Top Ten Missouri Trout Streams and Rivers

*These streams are NOT listed in any particular order. Only streams with public access are considered.

Top Ten Smallmouth Bass Streams*

*These streams are NOT listed in any particular order.

Fishing opportunities in Missouri are literally endless. The species of fish you can find here are as diverse as the different waters. In the muddy Missouri or Mississippi River, you can find some of the world's best catfishing. On the deep, clear Gasconade River, you'll find smallmouth bass fishing that rivals the best that Minnesota or Michigan has to offer. And in the cold, fast flowing Current River, the trout fishing is just as good as most Rocky Mountain rivers. As you can see, Missouri has a great variety of fishing, and these examples I gave only scratch the surface.

If you live in Missouri, you have fishable, public water within thirty minutes of your home. It may be as unglamorous as an old strip-pit on Missouri Department of Conservation property that is full of bluegill, or it could be a big-name water like the Meramec, Current, or Lake of the Ozarks. You can choose to splurge and buy an expensive boat, fish, finder, and spend thousands of dollars on fishing rods and tackle. But that's not at all necessary. All you really need is an inexpensive rod and reel (workable set-ups can be had for less than $30), some hooks and sinkers, and a few well chosen lures. Remember, you don't need really specialized tackle to do well in most Missouri waters. In most places a worm and a bobber or a Mepp's Spinner will do just fine.

Trout can also find water to their liking in Missouri. There are trout waters to enjoy of course, but there are also excellent warm-water fly fishing opportunites across the state for everything from smallmouth bass to carp. So no matter what kind of fishing you enjoy, there is some water that will suite you in Missouri. The purpose of our fishing page is to help steer you in the direction of the best waters. We will focus special attention on the more popular species (trout, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass), but you'll find articles about a little bit of everything. So take a look around!

Eleven Point River Fishing

The Eleven Point River runs through some of the most beautiful country in Missouri. It also is blessed with some of the best fishing, perhaps not only in Missouri, but throughout the nation. So, what is it that keeps the masses off the river.

Fishing a riffle on the Eleven Point River
Fishing the Eleven Point River in Missouri
River is Good in Areas for: Smallmouth Bass and Trout [mostly rainbow trout]

From the Thomasville access down to Greer Crossing/Greer Spring, the Eleven Point River is a typical (but excellent)Ozark smallmouth bass stream.

Greer Spring is where the trout fishery really gets going. This is not to say there are no trout upstream of this point, or that there are no smallounth in the immediate stretch below. As we speak, the river is under Blue Ribbon Trout Regulations from Greer to the Turner Mill access.

The river is stocked approximately monthly with rainbow trout between Turner Mill and the Riverton access. This section is under White Ribbon regs at the writing of this article. Essentially White Ribbon just means statewide regs.

The river from Riverton downstream is a nice smallmouth fishery once again. There is also the possibility of picking up a walleye, largemouth bass, and catfish.

Little Piney Creek Trout Fishing

This little stream gets overlooked by many fishermen. It is right in the heart of trout fishing country. In fact, it is right on the way to Montauk Park, if you go through Rolla and through Licking.

From this direction, you will cross Little Piney on Highway 63 in a pretty little valley at an access run by the USFS. It is open for camping from spring through fall, and is closed in the winter. This access is called Lane Springs, and you can exit Highway 63, drive down a couple of miles, and for $2, park and fish. If you want a nice campground, there is that too.

There are other access points to Little Piney such as Vida Slab. For more in-depth info on access as well as on Little Piney in general, visit Little Piney Trout Fishing.

Big Piney River Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Big Piney River may be as good as any in the state of Missouri. The great fishing really begins at the Baptist Camp access. Once you reach the Slabtown Access, you enter the special smallmouth bass management unit [as of 6/ always, make certain you are aware of current regs...visit MDC]. This extends to the Ross Bridge access.

From Ross Bridge, the Big Piney soon flows into Fort Leonard Wood. Here, special permission is necessary. The fishing is however quite good.

Meramec River Fishing

The Meramec River may be one of the nation's most diverse streams. It begins in its very upper reaches as a nice smallmouth bass stream, gets an infusion of cool spring water from Maramec Springs and doubles for awhile as a bass and trout stream, and then regains its composure as a bass stream.

However, in many spots, there are species that are in abundance besides smallies and rainbow and brown trout. The Meramec has spotty abundances also of species like walleye, rock bass [goggle eye], catfish, and largemouth bass.

The general rule of thumb is that as you move down the river towards its joining with the Mississippi, the smallmouth fishing tails off and the largemouth and channel catfish fishing improves. Trout really are found in a limited range below Maramec Springs.

North Fork of the White River Fishing

It might be difficult for a fisherman unfamiliar with this river to place it in the state of Missouri. It might seem better suited to the fisherman unfamiliar with Ozark fishing to be located in the Adirondacks or even in a western setting. There are many fishing options on this stream.

As is the case on many Ozark streams, the spring dynamic allows for fishing opportunities that just would not exist were they not present. In fact, the waters of the North Fork of the White River offer some of the nation's premier smallmouth bass fishing, as well as stupendous trout fishing. The only thing that saves this fishery from being completely overrun is it being somewhat diffcult to access.

The North Fork of the White River is near a small Missouri town called West Plains (perhaps most famous for their distance running programs). There are no closeby airports for fishermen to whisk in and out like there are in Steamboat Springs, Jackson Hole, or a dozen other Eastern and Western destinations. If you would like to acquire additional detail for this stream, visit North Fork of the White River Trout Fishing or Smallmouth Fishing at our sister site, Family-Outdoors.

Missouri Fishing Articles

Current River Bass and Trout Fishing

Missouri Bass Fishing: A summary of some helpful information about smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing in Missouri.

Missouri Pan Fishing

Missouri Wild Trout Streams: A rundown on the streams of Missouri that sustain wild trout populations.

Missouri Trout Fishing: An article on the great trout fishing opportunities in Missouri.

Also visit Missouri Fishing Places

Missouri's Top 5 Bass Lakes

Fishing the Missouri Ozarks Region