Editor's note: Wednesday, April 15 is the last day you can fish without a permit in Missouri. Beginning April 16, anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 will need to obtain a fishing license before they can legally fish on Missouri lakes, rivers and streams.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Conservation Commission announce they are temporarily waiving permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags for Missourians whose fishing privileges are not otherwise suspended.
That means Christian County residents can head to the Finley River, the James River or any other body of water in Missouri and fish without a license.
The waiver of needing a permit or trout tag to fish will run from Friday, March 27, through April 15. All season dates and limits will continue to apply and be enforced.
“The current public-health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has many Missourians and others looking for safe ways to get outside in nature,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “Missouri’s rivers and streams offer high quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations. Fishing is also a great way to get some much needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time.”
Missouri has more than a million acres of surface water with most of it providing great fishing opportunities.
More than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri, with more than 20 of them being game fish for the state's more than 1.1 million anglers. Get more info on Missouri fishing at http://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing.
Pauley added that it is still critical for everyone to continue to heed all recommendations for hand washing, social distancing, and other public-health measures while fishing, and during other outdoor activities. Anglers are asked to maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and all individuals who are not family members.
Missouri state parks remain open. However, in reaction to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will temporarily close all campgrounds and lodging at state parks effective Friday, March 27, through Thursday, April 30. This includes campgrounds, park-run lodging and concessionaire-run lodging.
That means Busiek State Forest in Christian County is open to hiking, but overnight camping will not be allowed.
While they are not able to accommodate overnight guests, the parks remain open to the public for day-use, including boat ramps and more than 1,100 miles of trails.
“We are taking these measures now to reduce the impact of COVID-19,” said Missouri State Parks Director Mike Sutherland. “The outdoors provide a great opportunity to relax and destress. Even outdoors, it is important to practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wash your hands often.”