More than 85,000 channel catfish were recently stocked in community lakes this week by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The autumn stocking of young catfish reared in MDC’s Lost Valley Hatchery gives the fish a chance to grow during winter and be ready for anglers when spring raises fishing fevers.

If you are off work and plan to go fishing as stay-at-home orders continue, you’ll need to have a fishing license.

The Missouri Conservation Commission opted not to extend a free fishing period that started March 27 and ended April 15. Beginning on April 16, anglers who take to Missouri waterways such as the Finley River or the James River will need to have permits from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Anglers enjoyed 20 days of permit-free fishing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Missouri Department of Conservation Director Sara Parker 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, including maintaining at least six feet of distance between all individuals who are not family members.

A one-year fishing permit for Missouri residents costs $12. Missourians ages 65 and older or 15 and younger may fish without a permit.

Following state and federal guidance, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is extending the temporary closures of its facilities and cancellations of its public events and programs through April 30. MDC will reassess the situation at that time.

To help protect people amid increasing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, MDC temporarily closed its regional offices, Department headquarters in Jefferson City, staffed shooting ranges, nature centers, visitor centers, and educational centers around the state to the public in March. 

Conservation areas and trails, such as Busiek State Forest in Christian County, are open. The unstaffed shooting range at Busiek is also open.

MDC also temporarily cancelled its public events and programs, including hunter education classes, nature center programs and events, shooting range programs and events, and landowner workshops.

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