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: Savannah City Lake

Date: Jun 29, 2016 10:00 am - Jun 29, 2016 12:00 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. Lesson 2: How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook. 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 Jun 23, 2016

Location: Savannah City Lake

Date: Jun 30, 2016 10:00 am - Jun 30, 2016 12:00 pm

Lesson 3: Five Common Missouri Fish-Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle 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. 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.

Reserve by Jun 23, 2016

Location: Bass Pro Lake Columbia MO.

Date: Jun 30, 2016 06:00 pm - Jun 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 Thursday evenings in June and July. 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 Jun 22, 2016

Location: Myrtle - Public Library

Date: Jul 02, 2016 09:00 am - Jul 02, 2016 11:00 am

Come join us for an afternoon of angler education and fishing activities with the Myrtle Public Library Summer Reading Program - Fishing Event. Angler Education will be held for 1 hour at the Public Library. One hour of fishing will accompany the lesson plan.

Lesson 3 - Five Common Missouri Fishes – Anatomy, Habitat and Life Cycles.

Lesson 4 – Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations.

All equipment and bait will be provided.

To register, please contact Rachel at (417)-938-4350 or Missouri Department of Conservation at )417)-256-7161

Reserve by Jun 15, 2016

Location: Montgomery Lake, Cabool, MO

Date: Jul 05, 2016 09:00 am - Jul 05, 2016 11:00 am

Come join us for a morning of angler education and fishing activities with the Cabool Public Library Summer Reading Program - Fishing Event. Angler Education will be held for 1 hour at the Montgomery Lake. One hour of fishing will accompany the lesson plan.

Lesson 3 - Five Common Missouri Fishes – Anatomy, Habitat and Life Cycles.

Lesson 4 – Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations.

All equipment and bait will be provided.

To register, please contact either Liza at (417)-962-3722 or the Missouri Department of Conservation at (417)-257-7161.

Reserve by Jul 03, 2016

Location: Suson Rearing Pond

Date: Jul 05, 2016 06:00 pm - Jul 05, 2016 08:00 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 Jun 30, 2016

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Date: Jul 05, 2016 06:00 pm - Jul 05, 2016 08:00 pm

In this final lesson you will learn 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. Children age 7-15 must be accompanied by an adult and adults may fish alongside their child. Register online at DiscoverFishingSTL.com.

Reserve by Jul 03, 2016

Location: Rolla, MO (The Centre)

Date: Jul 06, 2016 09:00 am - Jul 06, 2016 11:00 am

Come join us for a morning of angler education and fishing activities at The Centre, located in Rolla, MO. Angler Education will be held for 1 hour at The Centre. One hour of fishing will accompany the lesson plan.

Lesson 1 – Equipment, Casting and Proper Fish Handling Techniques.

Lesson 2 – How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook.

All equipment and bait will be provided.

To register, please contact, either The Centre at (573)-341-2386 or Missouri Department of Conservation at (417)-256-7161.

Reserve by Jul 03, 2016

Location: Northwest Regional Office

Date: Jul 06, 2016 06:00 pm - Jul 06, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 1: Equipment, Casting and Proper Fish Handling. 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. 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 Jun 30, 2016

Location: Northwest Regional Office

Date: Jul 07, 2016 06:00 pm - Jul 07, 2016 08:00 pm

Lesson 3: Five Common Missouri Fish-Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle. 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: 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.

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 Jun 30, 2016

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