Discover Nature - Fishing

Free Hands-on Instruction

Learning to Fish

MDC staff help kids learn to fish
Missouri Department of Conservation

Fishing is a great way for everyone to have fun outdoors, learn about conservation, and make happy memories together. Our Discover Nature — Fishing Program helps Missourians gain the skills and confidence to go fishing on their own. Don't let inexperience keep you and your kids from enjoying Missouri's great outdoors. Browse the events calendar below, or call your local Department of Conservation office to find out when Discover Nature — Fishing classes are available.

  • Classes are free.
  • Register by calling your regional office.
  • Take one class, or complete the entire program of four, two-hour classes.
  • Wear clothing and footwear suitable for the outdoors and water activities. No special equipment needed — we’ll provide all the gear.

Discover Nature — Fishing Classes

Each class is two hours long, and you must take lesson one before registering for any one of the other three. 

  • Lesson one: Equipment, Casting, and Proper Fish Handling
  • Lesson two: How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook
  • Lesson three: Five Common Missouri Fish - Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle
  • Lesson four: Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations

More advanced classes are now being offered. See the Discovery Nature - Fishing Events list below for what new classes are available.

Volunteers Needed

If you're an experienced angler who loves sharing your hobby with others, please volunteer to teach fishing skills through our Discover Nature - Fishing Program. Learn how to become an instructor.

Fishing Classes

Location: Northwest Regional Office

Date: Oct 15, 2016 11:00 am - Oct 15, 2016 02:00 pm

Lesson 1: Equipment, Casting and Proper Fish Handling. Lesson 2: How to Tie a Knot and Bait A Hook. Lesson 3: Five Common Missouri Fish - Their Anatomy, Habitat and Life Cycle. Lesson 4: Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations.

Participants are limited to anglers ages 7 – 15 and families with children. Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided. Adults who do not wish to fish must accompany their child(ren) at all times. For reservation, please call (816)271-3100. For more information on Discover Nature-Fishing please visit http://mdc.mo.gov/node/27175

Reserve by Oct 13, 2016

Location: Pony Express Conservation Area, Fishing Dock

Date: Oct 17, 2016 05:30 pm - Oct 17, 2016 07:00 pm

Lesson 1: Combines instruction with hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn how to properly and safely cast a spincast fishing pole, parts of a fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle and how to properly handle and release a fish. Lesson 2: Combines instruction with hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families intermediate fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn to tie an improved clinch knot and how to properly secure a variety of baits to various types of hooks.

Participants are limited to anglers ages 7 – 15 and families with children. Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided. Adults who do not wish to fish must accompany their child(ren) at all times. For reservation, please call (816)271-3100. For more information on Discover Nature-Fishing please visit http://mdc.mo.gov/node/27175

Reserve by Oct 16, 2016

Location: Pony Express Conservation Area, Fishing Dock

Date: Oct 18, 2016 05:30 pm - Oct 18, 2016 07:00 pm

Lesson 3: Combines instruction with hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families basic biological concepts and functions specific to largemouth bass, bluegill, hybrid sunfish, channel catfish and rainbow trout. Participants will learn the different components of fish anatomy and their functions. In addition, participants will learn about various types of fish habitat and aquatic food webs. Lesson 4: Combines instruction with hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families how to properly select a fishing lure based on desired fish species, weather and water conditions. In addition, participants will learn how to identify and understand fishing regulations.

Participants are limited to anglers ages 7 – 15 and families with children. Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided. Adults who do not wish to fish must accompany their child(ren) at all times. For reservation, please call (816)271-3100. For more information on Discover Nature-Fishing please visit http://mdc.mo.gov/node/27175

Reserve by Oct 16, 2016

Location: Bennett Spring State Park

Date: May 06, 2017 06:30 am - May 06, 2017 08:15 pm

The Missouri Department of Conservation proudly presents Kid’s Free Fishing Day, May 6, at Bennett Spring State Park. Young anglers will have opportunities to catch fish and learn about fishing at Bennett Spring Kid’s Fishing Day. A designated fishing area will be reserved for youths age 15 and under. Limited fishing equipment will be available on a first come basis to borrow so children are encouraged to bring their own. Lunch will be available for the children 15 and younger from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If there are any questions please call the hatchery at 417-532-4418.