Missouri has more than a million acres of waterways, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants the public to discover a few during its Free Fishing Days. On June 6-7, anyone may fish in Missouri without a fishing permit, trout permit, or trout park daily tag.
To find the best public fishing holes near you, download the free “Find MO Fish” mobile app. It includes annual fishing prospects, weekly fishing reports, geo-location to find fish-attractor spots, regulations for specific fish species and locations and detailed information on various fish species. Learn more and download Find MO Fish at mdc.mo.gov/node/15421.
What local fish are safe to eat? Ideally, those who fish from local waterways would be able to safely eat their catch. In Kansas and Missouri, that is not always realistic due to high levels of contaminants in the waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends avoiding the bottom feeders such as carp, catfish, buffalo and sturgeon. These fish tend to have a high chemical makeup that they consume from the mud on the bottom of lakes, rivers and streams. The EPA Mercury Advisory recommends consuming no more than eight to 12 ounces of locally caught fish per week. Mercury is introduced to the water via aquatic plants that absorb the emissions from coal-burning power plants and other CO2 emitters. For specific fish consumptions guidelines, see the EPA Fish Consumption Advisories.
For information on Missouri fishing regulations, permit requirements, fish identification, and more, get a copy of MDC’s 2015 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations where permits are sold, at MDC offices and nature centers, and online at mdc.mo.gov/node/6108.