Spearfishing in Missouri is limited to only those fish species designated as 'nongame'. There is a year-round season on these fish from surise to sunset with a daily limit of 50; with goldfish and several species of carp having no daily limit. Fishing can take place on impounded waters and temporary overflow of a river or ditch.
These fish are illegal to spearfish at any time in Missouri: Goggle-eye
(commonly known as Ozark bass, rock bass, and shadow bass), warmouth,
northern pike, muskellunge, tiger muskie, muskiepike hybrid, chain pickerel,
grass pickerel, all species of catfish except bullheads, all species of black bass
(largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted), paddlefish (spoonbill), all species of
crappie, white bass, yellow bass, and striped bass, trout, walleye, sauger, and
Nongame fish include bluegill, green sunfish, carp, carpsuckers, suckers, buffalo,drum, gar, and all other species other than those defined as game fish or listed as endangered. All species other than those listed as endangered or defined as game fish. Nongame fish are referred to as “other fish” in the Wildlife Code.
Spearfishing is defined as taking fish with a spear-like apparatus (such as a speargun or Hawaiian sling) while the user is under the surface of the water.
Spearfishing is allowed on Beaver Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Lake Catherine, Lake Conway, DeGray Lake, Lake Erling, Greers Ferry Lake, Lake Greeson, Lake Hamilton, Harris Brake Lake, Millwood Lake, Nimrod Lake, Norfork Lake, Lake Ouachita, Table Rock Lake and impoundments created by the locks and dams on the Arkansas River.
Spearfishing for largemouth, spotted or smallmouth bass is not allowed in Beaver Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Millwood Lake, Norfork Lake and Table Rock Lake.
Spearfishing for smallmouth bass is not allowed on Lake Ouachita.
Spearfishing for sport fish is allowed June 15-March 15, from sunrise to sunset.
Spearfishing for flathead catfish is allowed July 15-March 15.
Rough fish may be taken by spearfishing all year.
On Gillham Lake, Dierks Lake and DeQueen Lake, catfish, gar, bowfin, common carp, Asian carp, (grass carp, bighead carp and silver carp), suckers (including buffalo) and drum may be taken from June 15-March 15, sunrise to sunset. Flathead catfish may be taken from July 15-March 15.
The spearfishing limit is half the hook-and-line daily limit for the water being fished (or the lesser whole number nearest one-half when the limit is an odd number).
Spearfishers must abide by length and slot limits and may not have a spear gun in public waters other than those specified above.
Spearfishermen must display a standard diver’s flag and spearfish no more than 100 yards from it. The flag must be at least 12 inches square and at least 12 inches above the water.
Spearfishermen must complete spearfishing activities and leave the body of water where fish were taken before cleaning or dressing fish.
Reciprocal Fishing Licenses
The White River system reservoirs of Table Rock, Bull Shoals and Norfork are nationally-known for their high-quality fishing and incomparable beauty. Missouri and Arkansas recognize the sport fishing and resident commercial fishing licenses of the two states on the flowing waters of the St. Francis River that form a common boundary between the two states. A sport-fishing licensee or legally exempt resident of either state abides by the regulations of the state issuing the license. The agreement does not apply to tributaries, bayous and backwaters of the St. Francis River.
A White River Border Lakes License (WRL) is available for a $10 annual fee. This license allows holders of a valid resident license from either state to fish all waters of Bull Shoals, Norfork and Table Rock lakes without a fishing license from the other state. The permit is valid for impounded waters (the waters between Beaver Lake Dam and Houseman Access in Arkansas are excluded). Trout may not be taken with this license. Anglers younger than 16 do not need to buy this license to fish in Missouri waters. Anglers are required to abide by the fishing regulations of the state where they are fishing. The only differences in regulations are:
On Table Rock Lake, spotted bass must be at least 12 inches long to keep (Arkansas) or at least 15 inches long to keep (Missouri).
On Lake Norfork, anglers may take up to three stripers and hybrids and 25 white bass of any size per day in Arkansas, except for striped bass, which must be over 20 inches. In Missouri, anglers may take up to 15 stripers, hybrids, white and yellow bass, only four of which may exceed 18 inches long.
Spearfishing is essentially bow-hunting underwater, and it is an absolute blast. There are basically two schools of spearfishing; free-diving (breath-hold) and scuba diving. There are different guns, styles and techniques used in each. And lucky for us, the lakes of the White River chain are some of the best freshwater lakes in the United States to enjoy spearfishing. We stock pneumatic & banded guns from OMER and JBL as well as Hawaiian Slings, pole spears and accessories.
We practice and teach ethical spearing practices in our shop and on our boat, and we are intolerant of anything less in the water. As we see ourselves as stewards of the marine environment. An ethical spearfisherman has a near zero by-catch, whereas a traditional angler will accidentally catch some undersize or undesirable species that have to be thrown back; which causes unnecessary shock and stress introduced to their systems. This is unavoidable in hook and line fishing but easily avoided while spearfishing.
We take several trips a year down to Bull Shoals Lake at the opening of Walleye in June and then at the opening of Flathead Catfish in July. If you’d like to get into any aspect of underwater hunting we would like to teach you the tricks and ethics of spearfishing “the right way.”
5325 State HWY 165
Also available by appt. after business hours
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