Discover Nature - Fishing

Free Hands-on Instruction

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.

  • Classes are free.
  • No special equipment needed — we’ll provide all the gear.

More advanced classes can be found on the list below and on the Fishing Events page.

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Fishing Classes

Enter part of the location name (e.g., "Runge")

Register by July 7

Date: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 5:30pm to Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 1:00pm

Location: Mark Twain Lake - M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor

This two day course will teach anglers techniques for catching catfish on Missouri's waters using alternative methods. This event is a partnership with the Corps of Engineers as they will be providing free camping opportunities for participants of the event.
Friday evening participants will be taken on Mark Twain Lake and shown how to safely set lines and navigate the river. Once off the water presentations will be made on regulations tactics and gear. Saturday morning participants will be show how to retrieve fish from a boat. A fish cleaning demo will be conducted upon return to the park. This is a two day event. Participants will need to provide their own food, drink, sunscreen, and other personal items. Fishing equipment will be provided. Please have each person in your party sign up separate. For Questions contact Rob at (660)785-2420 or rob.garver@mdc.mo.gov


Register by July 22

Date: Monday, July 22, 2019 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Bray (Marguerite) Conservation Area

Register by July 22

Date: Monday, July 22, 2019 - 6:00pm to Saturday, July 27, 2019 - 11:00am

Location: Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park

Graduate from DNF Camp by attending all 3 Lessons. Last day of camp on Saturday is family fishing. Equipment is provided.


Register by July 22

Date: Monday, July 22, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Ronald and Maude Hartell Conservation Area

Free for Everyone
All Equipment Provided
Receive a $25 Bass Pro Gift Card Upon Completion of Lessons 1-4
Children must be accompanied by an adult


Register by July 23

Date: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Bray (Marguerite) Conservation Area

Register by July 22

Date: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: August A Busch Conservation Area

Location: Lake #15

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. All fishing gear will be provided by the instructors. Please wear clothing and close-toed shoes suitable for outdoor and water activities. It is recommended that participants bring sunglasses, a water bottle, and sunscreen.

The Discover Nature Fishing Program is designed for children ages 7-15 years old, although parents/guardians are encouraged to learn and fish with their children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Registration for Saturday morning classes closes the Thursday before at 4:00pm, and Tuesday classes the day before at 4:00pm.

*Prerequisite: Lesson 1


Register by July 24

Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: MDC Ozark Regional Office

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 visit Discover Nature-Fishing https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/get-started-fishing/discover-nature-... or call 417-256-7161

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 visit Discover Nature-Fishing https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/get-started-fishing/discover-nature-... or call 417-256-7161


Register by July 24

Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Ronald and Maude Hartell Conservation Area

Free for Everyone
All Equipment Provided
Receive a $25 Bass Pro Gift Card Upon Completion of Lessons 1-4
Children must be accompanied by an adult


Register by July 25

Date: Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: MDC Ozark Regional Office

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. In addition, participants will learn about various types of fish habitat and aquatic food webs. 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 visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/get-started-fishing/discover-nature-... or call 417-256-7161. For more information.

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. 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 visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/get-started-fishing/discover-nature-... or call 417-256-7161.


Register by July 25

Date: Saturday, July 27, 2019 - 9:30am to 11:30am

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

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 Discover Nature Fishing lessons 2-4. All fishing gear will be provided by the instructors. Please wear clothing and close-toed shoes suitable for outdoor and water activities. It is recommended that participants bring sunglasses, a water bottle, and sunscreen.

The Discover Nature Fishing Program is designed for children ages 7-15 years old, although parents/guardians are encouraged to learn and fish with their children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Registration for Saturday morning classes closes the Thursday before at 4:00pm, and Tuesday classes the day before at 4:00pm.


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