Fly fishing gear

Everything You Need To Start Fishing In Missouri | Characteristics

If you live in the Midwest, chances are you’ve fished once or twice. Throwing a line into the water and patiently waiting for a bite can be beneficial to both mind and body. Just spending time in nature encourages your brain to stop jumping from task to task; your breathing slows down, your muscles relax, and your heart rate slows. Everything is so – still.

And yet, the activity also conditions your body, improves hand-eye coordination, works the muscles of the hands, arms, and shoulders, and increases cardiovascular endurance if you’re lucky enough to pull a big one.

Fishing is also a staple of local tourism, especially in the Ozarks. The money paid for fishing licenses helps maintain our state parks and other conservation areas, and family-friendly campgrounds, cabins, resorts and restaurants are benefiting from the influx of visitors looking to relax with their rods at fishing for a few days. Fortunately, a magnificent variety of fish species inhabit the rivers of Missouri, so seasoned anglers and young families can enjoy the adventure.

1. Fish of the Ozarks

Native to the Ozarks, these fish make for a tasty meal:

  • Bass (striped, spotted, rock, white, smallmouth, and largemouth)
  • bluegill
  • Catfish (channel and flathead)
  • Crappie (black and white)
  • muskellunge
  • Spatula
  • Rainbow trout
  • Golden

2. Hook, line and sinker

Before heading out for the water, you’ll need to stock up on stuff.

Ben nickelson

The main event

Rod and reel. It takes time to find the right combination of rod and reel, so do your research or speak to an expert to determine the best setup based on factors like skill level and what you’re going to be fishing. For example, bait casting rods are ideal for beginners, while casting rods may require a bit more expertise. Different reels require different hand positioning, so an expert can help you choose the most natural fit for your fishing style.

Keep it together

Montauk State Park

Montauk State Park

Courtesy of Missouri State Parks

Fishing box. You won’t get far without a tackle box, which will keep your fishing accessories organized for easy access.

Monofilament fishing line. A classic for all types of fishing, the monofilament fishing line is inexpensive, easy to use and strong; Plus, it offers a generous amount of stretch, so you won’t have to break the lines left and right.

Hooks and swivels. Load your tackle box with hooks, sized for the types of fish you plan to catch. Swivels aren’t a bad idea either: if you catch fish that tend to twist the line, swivels can prevent tangles during retrieval, especially when using a monofilament.

Bobbers and sinkers. Floats and sinkers are available in a variety of styles for different uses. Vouchers are essential to your success on the water, so do your research here too.

Bait. If you are near a fishing spot I can almost guarantee you are near a bait shop. Live bait is a great choice, but artificial baits – hard plastic, soft plastic, jigs, and spinners – will also help you catch these Missouri fish. Have your bait shop operator spill the beans on their favorite picks.

After the capture

Report. A fishing net is not a strict requirement, but it will help you get your fish into the boat without a hitch. Look for one that floats so you don’t lose it in the middle of battle, and make sure it’s comfortable in your hand, so you can maneuver it with ease.

Needle nose pliers. You need it to clip onto the sinkers and safely release the caught fish from the hook.

Nail clipperss. They are great for cutting monofilament fishing line.

Silts. This line of ropes or chains is used to catch fish so that they can be submerged and kept alive in the water.

Cooler. Especially in hot weather, a cooler keeps your catch cool and cold for as long as you want to stay outside.


First aid kit. It might sound optional, but you should always bring a first aid kit for the ride because, well, accidents do happen. Store the kit with antiseptic wipes, bandages, gauze and tape, tweezers, sunscreen, and whatever else you think can protect yourself.

3. Find your Fishing Place

Lakes and rivers help define the Ozarks, while providing plenty of places to fish. Lake of the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake are renowned destinations for anglers of all skill levels – with activities such as boating, hiking, swimming, and even scuba diving also available for fishing enthusiasts – but if you look a little longer, you’ll find more quaint backdrops in state parks that take you away from the crowds and bring you closer to nature.

Bennett Spring State Park

Bennett Spring State Park

Courtesy of Missouri State Parks

Bennett Spring State Park. One of the oldest parks in Missouri, Bennett Spring is a rainbow trout’s paradise. The peaceful park is crossed by natural paths and three accessible fishing docks welcome fishermen of all levels.

Bull Shoals Lake. The rustic beauty and peaceful setting of Bull Shoals Lake attracts pragmatic anglers. Featuring a largely undeveloped shoreline and dramatic rock ledges, the lake is home to striped bass, catfish, and crappie. There are also a number of resorts in the area which provide easy access to the water.

Harry S. Truman State Park. This park is home to some of the best largemouth bass, catfish and crappie in the state. Located on a peninsula, it welcomes fishermen as well as boaters and swimmers for a relaxing vacation amidst beautiful fall foliage.

Lake Taneycomo. Lake Taneycomo is the perfect place for kids to put on waders and teach them how to cast a line. If you need to hire a boat, head to Lilley’s Landing, where you will also find fish cleaning stations. Finished trout fishing? Try another water activity like kayaking or paddle boarding.

Potato Lake

Potato Lake

Courtesy of Missouri State Parks

PomEarth Lake. Located in the Osage River basin, Lac Pomme de Terre is home to world-class muskellunge (“muskellunge”) fishing, but you will also find largemouth bass and white bass in its waters. cat, crappie and walleye. With two beaches, numerous hiking trails, picnic areas and campsites, this is a perfect place to spend a quiet weekend.

Roaring River State Park. One of only three state parks in Missouri teeming with rainbow trout, Roaring River is filled with scenic views of the Ozark Mountains. Last June, the park inaugurated a state-of-the-art fish cleaning station with several cutting tables that improve efficiency while removing fish scraps in an environmentally friendly manner.

Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch

Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch

Tessa cooper

Storeyour lake. The miles of shoreline and clear waters of Stockton Lake attract both novice and experienced anglers. Known as one of the best places to catch walleye, it’s also a great spot for bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie. Stockton State Park offers camping as well as log cabins, but we recommend that you visit Stone Creek Lodge, where you will find a nice station to clean your catch.

Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch.

Booking a stay in a private fishing camp is another way to experience an avant-garde getaway. Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch in Rockbridge, Missouri, for example, sits along beautiful, crystal-clear Spring Creek where you can fly or tackle fishing. Fishing lodges have different fishing license rules, so check with the establishment to see what you need to get before you go.

4. Allowed to relax

Stop! Do not put this bait in the water until you have a fishing license. Each fishing license helps fund Missouri’s conservation and research efforts and helps keep resources at sustainable levels. Buying a fishing license is easy; however, knowing exactly which one to buy is more difficult. A basic fishing license can be purchased from the Missouri Department of Conservation website ( or by phone (1.800.392.4115), but there are exceptions and discounts for specific groups and circumstances. Depending on the species you are looking for, there are also different licenses. You can also get a combined hunting and fishing license, and residents of Missouri even have the option of purchasing a lifetime license. Once you have your license, you must follow the rules to keep it. Everything you need to know can be found in A Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations online.

5. Smoked trout spread

In smoked fish spreads, the main ingredient should be the center of attention, without being overshadowed by too many other flavors. This smoked trout spread simply strengthens and balances the trout with fresh herbs and a hint of horseradish heat.

Smoked trout spread

This smoked trout spread simply strengthens and balances the trout with fresh herbs and a hint of horseradish heat.

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