Fishing in Missouri

Last updated on July 17th, 2021 at 03:09 pm. Originally published on July 12th, 2021

Missouri is a great state for outdoor recreational opportunities. There are places to go hiking in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming and in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. You’ll also find natural lakes and ponds for swimming. Missouri boasts some of the best fishing. While you will need to check state regulations and to get your license, there are fantastic places to go fishing in Missouri. 

Person fly fishing in front of a riverbank covered in dense trees with a light-colored building on the bank

Fishing Spots in Missouri

Mississippi River

The Mississippi River offers many good fishing spots along the state’s eastern side. If you love the pursuit of catfish, then fish the river near Sulphur Springs as you can find blue, flathead, and channel catfish in this area. If you’re looking to catch a variety of fish, try fishing from McKinley Bridge and the Chain of Rocks Canal. In addition to catfish, white bass fishing can be superb in this area. 

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is regularly listed as one of the top places to go bass fishing in America, and you can catch large, spotted, and smallmouth bass here. Try fishing the shallower waters near Table Rock Dam in the spring, or head to the lake’s fingers in the fall. Around the lake’s docks is the ideal place to go white or black carp fishing. Heading to the area around the James River near the Highway 76 bridge and toward Galena provides you with the perfect chance to catch paddlefish from March 15 to April 30. 

Roark Creek

Roark Creek, near Branson, can be a terrific place to go fishing. North Beach Park offers easy access to this creek, and those who do not like to fish can find great shopping at Branson Landing. This is also an outstanding location to go fly fishing by wading in the water. Try this spot early in the morning on a day after rain when there is some current flowing. Use a 6-pound line and your favorite flies to fish at this location. 

Bull Shoals Lake

Lying partially in Arkansas and partly in Missouri, Bull Shoals Lake is a fantastic place to go fishing near Branson. The Theodosia arm is an excellent place to go trout fishing in the early spring as it warms up faster than the Big and Sugarloaf Creek areas. Fishing for walleye near mudflats can be great at this location. Try fishing with nightcrawlers and bottom bouncers to catch them in shallower water during the spring and deeper water during the warmer months. 

Wappapello Lake

Catch crappie, bass, and catfish on Wappapello Lake, which is fed by the St. Francis River. Crappie spawn usually occurs in March or April at this lake located within Lake Wappapello State Park near Williamsville. If you want to catch largemouth bass, then try topwater lures in the morning and at sunset. If you’re fishing on a sunny day during midday, try using a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce buzzbait with a white or chartreuse skirt and a silver blade. Use beetle-spins and jigs to catch white bass where the St. Francis River enters this lake in the spring. 

Osage River

Largemouth and smallmouth bass, paddlefish, crappie, sunfish, catfish, white bass, hybrid stripers, and walleye can be caught on the Osage River. The area near Bagnell Dam, near the city of Bagnell, is a great place to go walleye fishing with live minnows and nightcrawlers during the early spring. If there’s a lot of water entering this river, fish for bass in its pockets and small creeks. Additionally, bass fishing can also be good along the main river in the fall. If you prefer to catch stripers, catfish, and hybrid stripers, try fishing near where this river enters the Mississippi River. 

Lake Taneycomo

If you’re looking for a place to go trout fishing near Branson, consider heading to Lake Taneycomo. This area near the intersection of State Highways 165 and 265 is a great place to go trout fishing, especially if the power plant is not operating. Rainbow and German brown trout can both be caught in this location. You may also catch largemouth bass near the shore in the spring, and it can be an excellent place to go bluegill fishing. 

Lake of the Ozarks

There are over 1,500 miles of shoreline at Lake of the Ozarks, so you can easily find a place to cast your line. Consider shore fishing at Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Osage Beach or Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton. The lake’s southeast end is a great place to go crappie fishing near the docks. Try fishing the channel turns for bass in the spring using 110 and 115 stickbaits and crankbaits. Longnose gar fishing can be great on this lake even on the hottest summer days. Fish this location for white bass and hybrid stripers in the fall, especially if the wind is blowing. 

Fishing Spots in Missouri

The southern part of the state tends to offer better places for fishing Missouri than the northern half. This is especially true in the Ozarks region, but you can find excellent fishing and camping at many places in the state. Another great area is near St. Louis, where you can fish for both largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as channel catfish, redear sunfish, and many other species. 

Camping and Fishing in Missouri

When you are wondering where to fish in Missouri, a great option is the state parks. These locations often have campgrounds, along with many other activities that you may enjoy like swimming and hiking. Consider going to Bennett Spring State Park, Lake Taneycomo State Park, or Montauk State Park. Reservations at the campgrounds can be made up to 12 months in advance, and prime locations often fill up quickly. 

Before you go, read our fishing blog filled with helpful tips that you may have never known or forgotten. 

With an RV rental, your fishing trip will be a little more comfortable! After you’ve spent a long day fishing, grill your catch right at your campsite. Then, retire inside to enjoy all the comforts of home on board your RV. Plan your perfect fishing getaway with an RV rental from RVshare.

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