Exploring Missouri Fishing Regulations: Is a Fishing License Required for Kids?

Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Missouri?

The Basics: Fishing Licenses in Missouri

If you’re planning a family fishing trip in the beautiful state of Missouri, one question that may arise is whether your kids need a fishing license. Let’s delve into the details and find out!

Fishing License Requirements for Children

In Missouri, children under the age of 16 do not need to obtain a fishing license. The state recognizes that encouraging youngsters to explore this fun outdoor activity is essential for their development and appreciation of nature.

However, it’s important to note that once they turn 16, they will be required to purchase a valid fishing license if they wish to continue enjoying this recreational sport legally.

Benefits of Introducing Kids to Fishing

Fishing offers numerous benefits for children beyond mere entertainment. It teaches them patience, problem-solving skills, and respect for wildlife and conservation efforts. Moreover, spending quality time with family while engaging in an outdoor activity can create lasting memories and strengthen bonds between parents and children.

Where Can Kids Fish Without a License?

Fishing on Private Property

Children are allowed to fish without a license on private property owned by their parents or legal guardians. This exemption applies as long as the water body isn’t accessible by the general public or doesn’t require any access fees.

Parents who own land with private ponds or lakes have the perfect opportunity to introduce their young ones to this beloved pastime without worrying about licensing requirements.

It’s worth mentioning that even though no license is necessary on these private properties, all other rules related to size limits, creel limits (the number of fish caught), and other regulations still apply.

Parks with Free Fishing Programs

Missouri also provides several parks that offer free fishing programs, especially during National Fishing and Boating Week in June. These events are a fantastic way to introduce children to fishing, as they often provide loaner equipment along with guidance from experienced anglers.

Parks like Bennett Spring State Park and Roaring River State Park host these programs annually, allowing kids to fish without obtaining a license while receiving valuable education about angling practices and conservation efforts.

When Do Kids Need Fishing Licenses?

Reaching the Age of 16

Once your child reaches their 16th birthday, they will need to purchase a Missouri fishing license if they wish to continue enjoying this recreational activity legally. This is an important milestone where they transition from being exempted due to age into becoming responsible anglers within the state’s regulations.

However, it’s crucial not only for legal reasons but also for instilling respect for wildlife and environmental stewardship that parents continue guiding their young ones even after they obtain their licenses.

Fishing License Options for Children in Missouri

Youth Permit

For kids aged 15 years or younger who have outgrown their exemption, Missouri offers an affordable Youth Permit. This permit allows them to fish independently without requiring adult supervision while adhering to all rules and regulations set forth by the Department of Conservation.

The Youth Permit serves as an excellent introduction before transitioning into regular adult licensing requirements once reaching the age of 16.

Disabled Child Fishing Permit

Missouri recognizes that every child should have access to nature’s wonders regardless of physical limitations. Therefore, children with disabilities can apply for a Disabled Child Fishing Permit at no cost. This permit enables them to enjoy fishing throughout their lives without any licensing fees hindering their ability to connect with nature fully.

Whether it be through conventional angling methods or adaptive techniques designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, this permit ensures equal opportunities for all children to experience the joys of fishing in Missouri.


In summary, kids under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license in Missouri. The state encourages children to explore and appreciate nature through this recreational activity without any additional costs or bureaucratic hurdles.

Parents can take advantage of private properties they own or participate in free fishing programs at designated parks to introduce their kids to fishing adventures. Once children turn 16, they will need a valid Missouri fishing license to continue enjoying this beloved pastime legally.

Remember, while licenses may become necessary as your child grows older, the focus should always be on fostering a love for nature and wildlife conservation throughout their angling journey.