Fishing Mark Twain National Forest

Fishing Fun for Families and Anglers Alike

Mark Twain National Forest in Eastern Missouri offers picturesque locations for a variety of fishing activities. From family-friendly fun on Council Bluffs Lake to the quiet and serene venues of Sutton Bluff on the West bank of the Black River, preferred by serious anglers, Mark Twain Forest has it all.

All lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in Missouri require state-issued permits for fishing. Annual fishing permits and daily fishing permits are available for purchase online for as little as $7.00 per day for residents and non-residents. Some waterways will also require a Trout permit that allows fishing in restricted areas.

Lake & Pond Fishing

Pack your tackle, gather your family and head over to one of the many family-friendly lakes and ponds in the Mark Twain Forest. Popular catches include bluegill, small- and largemouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish. Council Bluff Lake and Logger’s Lake are prime locations for family fun including swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Playgrounds are available in some locations to keep the kids busy while you land a record catch.

Crane Lake

Crane Lake is an excellent place for shoreline fishing. Though there have been various maintenance activities on the dam portion of the lake since 2015, visitors to this area can expect to see beautiful views of wildlife in a pristine natural environment.

Council Bluff Lake

As the largest lake in the Mark Twain Forest, Council Bluff Recreation Area is one of the most popular spots for summertime fun. Swimming, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and playgrounds are available making this an ideal destination for any age group. The area can also accommodate large groups. Day use fees are as low as $3.00 per vehicle.

Logger’s Lake

Logger’s Lake is spring-fed and maintained as a fishery and a quiet place for non-motorized boating and bank fishing. With a small beach on the shoreline, this location also offers swimming and has picnicking areas complete with permanent grills.

River & Stream Fishing

Swiftly moving water opens up a variety of activities and fishing experiences that you won’t want to miss out on. Whether you have a passion for kayaking and canoeing in Huzzah Creek or you would rather wade the stream at Sutton Bluff Recreation Area, you will find the perfect fishing experience for you in the Mark Twain National Forest.

The Black River at Sutton Bluff

Fish the West bank of the Black River for a slow-moving mountain stream adventure. The gentle current at Sutton Bluff Recreation Area makes floating activities difficult, but provides a secluded and quiet environment for avid anglers. Feel free to wade into the waters from the natural gravel beach. Then, take advantage of the 25-mile off-road vehicle trail, with the proper permits, to haul in your catch of Bass or Bluegill.

Huzzah Creek at Red Bluff

Drive down to Huzzah Creek near the Red Bluff Recreation Area for a weekend full of floating, kayaking, and fishing for as little as $2.00 per vehicle. Spend a day tubing down the swift current followed by fishing for perch, bass, and catfish near sunset.

The St. Francis River at Silver Mines

The St Francis River is the only river in Missouri classified as white water and is primarily used for kayaking during the high waters of Spring. However, the swift currents at Silver Mines Recreation Area is primed and ready for bass fishing year-round. Be sure to bring your camera; Black Bass over 15 inches long are a likely catch in these waters.

So Much More to Explore

You’ve seen just a glimpse of all of the fishing opportunities available in Mark Twain National Forest. All of these locations are located in the Southeastern portion of the forest. Explore other locations like the Big Piney River, Current River, Table Rock Lake, and the stocked Beaver Lake Recreation Area just to name a few. With an endless variety of fishing opportunities, Mark Twain Forest is the place to be for anglers of all ages and skill levels.

Updates, Guides, and Helpful Hints to Exploring the Forest

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