Uncovering Exemptions: Who is Eligible for a Missouri Fishing License-Free Experience?

Who is Exempt from Missouri Fishing License?


Fishing in the beautiful state of Missouri is a popular pastime for both residents and visitors. However, before you cast your line into one of its many lakes or rivers, it’s important to understand whether you need a fishing license. Fortunately, there are specific exemptions that allow certain individuals to fish without obtaining a license. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into who is exempt from needing a Missouri fishing license.

Resident Exemptions

Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel

Missouri honors and appreciates those who have served or are currently serving in the military by providing them with an exemption from the fishing license requirement. Both veterans and active duty military personnel can enjoy recreational fishing without purchasing a separate license.

Disabled Individuals

People with disabilities often find solace in nature, including fishing as an enjoyable outdoor activity. To support accessibility for disabled individuals, Missouri exempts those who possess valid disability permits issued by the Department of Revenue from obtaining a fishing license.

Aged 65 years or Older

In recognition of their contributions throughout life, senior citizens aged 65 years or older benefit from another exemption when it comes to acquiring a fishing license in Missouri. This age-based exemption enables these individuals to fully engage in recreational angling without any additional costs.

Non-Resident Exemptions

While non-residents typically require licenses for fishing activities within Missouri’s borders, certain groups are entitled to exceptions:

Kids under 16 Years Old

Children under the age of 16 visiting or residing temporarily in Missouri do not need to purchase a non-resident fishing permit while casting their lines in its waters. This exception ensures young anglers can freely enjoy the fishing experience during their time in the state.

Missouri Landowners

If you are a non-resident who owns land within Missouri, you may fish on any waters directly connected to your property without obtaining a non-resident license. This exemption applies as long as the land is owned solely or jointly by someone from out of state and not primarily for commercial purposes.

Additional Information

While these exemptions cater to specific groups of individuals, it’s essential to note that they do not grant permission for commercial fishing activities. Anyone engaged in commercial fishing, regardless of residency or qualification under other exemptions, must obtain applicable licenses and permits.

It’s also worth mentioning that although exempt individuals need not purchase a fishing license, they still need to adhere to all relevant regulations regarding catch limits, size restrictions, and other conservation measures put in place by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).


Knowing who is exempt from needing a Missouri fishing license ensures that everyone gets an opportunity to indulge in this popular recreational activity. Whether you’re a veteran, disabled individual, senior citizen aged 65 years or older, child under 16 years old visiting Missouri temporarily, or a non-resident landowner within the state boundaries – take advantage of these exemptions while following MDC guidelines for responsible angling practices. Enjoy your time on the water and happy fishing!