"Gone fishing" signs will be posted on doors across the state June 11 and 12 as Missourians enjoy a favorite outdoor pastime at no cost. Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) designates the weekend after the first Monday in June as Free Fishing Days in Missouri. The idea is to encourage people to explore the state's fishing opportunities without having to purchase permits, trout stamps or trout park daily tags.
Fishing is a pastime suitable for all ages. Free Fishing Days encourages experienced anglers to practice a favorite hobby and lures new anglers to try something that could catch them hook, line and sinker. With more than 300 conservation-area fishing lakes or ponds, these opportunities are in no shortage. Missouri waters hold more than 200 fish species. Anglers target 40 of these as game fish, including crappie, catfish, walleye, muskie, goggle-eye and bass.
Normal fishing regulations, such as limits on size and number of fish, remain in effect during Free Fishing Days. Regulations are outlined in the 2011 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, which is available wherever fishing permits are sold, or online at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/11414. Special permits may still be required at county, city and private fishing areas. Free Fishing Days exempts anglers from permit and tag fees only, not parking or other park fees.
Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many offer disabled-accessible facilities. For more information about places to fish, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/node/2478 or contact the nearest MDC office.