The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) manages to raise and release almost two million trout every year. The cost of doing this, however, isn’t cheap, which is why MDC has brought up adjusting the prices for annual trout permits along with the cost of daily trout tags beginning in 2020.
Raising the Price
MDC operates five separate trout hatcheries across Missouri and releases 1.7 million trout annually into public fishing areas. All the work that it takes to raise trout, however, is not being covered by the current prices of trout fishing. The current permit prices were established in 1999, and due to inflation and the amount of work that’s being put into the fish, MDC has introduced the idea of raising trout permit prices in 2020.
Right now an annual trout permit is $7 for anglers 16 years of age and older, if the price increases are put in place, the yearly trout permit will rise to $10. For fishermen ages 15 and younger the annual trout permit would go from $3.50 to $5.
Maramec Spring Park, Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park are the only four state trout parks Missouri has, which currently cost $3 for a daily trout tag for adults and $2 for a tag for anyone 15 years old and younger. If implemented, the price increase would cause the cost of a tag to rise one dollar for both adults and children, to $4 an $3 respectively.
Times Have Changed
“The Conservation Department has not increased these permit prices in nearly two decades,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “We are adjusting these permit prices — which were set in 1999 — to make them more in line with today’s real costs of the work we do. The price increases will help MDC meet the pressures of increased management costs at our hatcheries and help meet the increased demand for trout fishing around the state.” 
MDC says that in 2003, the annual cost to raise trout was about $1 a fish- that includes paying for food and employees. In 2017, MDC found that the cost to raise a trout was almost twice that amount. Between the rise of the cost to raise fish, MDC also has to pay for its five trout hatcheries, Bennett Spring, Montauk, Shepherd of the Hills, Roaring River, and Maramec Spring Park, which have cost over $11 million in the past ten years on repairs and renovations.
Currently, MDC is looking for public feedback on this proposition. If you have any input, suggestions, or comments about this price rise, you can go to this page and scroll down until you find “3 CSR 10-5.430 Trout Permit” (to comment on the annual trout permit increase). To leave feedback on daily trout tags, click here, and scroll down until you find “3 CSR 10-5.250 Daily Hunting or Fishing Tags.”
- ^“MDC proposes raising trout permits and daily tags starting in 2020.” Missouri Department of Conservation, 30 May. 2019, mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/mdc-proposes-raising-trout-permits-and-daily-tags-starting-2020. (go back↩)