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Missouri Smallmouth Page

Missouri is blessed with some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing in the country. The streams that course through our beautiful Ozark hills nearly all have smallmouth bass populations. Some streams are better than others, but you can expect just about every permanent stream anywhere in the Missouri Ozarks to have some smallmouth. Not many regions can say the same thing. Smallmouth bass are probably the most targeted fish in Ozarks streams, and for good reason. Our smallmouth are known to fight extremely hard, and are eager to smash a wide variety of lures, baits, and flies. Many people say they are the king of gamefish, and after you hook up with a nice smallie on light tackle, you might find yourself saying the same thing.


Smallmouth bass are native to the Missouri Ozarks. As a matter of fact, many of our rivers have heritage strain fish, which means they have the same subspecies of smallmouth that originally adapted to the river. Most Ozark streams have prototypical smallmouth habitat. You'll find sloping gravel bars, weedbeds, fallen trees, and eddies in these streams to provide fish with cover and protection from the current. But you'll also find some more unusual bass habitat, like the rocky canyons of the St. Francis, and the deep, turbid, and almost still water of the Bourbeuse. Just about every variety of smallmouth stream can be found in Missouri, and they all have their special attractions. On Missouri Smallmouth Central, we will give you key information about all major smallmouth streams in Missouri. We'll tell you about the kind of habitat the fish relate to. We'll talk to you where the best smallmouth water on a given stream is. We will give you all of the key information you need to find smallmouth bass on Missouri streams.


There are nearly as many different methods of catching smallmouth as their are places to catch them. Some folks prefer to rip spinnerbaits and crankbaits through deep water. Some love to see the smallmouth's vicious strike, and prefer to fish topwater lures. Others prefer the slow pace of soft plastic and live bait fishing. Still more like to fly fish. We respect all of these fishing methods, and will talk about techniques for catching bass in all of these ways. Missouri Smallmouth Central is a site for everyone, from expert smallmouth angler to the casual fisherman.


Smallmouth bass aren't stocked in any Missouri streams. Rather, the Missouri Department of Conservation manages our streams for wild smallmouth. Biologists have found this is the best method to maximize the numbers of adult smallmouth. This management style seems to work very well, as smallmouth bass numbers have held relatively steady throughout the years. The current statewide regulations for smallmouth include a 12" minimum length limit and a daily lo of 6 fish. There are many special black bass management areas in Missouri, where the minimum length limit is 15" or 18", and the creel limit is smaller. Be ready for possible regulation changes; there is much talk of raising the statewide minimum length limit and lowering the bag limit for smallmouth in the next few years.


Smallmouth fishing in Missouri world class. There are many beautiful streams of every variety where you can enjoy smallmouth fishing. No matter how you like to fish, and what water type you prefer, you'll find a stream you like to fish here. So take a look at our site, find a stream to fish, and give it a try. You might just get hooked on Missouri Smallmouth fishing!

Missouri   Smallmouth Streams


Big Piney River

Big River

Black River

Bourbeuse River

Bryant Creek

Current River

Eleven Point River

Elk River

Gasconade River

Huzzah Creek

Jacks Fork River

James River

Meramec River

North Fork of the White

Niangua River

St. Francis River

smallmouth bass jumping from water
Huzzah Creek Smallmouth Fishing in Missouri
Smallmouth Articles
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