Best Walleye Fishing in Missouri: Uncover the Top Spots for a Memorable Experience

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Missouri offers some of the best walleye fishing opportunities in the country, with a wide variety of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs catering to anglers looking for an unforgettable experience. The state has taken significant steps to stock walleye across numerous locations, making it an exciting destination for pros and beginners. As you prepare to embark on your walleye fishing adventure in Missouri, it’s essential to understand the popular fishing spots, the best times to fish, and some helpful tips and techniques.

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Understanding the walleye population in Missouri is crucial to planning your fishing trips effectively. The Missouri Department of Conservation has been diligently stocking walleye in lakes and reservoirs with optimal conditions for their growth. As a result, Missouri has developed an impressive walleye fishery, with several thriving locations providing excellent opportunities for anglers to cast their lines.

Fishing for walleye in Missouri can be a fulfilling experience, but it requires knowledge of the best techniques, lures, and baits to increase your chances of success. You’ll also need to be aware of the state’s safety and regulations surrounding walleye fishing. Missouri is home to other game fish species that can create a well-rounded and diverse fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels.

Key Takeaways

  • Missouri offers excellent walleye fishing opportunities in stocked lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.
  • Anglers must be familiar with the state’s popular fishing spots, the best times to fish, and effective techniques.
  • Understanding local regulations, safety measures, and Missouri’s diverse game fish population enhances the overall experience for anglers.

Understanding Walleye in Missouri

When fishing for walleye in Missouri, it’s important to know that these game fish are well-regulated to help maintain their populations. Unlike some other states, Missouri has specific length limits and regulations for walleye fishing. Let’s dive into the details to make your next fishing trip more successful and enjoyable.

First of all, walleye makes for an exciting catch. Known for their incredible fight and delicious taste, they have become a sought-after species among anglers. Missouri offers a variety of walleye fishing opportunities, including lakes and rivers worth exploring.

Missouri has regulations in place to help protect the walleye population. The state enforces daily and length limits on these game fish. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, during the walleye and sauger fishing season, which runs from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, you can only take and possess walleye and sauger between ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset. This restriction applies to all streams except the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

The length limit for walleye in Missouri depends on the water body you’re fishing in. Some lakes and rivers require a minimum size of 15 inches, while others have a different size limit. Make sure to check local regulations before heading out on your fishing trip.

To catch walleye, timing can be crucial. The best times to fish for this game fish are typically early morning and late evening. Walleye tend to move closer to shore during these hours, making it easier for anglers to find and catch them. Using the right bait and lures is also essential. Your success may depend on experimenting with various live baits, jigs, and crankbaits to determine what works in a specific location.

Keep in mind that catching walleye might require patience and persistence. These fish are known for their skittish nature and can sometimes be challenging to hook. But with the right knowledge, tactics, and a positive attitude, your efforts to conquer the walleye world in Missouri will be rewarding and memorable. Happy fishing!

Popular Walleye Fishing Locations in Missouri

Missouri has many fantastic spots for walleye fishing enthusiasts! In this section, you’ll get an overview of some of the best lakes, rivers, and reservoirs to cast your line and reel in a satisfying catch.

One of Missouri’s best locations for walleye fishing is the Lake of the Ozarks. This popular destination offers a wide variety of fish species, including walleye. Thanks to the efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation stocking program, the lake is teeming with exciting opportunities for anglers.

Another notable location is Table Rock Lake. This picturesque lake is home to a thriving walleye population, which is perfect for fishing enthusiasts and those who enjoy beautiful scenery. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning environment, you will surely have a memorable experience at Table Rock Lake.

Stockton Lake and Truman Reservoir also offer some excellent walleye fishing opportunities. Stockton Lake boasts impressive catches, while the vast size of Truman Reservoir provides plenty of spots to explore. These locations will keep you coming back for more action!

Rivers can also provide satisfying experiences for walleye fishing enthusiasts. The Mississippi River and Missouri River are known for their walleye populations, while the Osage River offers another fantastic option for anglers looking to catch this popular game fish. These expansive waterways will keep you entertained and provide a satisfying challenge.

Fishing in Missouri doesn’t have to be limited to large bodies of water. There are also lesser-known spots and hidden gems worth checking out, such as the Meramec River or the Black River. These locations also offer fantastic opportunities for walleye fishing but will likely be less crowded, providing a quieter and more intimate experience.

Seasons for Walleye Fishing

Hey there, fellow anglers! You’re in luck if you’re itching to catch some walleye in Missouri. There are optimal fishing seasons for this prized fish species. So, what are you waiting for? Get your rods ready, and let’s talk about the best times to reel in those walleyes!

In Missouri, walleye fishing peaks during early spring as the water temperatures rise and the fish become more active. During this time, walleye move toward spawning areas, making them more accessible to anglers. March and April are particularly productive months for walleye fishing. So, if you can schedule your fishing trips during this time, you’re in for a treat!

The summer months may not be as bountiful as the early spring, but don’t let that discourage you. Lakes such as Bull Shoals Lake provide good opportunities to catch walleye during June and August. The key here is to adapt and target your methods in deeper, cooler waters. Watch for underwater structures and drop-offs where walleye might hang out to escape the heat.

Ah, winter! While most people prefer to stay warm indoors, dedicated anglers know that the cold months bring a unique experience when fishing for walleye. In Missouri, Smithville, Truman, and Table Rock lakes are popular spots for winter walleye fishing. Bundle up and stay patient; your reward will be those cold water delicious walleye fillets.

So there you have it, folks! Whether you hit the water in early spring, brave the summer heat, or bundle up for some wintertime action, Missouri’s walleye fishing is worth your while. Remember to stay flexible in your techniques and enjoy the thrill of the catch. Tight lines!

Lures and Baits for Walleye Fishing

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When you’re out there fishing for walleye in Missouri, it’s essential to use the right lures and baits to increase your chances of success. Let’s dive into some of the best options to consider.

First, consider taking a variety of jigs with you. Jigs are versatile and effective when targeting walleye. The Northland Fire-Ball Jig is a solid choice, with a compact design, great color selection, and an oval head that helps cut through current.

You’ll want to have some live bait, too. Walleye respond well to three types of live bait: minnows, leeches, and worms. Minnows are especially popular as walleye magnets. Drift them, cast them with bobbers, or free-line larger bait when the walleye are actively feeding. Leeches and worms are also effective, attracting walleye with their subtle movements and natural scent.

While jigs and live bait are staples in any walleye angler’s arsenal, crankbaits and stick baits can bring great results, too. The cold-water crankbait Rapala Husky Jerk and the all-around favorite Reef Runner are excellent choices. These lures mimic the motions and appearance of prey fish, enticing walleye to strike.

As for stick baits, Rapala’s Rippin Rap is a highly recommended lipless crankbait. Its realistic patterns and enticing vibrations can help draw in those elusive walleye.

Lastly, having a few specialty lures for different conditions is a good idea. For example, the Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ is a swimbait perfect for river fishing. And when crappie fishing, try Custom Jigs & Spins AuthentX Pulse-R for spring and the Northland Fishing Tackle Pro Walleye for summer.

In summary, having a variety of jigs, lures, and live bait such as minnows, leeches, and worms will give you the best chance of reeling in those prized Missouri walleye. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lures and baits, and most importantly, have fun out there on the water!

Techniques and Tips for Walleye Fishing

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When walleye fishing in Missouri, using the right techniques and gear to maximize your success is important. Here are some tips and tricks to help you catch more walleye.

First, get to know your fishing spots. Walleye are usually found near the thermocline and frequently in shallow water for food. They tend to gather near underwater structures like drop-offs, rock piles, and sunken trees, which provide excellent ambush spots when hunting for prey.

Trolling is a popular method for catching walleye. You can use crankbaits, jerkbaits, or spinners that dive into the water and imitate the swimming action of small fish. Vary the speed at which you’re trolling, as changing the pace can often provoke a strike from a walleye. Trolling with crankbaits or jigs has proven a successful technique for many anglers.

When fishing in shallow water, cast your lures near underwater structures or areas with plenty of cover. Walleye are likelier to lurk in these spots, waiting to ambush their prey. Using lures like jigs, soft plastics, and jerkbaits that mimic the movement and appearance of small forage fish is a great way to attract their attention.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of lures. In addition to the lures mentioned earlier, you can catch walleye using live bait such as minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches. For example, combining a jig with a live minnow can be deadly, especially when targeting walleye in river systems. The scent and natural movement of the live bait can sometimes be what’s needed to convince a wary walleye to strike.

Pay attention to the colors you choose for your lures. Walleyes have excellent vision and can readily distinguish between shades, even in low-light conditions. Use bright, flashy colors like chartreuse or orange in murky water and more natural colors like silver or blue in clear water. Experiment and see which colors work best for your fishing conditions.

Remember to stay patient and persistent. Walleye fishing can sometimes be challenging, but that’s part of the fun! With some practice and the right techniques, you’ll be reeling in those beautiful Missouri walleye in no time. Best of luck, and happy fishing!

Safety and Regulations for Walleye Fishing

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When it comes to walleye fishing in Missouri, it’s essential to keep safety in mind and be aware of the regulations set forth by the Missouri Department of Conservation. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a fun, safe, and responsible fishing experience.

First and foremost, always remember to wear a life jacket when you’re on the water – accidents can happen, and this can make all the difference. Also, carry a first-aid kit with you, stay updated on the weather, and let someone know your fishing plans before heading out.

Now, let’s talk about the regulations. In Missouri, the walleye and sauger season is open from January 1 to December 31. However, from February 20 through April 14, these fish can be taken and possessed only between half an hour before sunrise and half an hour after sunset. So, be mindful of when you’re out on your fishing trip and abide by these time restrictions.

Length limits are also in place to help maintain the walleye population in Missouri’s lakes and rivers. For instance, the Eleven Point River has an 18-inch minimum length limit for walleye and sauger. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific length limits for your fishing area.

The regulations don’t stop there. When fishing at the Eleven Point River in Oregon County, porous-soled waders are prohibited. This rule protects the local ecosystem from harmful invasive species that could hitch a ride on your waders. So, be sure to comply with this rule to minimize the impact on the environment.

In conclusion, always remember that safety comes first, and following the Missouri Department of Conservation’s regulations will lead to more enjoyable and responsible walleye fishing experiences. Happy fishing!

Other Game Fish in Missouri

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Aside from walleye, Missouri hosts a variety of other game fish that you can enjoy angling for. So whether you’re visiting this beautiful state or a local angler, you’re in for a treat!

Missouri is known for its excellent bass fishing opportunities. The state boasts both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass populations. You can try luck with largemouth bass fishing at the popular Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, or Mark Twain Lake. In search of smallmouth bass? The beautiful Current, Gasconade, and Big Piney Rivers are perfect spots.

If you love catfish fishing, Missouri has got you covered, too. Try the Missouri River, Mississippi River, or Truman Reservoir to reel in channel, blue, or flathead catfish. Remember to use live bait such as nightcrawlers, cut bait, or minnows for a successful catch!

Another exciting game fish to explore in Missouri is the sauger, sometimes called “jack salmon.” Sauger fishing can be done in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, especially in the tailwaters of the major dams. Don’t forget to try different baits like jig-and-minnow combinations or crankbaits for the best results.

For all the trout fishing enthusiasts, Missouri offers some excellent trout parks and cold water streams. Places like Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park provide stocked rainbow and brown trout populations. Savvy anglers use flies, small jigs, or spinners to entice these beautiful fish.

To recap, here are the top game fish you can target in Missouri:

  • Bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth)
  • Catfish (Channel, Blue, and Flathead)
  • Sauger (Jack Salmon)
  • Trout (Rainbow and Brown)

No matter which game fish you’re after, Missouri has many opportunities for you to enjoy. So grab your rod and tackle, and prepare for an amazing Show-Me State fishing adventure!


You’ve learned about some of the best walleye fishing spots in Missouri, with top lakes and rivers like Truman Lake, Smithville Lake, and the Meramec River, to name a few. It’s a great time to plan your next fishing trip and explore these fantastic fishing locations.

As you prepare for your adventure, remember a well-stocked tackle box is essential. Equip yourself with the best walleye baits and lures, and be mindful of the prime fishing seasons. A little research and preparation can go a long way in helping you reel in those elusive walleyes.

Put your newfound knowledge to use and immerse yourself in Missouri’s beautiful natural landscapes. Chat with the locals and other anglers to gather even more fishing gems. After all, nothing beats hands-on experience and learning from those who know the waters best.

So, pack your gear, get your fishing license, and explore the thrilling world of walleye fishing in Missouri. Happy angling!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year for walleye?

The optimum time for walleye fishing in Missouri is typically spring, during their spawning season. They’re most active when the water temperature is between 45 and 55°F, usually from March to May. However, you can still target walleye during other times of the year, adjusting your tactics accordingly.

Top Missouri lakes with walleye?

Missouri offers several fantastic walleye fishing destinations. Some top lakes with walleye include Stockton Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Table Rock Lake, Pomme De Terre Reservoir, and Truman Lake. Other options are Smithville Lake, Mozingo Lake, and Mark Twain Lake.

Walleye fishing techniques?

To increase your chances of catching walleye, consider using jigs, minnows, slip bobber rigs, or spoons. Depending on the conditions and habitat, a vertical presentation might be best, especially near or in woody and submerged structures. For more personalized advice, consider joining an angling group like Mid-South Walleyes.

Fishing near dams in Missouri?

Fishing near dams can be productive for walleye as they are drawn to the currents created by the dam. Just be cautious of the powerful water flow and any navigation restrictions around the area. Dams in Missouri, such as those on Bull Shoals Lake and Truman Lake, are known to have walleye populations nearby.

Walleye vs. crappie fishing in Missouri?

Both walleye and crappie offer enjoyable fishing experiences in Missouri. While walleye can grow larger and are considered a popular game fish, crappie offers a high catch rate and can be targeted year-round. The choice comes down to your personal preference, so why not try both and see which you prefer?

Fall walleye fishing tips?

For fall walleye fishing, focus on areas where they might feed, such as steep drop-offs or rocky structures. As water temperatures drop, walleye tend to move into deeper waters, so adjust your tactics accordingly. Consider using trolling techniques with crankbaits or casting jigs to entice these fish during the fall season.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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