Unveiling the Exciting World of Bowfishing Catfish in Missouri: A Must-Read Guide

Can You Bowfish Catfish in Missouri?


Bowfishing has gained popularity as an exciting and unique way to fish. Missouri, known for its abundant catfish population, is a popular destination for anglers. However, before grabbing your bow and arrow, it’s important to understand the regulations surrounding bowfishing catfish in the state. In this blog post, we’ll dive into whether you can bowfish catfish in Missouri and provide valuable information on the subject.

The Legality of Bowfishing Catfish in Missouri

Missouri allows bowfishing for various species but strictly prohibits targeting game fish such as catfish with archery equipment. Therefore, it is illegal to specifically target or shoot catfish using a bow and arrow in the state of Missouri.

Bowfishing Regulations in Missouri

While targeting catfish through bowfishing is not permitted, there are still plenty of other legal options available for those who enjoy this thrilling sport.

1. Legal Species: In addition to certain non-game fish like common carp and suckers that you can legally take while bowfishing, there are numerous other species open for harvest including buffalo fish and drum.

2. Method Restrictions: When participating in this activity within the state boundaries of Missouri, it is essential to adhere to specific guidelines set by authorities:

a) Use Appropriate Equipment:

Ensure that your gear complies with all regulations regarding bows used for fishing purposes.

b) Proper Licensing:

Acquire any necessary hunting or fishing licenses required by law.

c) Observe Seasonal Restrictions:

Be aware of any restrictions on dates when certain areas may be off-limits or specific species cannot be targeted.

d) Respect Property Rights:

Obtain permission from landowners before bowfishing on private property.

The Benefits of Bowfishing in Missouri

Even though catfish cannot be targeted directly, bowfishing still offers many benefits and unique experiences for anglers in Missouri.

1. Thrilling Sport: Bowfishing provides an exhilarating experience as you search for various species lurking beneath the water’s surface. The excitement of stalking your prey with a bow is unmatched!

2. Conservation Efforts: By targeting invasive non-game fish like common carp, which can negatively impact native species and their habitats, you contribute to conservation efforts while enjoying the sport.

3. Delicious Bounty: While catfish may not be on the table, buffalo fish and drum are both tasty alternatives that can make a delicious meal after a successful day of bowfishing.


Although it’s illegal to specifically target catfish through bowfishing in Missouri due to regulations aimed at preserving game fish populations, there are still plenty of exciting opportunities available within the state’s laws. Remember to abide by all rules and regulations set forth by authorities when participating in this thrilling sport and respect the environment while enjoying all that Missouri has to offer for bowfishermen of any skill level!