Best Fishing In Missouri – 10 Spots You Can’t Miss

If you’re looking for a relaxing sport that lets you take in nature away from the city or people, fishing is your best option! Missouri is a state that has made its way on to the bucket list of anglers across the United States for its endless rivers and lakes teeming with fish! The best thing about the lakes and rivers in Missouri is most are accessible by boat but all of them have endless shoreline to fish or cast from land.

One of the best things about fishing in Missouri is the huge variety of fish you can catch from large and smallmouth bass, Trout, flahead catfish, bluegill, Walleye, Crappie and tons more! It offers a variety of options for beginner fisherman to expert anglers, and the dense wooded forests give you the feeling of pure isolation! We’ve broken down the details on all the best rivers and lakes to fish in Missouri, and also the best cities to stay in to launch your fishing campaign from!

If you want to know some of the best places to fish in Missouri, then read our guide below!

Picture of man fishing in Missouri

In order to legally fish in Missouri, everyone under the age of 65 will require a fishing license, including youth! These can be anything from daily passes or even lifetime if you’re a resident or fish in Missouri frequently.

Image of Lake of the Ozarks
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks is a massive lake located in the central port of Missouri which has an endless amount of shoreline to fish from. The primary rivers that flow to the Lake of the Ozarks are the Niangua river, Osage River and Grandglaize Creek. The lake shares its boundaries with Benton, Camden, Miller and Morgan Counties in Missouri.

June is considered to be the best fishing month for the Lake of the Ozarks and anglers love fishing here because of the wide variety of Bass and excellent fishing amenities. Ice and fly fishing are also hugely popular at the Lake of the Ozarks. This is truly a must visit spot when fishing in Missouri and it takes our vote for number one place to fish!

Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Tips

  • The big fish in the summers have been caught on spinnerbaits. Talking about worms and jigs in winter and spring, they are caught on the Alabama rig and creature baits.
  • Crank Bait is considered to be the best technique for locating and catching fish in this particular lake.

Types of Fish in Lake of the Ozarks

Spoonbil, Gizzard Shad, Flathead Catfish, White Crappie, Walleye, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass

2. Table Rock Lake

image of table rock lake fishing

Situated in Northwestern Arkansas and Southwestern Missouri, Table Rock Lake is a popular destination among anglers from all over the world. The three primary rivers that flow into this reservoir are the White River, James River, and Kings River. 

If you’re planning to fish in Missouri, this stunning lake definitely has to be taken into consideration! Table Rock Lake has made it to the list of tourists as well as anglers for its extraordinary fishing, swimming, hiking, scuba dive, picnic area, amphitheater, and biking.

Late May and early June have been reviewed to be the best months for fishing. Serious fisherman love it here because of the location of the calmness of Table Rock Lake and abundant species of fish found even in the shallowest regions of the lake. 

Table Rock Lake Fishing Tips

  • March and May are reviewed to be the best months for the catching and of three types of Bass (Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass). Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are the two popular fishing techniques for Table Rock Lake.

Types of Fish in Grand Lake

Green sunfish, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, White Bass, Longear sunfish, Flathead Catfish, Spotted Bass

3. Truman Lake

image of Truman Lake Fishing

Truman lake is a key Missouri fishing location for its easy boat accessibility and stunning views on the lake! Truman Lake gets its primary inflow from the Osage River. Located between Clinton and Warsaw, Truman extends itself to the south of Osceola.

Summer and Winter both seasons offer excellent fishing conditions in Truman Lake, making it one of the most visited lakes by anglers in Missouri as well as tourists.

Ice, as well as Fly fishing, are both done in huge popularity on this lake. Its perfect for families as there are tons of activities to do while you’re on the water landing Crappies!

Truman Lake Fishing Tips

  • Fall is said to be the time of transition where fish start moving from summer to winter patterns. You can have Crappie in the open water of Truman Lake.
  • CrankBaits are the most popular fishing lure and have found great success especially if you’re fishing for Bass

Types of Fish in Truman Lake

Walleye, Striped Bass, White Bass, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Black Bass

4. Smithville Lake

image of fishing in smithville lake

Let’s find out about another lake in Missouri called Smithville Lake, located on the Little Platte branch in Clay county. It covers an area of 5000 acres and offers plenty of opportunities for some of the best fishing in Missouri. This lake is a tourist attraction for people all around America for its beautiful scenery and landscape and not to forget, great fishing quality.

In Smithville lake, summers are mostly hot and can be unpleasantly humid. The winters are cold, dry, and windy but offer up the perfect chance for ice fishing. From May to September, anglers flock to Smithville Lake to satisfy their fishing itch. These are considered to be the best fishing months at this Lake, with February coming in as the top winter month for ice fishing!

Fly fishing in Missouri wouldn’t be quite complete without wading in for a few casts in the shallower parts of Smithville Lake. There are some great opportunities to catch White Bass in some areas along the shore, and Smithville Lake is a perfect spot for beginner fly fisherman!

Smithville Lake Fishing Tips

  • The use of shallow crankbaits works perfectly for fishing in Smithville Lake.
  • Summers are reviewed to be the best fishing months in this particular lake.

Types of Fish in Smithville Lake

Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, White Bass, Tiger Muskellunge

5.Bennett Springs State Park

image of bennett springs park

Bennett Springs park covers an area of 3216 acres and has made its way onto the bucket list of tourists visiting Missouri and anglers from all over the United States. It not only provides facilities for fishing but also for swimming, hiking, and camping. This is one of the best recreational parks to bring the family for a day or weekend trip, and get some high quality fishing in!

Fly fishing is definitely the most popular thing to do at this lake, and with the huge variety of species it can be a challenge! It requires some thinking about lures to use and which fish you’re trying to land, but it’s an awesome experience!

Bennett Springs Fishing Tips

  • The use of game fish for bait is prohibited in Bennett Spring State Park; however, chumming is not forbidden.
  • Summer is reviewed to be the best fishing month in this particular area; hence, get your tickets accordingly.

Types of Fish in Bennett Springs

Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Black Bullhead, Redfin Shiner, Creek Chub, Ozark Minnow, Bluegill, Longear Sunfish

6. Lake Taneycomo

image of Lake Tanneycomo Fishing

It is a man-made reservoir just off the White River that snakes through the Ozark Mountains. Because of the cold water, Lake Taneycomo is considered to be the best trout fishing lake in all lakes in America, and definitely the best in Missouri. It offers not only fishing but also great amenities for boating, swimming, skiing, sunning, sightseeing, hunting, shopping, and several restaurants for all travelers. So, if you’re looking to get some epic fishing in Missouri with the family, this is definitely a can’t miss spot!

January and February are reviewed to be the best fishing months in this particular lake, mainly because of the prolific ice fishing but also the spectacular mountain views you get! This is one of the top lakes in Missouri for fishing trout, and fly fisherman will have a blast here.

Lake Taneycomo Fishing Tips

  • Lake Taneycomo is known around the globe for its Trout. Rainbow and Brown Trout can be caught on spinning tackle and micro jigs. These jigs range from 1/100 to 1/8 ounce in weight.
  • Winters are said to be the best time to fish in this particular lake.

Types of Fish in Lake Taneycomo

Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, German Trout, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout

7. Roubidoux Creek

image of roubidoux creek

Situated in the Ozarks of south-central Missouri, Roubidoux Creek is a tributary to Gasconade River. It covers an area of 57.4 miles. Due to its cold water, it is one of the popular Trout fishing streams in Missouri! Fly fishing in Roubidoux Creek attracts visitors from all over to try their luck for some big game trout! 

One of the coolest things about Roubidoux Creek is that the water flows out of a submerged cave system which is super popular for diving!

This is a perfect creek to fish with young kids that are just learning as it flows quite slowly and access to a good spot on the shore is easy to find.

Rubidoux Creek Fishing Tips

  • Jugg fishing and gigging are two of the best fishing techniques practiced here throughout the year.
  • Late Winter and early Spring are officially known as the fishing seasons in this lake.

Types of Fish in Lake Taneycomo

Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Trout, Rock Bass

8. Current River

image of current river fishing

Located in the southeastern portion of Ozarks, Current River is 184 miles long and ends in northeastern Arkansas where it becomes the tributary of Black River. Fishing current river is especially favorable in the summer, with a huge variety of fish to catch and tons of easily accessible shoreline!

May till June is said to be the best fishing months in Current River, but July and August offer up some of the best weather and solid fishing as well! 

Anglers love to fish Current River because of its teeming bass and trout populations, two extremely fun fish to catch. 

Current River Fishing Tips

  • Keeping in view the type of fish in Current River, Live Bait is responsible for catching fish here. Live bait includes nightcrawlers and leeches.
  • Late Spring and Early Summer are evaluated to be the best fishing seasons in this lake.

Types of Fish in Current River

Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Trout

9. Eleven Point River

image of Eleven point River Fishing

Located in the northern Arkansas and the south part of Missouri, Eleven Point River gets its primary inflow from Willow Springs. It is 138 miles in length and is popular among travelers of all sorts for some of the best fishing in Missouri. It offers excellent fishing opportunities to all the anglers out there with plentiful numbers for Bass and Walleye.

As the weather conditions are also crucial before planning a visit as Eleven Point River is hot and muggy in summers, and the winters are freezing here. The best times to fish are definitely in the summer, as the river also is a perfect spot for swimming after landing your limit

The shoreline access along Eleven Point river is ideal for fishing, with tons of locations so you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with other anglers. Its also a great spot for beginner fly fisherman, as the water is relatively calm and offers a great opportunity to hone your skills. 

Eleven Point River Fishing Tips

  • Live Baits are mostly used in Eleven Point River for exhibiting the perfect fishing adventure. Soft plastic lures, Hard lures, grasshoppers cheese are all utilized for chumming.
  • Starting from October till March, Eleven Point River offers great fishing months.

Types of Fish in Eleven Point River

Chain Pickerel, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Rock Bass, Longear Sunfish

10. Roaring River State Park

image of roaring river park fishing

Roaring River State Park is a recreational park in Missouri situated about 8 miles south of Cassville in Barry County. Roaring River offers excellent trout fishing and competes with some of the other top rivers in Missouri for fishing on this list. It also offers great scenary for hiking, so if you want to take a detour you will surely find some spectacular views on your way to a secluded fishing spot on the Roaring River. 

The summer is the best time for fishing here, as the trout tend to bite aggressively and you’ll have a hard time keeping them off your hook! Fly fishing is the most popular way to fish here, with tons of calm pools and currents to navigate and land some trout!

Roaring River Fishing Tips

  • Live Baits are mostly used in Eleven Point River for exhibiting the perfect fishing adventure. Soft plastic lures, Hard lures, grasshoppers cheese are all utilized for chumming.
  • Starting from October till March, Eleven Point River offers great fishing months.

Types of Fish in Roaring River

Chain Pickerel, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Rock Bass, Longear Sunfish

Wrapping up the Best Fishing in Missouri

If you’re looking to plan an unforgettable fishing trip with the family or a group of friends, Missouri is a hugely underrated state and offers some of the best lakes and rivers for fishing in the country. After reading this article, you shouldn’t wait any longer if you’re looking to catch a big brown trout or Smallmouth bass as your next meal. Missouri doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fishing, with an endless amount of stunning rivers and lakes to dip your hook into!

If you have any comments or thoughts on other locations that shout be included on this list, feel free to drop us a comment below!