From the Missouri Department of Conservation
The Conservation Department has largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish for qualifying pond owners. Landowners who want to turn their ponds into fishing holes have until July 15 to apply for stocking by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Each year hundreds of Missouri pond owners accept nearly a million fingerling fish that add significantly to angling opportunities statewide. To qualify for Conservation Department stocking, they complete written applications. Conservation Department personnel visit each pond to be sure it meets the requirements:
The pond or lake must be at least 8 feet deep.
If the pond is smaller than 5 acres, livestock must be excluded from the pond area.
Ponds must not have existing fish populations, except for fathead minnows.
The dam must be built for permanence and water-tightness.
Pond owners who qualify can receive bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish. Sunfish and catfish fingerlings are distributed from a central location in each county in September or October. Largemouth bass are distributed the following June. This gives the other fish time to grow before the hungry, predatory bass arrive.
Anglers can harvest bass in most ponds by the third summer after stocking. Natural reproduction replaces bluegill and bass removed by fishing. Catfish must be restocked periodically.
Pond stocking applications must be in by July 15. To submit an application online visit www.mdc.mo.gov/67. Visit www.mdc.mo.gov/10194 to learn more about the many pond stocking options that are available.
Pond owners who accept fish from the Conservation Department retain full rights to control access to their ponds. Accepting the free fish doesn't obligate them to allow fishing or other uses on their land by the public. However, ponds stocked by the Conservation Department are subject to provisions of the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The fish can't be bought or sold, and statewide fishing regulations must be observed. Those restrictions do not apply to pond owners who buy fish from commercial sources.