov/permits/fishing-permits

Who Is Exempt From Needing a Fishing License in Missouri?

When it comes to fishing in Missouri, there are some exceptions that allow some anglers to cast a line permit-free. You will still need to purchase a daily Trout fishing tag or Trout permit, though, if you are not fishing on private, licensed Trout-fishing grounds. Missouri has some really good fly fishing fishing spots for trout.

Each year, Missouri also has Free Fishing Days, when you don’t need a permit or daily fishing tags.

The following individuals do not need a permit:

MIssouri River Fishing
MIssouri River Fishing

Missouri Fishing License Cost and Types

There are several types of fishing permits you can purchase in Missouri. These include:

  • Daily Fishing Permit: Both residents and non-residents can purchase this type of permit.
  • Annual Fishing Permit: These are available for both residents and non-residents.
  • Lifetime Fishing Permit: Only residents can buy a lifetime fishing permit.
  • Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit: This permit, available only to residents, carries the same privileges as the Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit.
  • Military Reduced Cost Permit: Missouri residents who are currently (or have in the last 12 months) mobilized and serving on full-time active military duty in the National Guard (federal status) or reserve forces of the United States can get a reduced cost permit.
  • Small Game Hunting & Fishing Permit: This type of permit is only for residents.

Resident Fishing Licenses

Resident fishing licenses are available to those who have established residency in Missouri. To qualify as a Missouri resident, you must meet any of the conditions below:

  • Any person who does not claim resident privileges in another state or country, and whose actual residence and legal permanent home address are both in Missouri, and have been for at least 30 days before applying for the permit. Owning real estate or attending a Missouri school does not in itself make you a legal resident.
  • All members of the U.S. armed forces stationed and residing in Missouri on permanent change of station status and immediate family members residing with them.
  • Any member of the U.S. military currently assigned as a patient to a Warrior Transition Brigade, Warrior Transition Unit or a military medical center; must carry orders showing assignment to a Warrior Transition Brigade or Warrior Transition Unit, or admissions verification to a military medical center while hunting and purchasing permits.
  • Any honorably discharged military veteran having a service-related disability of 60 percent or greater, or who was a prisoner of war during military service; must carry certified statement of eligibility from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs while hunting and purchasing permits.
  • Missouri residents employed by the United States in the District of Columbia or serving in the U.S. armed forces. Immediate family members who reside with them also may purchase resident permits.
  • Nonresidents who are registered students attending a public or private secondary, post secondary, or vocational school in Missouri and who live in Missouri while attending school; must carry evidence of a Missouri residence and student status while hunting or fishing.
  • Immigrants who possess an I-551 Resident Alien Card from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and who do not claim resident privileges in another state or country, and whose actual residence and legal permanent home address are both in Missouri, and have been for at least 30 days before purchasing a permit.
License TypeCost
Daily Fishing Permit$8.00
Annual Fishing Permit$12.00
Lifetime Fishing Permit
Youth (0-15)$275.00
Age 16-29$400.00
Age 30-39$350.00
Age 40-59$300.00
Age 60-64$35.00
Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit (Hunting and Fishing)
Youth (0-15)$550.00
Age 16-29$800.00
Age 30-39$700.00
Age 40-59$600.00
Age 60-64$70.00
Military Reduced Cost Permit$5.00
White River Border Lake Permit(available for residents and residents landowners)$10.00
Small Game Hunting and Fishing Permit$19.00

Non Resident Fishing Licenses

All non-residents age 16 and older must purchase either a daily or annual Missouri fishing permit. There are fewer options available than if you are a Missouri resident. For instance, you are not eligible for White River Border Lakes or Lifetime permits. However, non-residents actually pay the same fees for the Daily Fishing Permits as residents. 

License TypeCost
Daily Fishing Permit$8.00
Annual Fishing Permit$49.00

Additional Requirements Costs for Residents & Non-residents

License TypeCost
Trout Permit – Age 16 and older$10.00
Trout Permit – Youth (0-15)$5.00
Daily Trout Tag – Age 16 and older$4.00
Daily Trout Tag – Youth (0-15)$3.00

Who Can Purchase Discounted Missouri Fishing Licenses?

Certain individuals are eligible for discounted fishing licenses in Missouri. This includes seniors, veterans, disabled persons, and students. Each category has specific eligibility criteria, often requiring documentation to prove eligibility. These discounts make fishing more accessible and enjoyable for a wider range of people.

License TypeCost
Lifetime Fishing Permit (Age 60-64)$35.00
Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit (Age 60-64)$70.00
Military Reduced Cost Permit$5.00
White River Border Lake Permit(available for residents and residents landowners)$10.00
Small Game Hunting and Fishing Permit$19.00

Special Fishing Licenses in Missouri

In addition to standard fishing licenses, Missouri offers special permits for specific fishing activities. These permits are often required in addition to the general fishing license and may have specific regulations attached.

  • Group Fishing Permit – used for educational or therapeutic groups.
  • Lifetime Permit – for lifetime hunting and fishing privileges (residents only).
  • MDC Honor Permits – for military called to active duty out of state.
  • Military Reduced Cost Permit – for fishing and small game hunting.

Where Can I Buy a Missouri Fishing Licence?

You can buy your Missouri fishing permit in one of several ways:

Missouri Department of Conservation

You can obtain a fishing license in person at Missouri Department of Conservation offices across the state. These offices provide personalized assistance and information on local fishing regulations. Check the official website for a list of office locations.


Purchasing a fishing license online is a convenient option. Visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website to buy your license from the comfort of your home.


You can also buy a permit by getting the free MO Fishing App and making a purchase through it using any credit card. The app will also display the permit’s digital copy, which is aa valid as a paper permit. For additional information about the app, you can check out this link.

Walmart and other Retail Outlets

Numerous retail outlets, including Walmart, local tackle shops, and stores that sell hunting and fishing equipment, are authorized to sell fishing licenses throughout Missouri. Here’s our guide to buying your fishing license at Walmart. This widespread availability ensures easy access for anglers across the state.

If you have an account online with the Department of Conservation website, you may enroll in an auto-renewal service that will automatically renew your permit before the start of the next season or permit year.

What Happens With Missouri Fishing License Fees?

The fees collected from fishing licenses contribute to conservation efforts, habitat management, fish stocking, and education programs conducted by the Missouri Department of Conservation. These funds play a crucial role in maintaining the state’s diverse aquatic ecosystems.

Does Missouri Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

Fishing privileges concerning boundary waters shared between Missouri and an adjacent state are established through mutual agreement between the two states. Individuals are expected to be aware of the specific state they are currently fishing in and must adhere to the corresponding regulations governing the waters they are accessing.

In order to fish in the tributaries of the Mississippi, Missouri, and St. Francis rivers within Missouri’s jurisdiction, one must possess a valid fishing license issued by the state of Missouri. Fishing in the tributaries of these rivers in a state where the individual lacks proper licensing is prohibited.

To learn more about reciprocal fishing privileges in Missouri, check out this link. See below for fishing license info for neighboring states:

Does Missouri Offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

Missouri offers lifetime permits for residents, providing the convenience of fishing without the need for annual renewals. This permit carries the same privileges as the Resident Fishing Permit and the Trout Permit.

Missouri residents 65 and older are exempt from needing a fishing permit, but can purchase this as a lifetime trout permit.

License TypeCost
Lifetime Fishing License (Youth (0-15))$275.00
Lifetime Fishing License (Age 16-29)$400.00
Lifetime Fishing License (Age 30-39)$350.00
Lifetime Fishing License (Age 40-59)$300.00
Lifetime Fishing License (Age 60-64)$35.00
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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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