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: Forest Park Hatchery

Date: Apr 14, 2016 06:00 pm - Jun 14, 2016 08:00 pm

Families will learn intermediate fishing techniques and skills. Participants will be taught how to tie an improved clinch knot and how to properly secure a variety of baits to various types of hooks. Children ages 7-15 must be accompanied by an adult and adults may fish alongside their child. Register online at DiscoverFishingSTL.com.

Reserve by Jun 12, 2016

Location: Myrtle - Public Library

Date: May 11, 2016 09:00 am - Jun 04, 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 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 Rachel at (417)-938-4350 or Missouri Department of Conservation at )417)-256-7161

Reserve by Jun 01, 2016

Location: Burr Oak Woods Nature Center Pond, Blue Springs, MO

Date: May 31, 2016 06:00 pm - May 31, 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 May 25, 2016

Location: Suson Rearing Pond

Date: May 31, 2016 06:00 pm - May 31, 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.

Reserve by May 29, 2016

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Date: May 31, 2016 06:00 pm - May 31, 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 May 29, 2016

Location: Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

Date: Jun 04, 2016 09:00 am - Jun 04, 2016 11:00 am

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. 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 (417) 895-6880. For more information on Discover Nature-Fishing please visit http://mdc.mo.gov/node/27175

Reserve by Jun 02, 2016

Location: August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

Date: Jun 04, 2016 10:00 am - Jun 04, 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 Jun 01, 2016

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Date: Jun 04, 2016 10:00 am - Jun 04, 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 Jun 01, 2016

Location: Suson Rearing Pond

Date: Jun 04, 2016 10:00 am - Jun 04, 2016 12:00 pm

Families will learn intermediate fishing techniques and skills. Participants will be taught how to tie an improved clinch knot and how to properly secure a variety of baits to various types of hooks. Children age 7-15 must be accompanied by an adult and adults may fish alongside their child. Register online at DiscoverFishingSTL.com

Reserve by Jun 01, 2016

Location: Bellefontaine Conservation Area

Date: Jun 04, 2016 10:00 am - Jun 04, 2016 12:00 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 Jun 01, 2016

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