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: James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, Prairie Hollow Lake, Lees Summit

Date: Aug 30, 2016 06:00 pm - Aug 30, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 4: Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations 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. Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided. All children ages 7-15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Participants must have completed Lessons 1 and 2 prior to attending Lesson 3 or 4. For reservations, please call (816) 622-0900. For more information on Discover Nature – Fishing, please visit http://mdc.mo.gov/node/27175

Reserve by Aug 25, 2016

Location: Bass Pro Shop Lake Columbia MO

Date: Aug 30, 2016 06:00 pm - Aug 30, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 2 of 4 - covers knot tying, attaching a hook, baiting a hook, unhooking a fish, and stocking a basic tackle box. Target group youth ages 7 to 15, participants must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Class time includes hands on fishing. All equipment provided. There are 4 lessons to this class each on Tuesday evenings in August and Sept 2016. Contact Don Rahm at 573-815-7900, or Don.Rahm@mdc.mo.gov for more information. NOTE Only one registration required for all 4 classes. Participants are requested to attend Lesson 1 first and complete all 4 Lessons to be eligible for a $25.00 grift card for use at Bass Pro Shops.

Reserve by Sep 19, 2016

Location: Northwest Regional Office

Date: Aug 30, 2016 06:00 pm - Aug 30, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 1: Equipment, Casting and Proper Fish Handling and Lesson 2: How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook.

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 Aug 29, 2016

Location: Northwest Regional Office

Date: Aug 31, 2016 06:00 pm - Aug 31, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 3: Five Common Missouri Fish-Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle and 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 Aug 29, 2016

Location: August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

Date: Sep 03, 2016 10:00 am - Sep 03, 2016 09:00 am

This first class includes instruction as well as hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn parts of a fishing pole, how to properly and safely cast a spincast fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle, and how to properly handle and release a fish. This lesson must be taken before registering for any of the other lessons. Register online at DiscoverFishingSTL.com.

Reserve by Aug 31, 2016

Location: August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

Date: Sep 03, 2016 10:00 am - Sep 03, 2016 12:00 pm

This first class includes instruction as well as hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn parts of a fishing pole, how to properly and safely cast a spincast fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle, and how to properly handle and release a fish. This lesson must be taken before registering for any of the other lessons. Register online at DiscoverFishingSTL.com.

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Date: Sep 03, 2016 10:00 am - Sep 03, 2016 12:00 pm

This first class includes instruction as well as hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn parts of a fishing pole, how to properly and safely cast a spincast fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle, and how to properly handle and release a fish. This lesson must be taken before registering for any of the other lessons. Register online at DiscoverFishingSTL.com.

Reserve by Aug 31, 2016

Location: Burr Oak Woods Nature Center

Date: Sep 10, 2016 09:00 am - Sep 10, 2016 11:30 am

Registration required (families) Fall is a great time to take your family fishing. We will teach some fishing basics; provide equipment and worms and then your family will try their luck fishing. Kids who attend will be entered in a drawing at the end of the summer for a new fishing pole and tackle box. Lessons 1 and 2 of the Discover Nature Fishing program are included in this class. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Reserve by Sep 08, 2016

Location: Brickyard Hill Conservation Area, Charity Lake

Date: Sep 12, 2016 06:00 pm - Sep 12, 2016 07:30 pm

Lesson 1: Equipment, Casting and Proper Fish Handling 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: How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook 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 Sep 11, 2016

Location: Bass Pro Lake Columbia MO

Date: Sep 13, 2016 06:00 pm - Sep 13, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 3 of 4 - covers 5 common fish of Missouri. Their anatomy, habitat and life cycle. Target group youth ages 7 to 15, participants must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Class time includes hands on fishing. All equipment provided. There are 4 lessons to this class each on Tuesday evening in Aug and Sept. Contact Don Rahm at 573-815-7900, or Don.Rahm@mdc.mo.gov for more information. NOTE Only one registration required for all 4 classes. Participants are requested to attend Lesson 1 first and complete all 4 Lessons to be eligible for a $25.00 grift card for use at Bass Pro Shops.

Reserve by Aug 22, 2016

Pages