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Great Fishing In Missouri

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Guide to fishing in the Show Me State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Big Lake, MO
  • Blue Springs Lake, MO
  • Bull Shoals Lake
  • Clearwater Lake, MO
  • Council Bluff Lake, MO
  • Fellows Lake, MO
  • Forest Lake, MO
  • Hazel Creek Lake
  • Lake Jacomo
  • Lake of the Ozarks
  • Lake Springfield, MO
  • Lake Taneycomo, MO
  • Lake Wappapello, MO
  • Long Branch Lake
  • Longview Lake, MO
  • Mark Twain Lake, MO
  • McDaniel Lake, MO
  • Montrose Lake, MO
  • Mozingo Lake
  • Pomme De Terre Lake
  • Smithville Reservoir
  • Stockton Lake
  • Table Rock Lake
  • Thomas Hill Reservoir, MO
  • Truman Reservoir

Missouri is a paradise for anglers, offering a wide variety of fish species and diverse fishing opportunities. From warm water fisheries to cold water fisheries, as well as ponds, lakes, and rivers, the state has something to cater to every angler's preferences. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.

Warm water fisheries in Missouri are known for their abundance of popular species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and sunfish. Lakes and reservoirs like Table Rock Lake, Lake of the Ozarks, and Truman Lake provide exceptional warm water fishing experiences. Anglers can spend their days casting for bass, targeting crappie near submerged structures, or pursuing catfish in the deep waters. The warm water fisheries offer a perfect setting for anglers seeking action-packed days on the water.

Cold water fisheries in Missouri are ideal for anglers seeking trout and other cold water species. Lake Taneycomo, for example, is renowned for its thriving trout population and offers year-round trout fishing opportunities. These fisheries are stocked with trout, which thrive in the cooler waters. Anglers can enjoy the peaceful serenity of casting a fly or using bait to entice these prized fish. The cold water fisheries provide a unique angling experience and are particularly attractive during the spring and fall seasons.

Missouri's ponds, both natural and man-made, are another enticing fishing option. These smaller bodies of water often hold various species such as bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish. Anglers can enjoy the tranquility of fishing in more intimate settings and often find success in catching a variety of fish. Ponds offer opportunities for beginners and seasoned anglers alike to hone their skills and enjoy a day of fishing close to home.

Additionally, Missouri's rivers provide endless fishing possibilities. Whether it's casting for bass along the banks, targeting catfish in the deep holes, or pursuing trout in scenic streams, the rivers of Missouri offer a diverse range of fishing experiences. The state's major rivers, including the Mississippi River and the Missouri River, are home to various species and provide anglers with the chance to explore new fishing grounds.

Whether you prefer the excitement of warm water fishing, the tranquility of cold water fishing, the intimacy of pond fishing, or the adventure of river fishing, Missouri has it all. The state's diverse fishing opportunities and variety of species make it a top destination for anglers from near and far. Just remember to check local regulations, obtain the necessary fishing permits, and practice responsible fishing practices to ensure the preservation of Missouri's fisheries for future generations to enjoy.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Missouri

The state of Missouri offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brown trout, bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, white bass, yellow perch, stripers, bowfin, chain pickerel, longnose gar, muskie, northern pike, paddlefish, sauger, spotted gar and tiger muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams. Many of these lakes have marinas offering a wide variety of supplies, services and fishing boat rentals.

Major Missouri Lakes & Species

Missouri major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the impoundments.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in MO, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Atkinson Lake is a 450-acre lake in the west-central part of the state at Schell City.

Bean Lake is a 400-acre oxbow in the northwest part of the state, 5 miles southeast of Atchison.

Big Lake is a 646-acre oxbow lake in the northwest part of MO, at Fortescue.

Blue Springs Lake is a 720 acre lake located in the west-central part of the state, just south of Independence.

Bull Shoals Lake is a 71,000-acre lake on the Missouri-Arkansas border, South of Sundown.

Clearwater Lake is 1,630-acre lake in the southeast corner of the state, 4 miles west of Piedmont.

Council Bluff Lake is a 444-acre lake in the southeast part of MO, 15 miles west of Belleview.

Fellows Lake is an 860-acre lake in the southwest corner of the state, 15 miles northeast of Springfield.

Forest Lake is a 570-acre lake in the northeast corner of the state, 2 miles west of Kirksville.

Hazel Creek Lake is a 530-acre lake, in the northern part of the state, 5 miles north of Kirksville.

Lake Jacomo is a 970-acre freshwater reservoir in the northwest part of the state, 5 miles north of Lee's Summit.

Lake of The Ozarks is a 57,000-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Lake Ozark.

Lake Springfield is a 318-acre lake in the southwest corner of the state, on the southern outskirts of Springfield.

Lake Taneycomo is approximately 2,000 surface acres, located in southwest MO at Forsythe.

Lake Wappapello is an 8,400-acre lake in the southeast of the state, at Wappapello.

Long Branch Lake is a 2,400-acre lake in northeast Missouri, at Macon.

Longview Lake is a 930-acre freshwater reservoir in central MO, on the southern outskirts of Kansas City.

Mark Twain Lake is an 18,000-acre lake in the northeast corner of the state, at Stoutsville.

McDaniel Lake is a 300-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, 10 miles north of Springfield.

Montrose Lake is a 1,500-acre lake in the west-central part of MO, 2 miles north of Montrose.

Mozingo Lake is a 1,000-acre lake, in the northwest corner of the state, 5 miles east of Maryville.

Pomme de Terre Lake is a 7,800-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, 2 miles south of Hermitage.

Smithville Reservoir is a 7,200-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, at Smithville.

Stockton Lake is a 25,000-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Stockton.

Table Rock Lake is a 43,000-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Kimberly City.

Thomas Hill Reservoir is a 4,500-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 8 miles north of Clifton Hill.

Truman Reservoir is a 55,600-acre reservoir in the southwest section of the state, at Warsaw.

Fish Species & State Records in Missouri


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 13 lbs 14 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 2 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 8 oz


Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 34 lbs 10 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 77 lbs 8 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 130 lbs 0 oz


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 9 oz




World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 21 lbs 1 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 1 oz


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 18 lbs 1 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 40 lbs 6 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 0 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 2 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

State Record: 2 lbs 3 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 7 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 4 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 6 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 3 oz

Striped bass

Striped Bass


Inland world record: 64 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 65 lbs 2 oz

Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid Striped Bass

World record: 27 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 21 lbs 11 oz

Other species



World record: 21 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 19 lbs 0 oz

Chain Pickerel

Chain pickerel

World record: 9 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 1 oz

Longnose Gar

Longnose gar

World record: 50 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 27 lbs 0 oz


Muskie (Muskellunge)

World record: 69 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 41 lbs 2 oz

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

State Record: 18 lbs 9 oz



World record: 144 lbs

State Record: 140 lbs 9 oz

Spotted Gar

Spotted gar

World record: 9 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 2 oz

Tiger Muskie

Tiger muskie

World record: 51 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 22 lbs 0 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

View of Table Rock Lake In Missouri

The Missouri Department of Conservation website also offers a great deal of information about fishing in Missouri.

Click here to obtain a Missouri fishing license.

Bass fishing book

Fish for big bass

Excellent largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.


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