Missouri Department of Conservation changes fishing rules during the COVID outbreak

LAKE OZARK, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation is lifting it's requirement for those who fish to have a permit.

"We saw it as a good opportunity to serve the citizens of Missouri," said Aaron Jeffries, Deputy Director of the MDC.

The change goes into effect Friday.

"Anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 doesn't need a permit to go fishing," Jeffries said.

Not only will you not need a permit, you also won't need a trout tag.

"It's just an opportunity for folks to get out, get away from the phone, get away from the television with everything that's going on," Jeffries added.

The relaxed rules will allow sport fishing of trout, crappie, bass, and other fish on all of the Missouri waterways - like the Osage River and Lake of the Ozarks.

"We encourage folks to get out there and go fishing," Jeffries said.

But, this isn't a fishing free for all.

"We still got to follow the length limits, the possession limits, the daily limits as well as the methods. It's important to check the regulation book, contact your agent, and make sure you're following all the rules," Jeffries said.

The MDC says it will also stop restocking trout at the trout parks throughout the state on Wednesday night to discourage large crowds from gathering.

It is also encouraging those who want to fish to follow all CDC and state guidelines on social distancing.