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.

File Attachments

Fishing Classes

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

Register by April 22

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Location: Prairie Hollow Lake, James A. Reed MWA

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 bait on hooks. Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided.

Ages 7 and above. All children ages 7-15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Participants do NOT need a fishing permit to fish during this program.

Children must be accompanied by a registered adult at all times.

All participants must register separately. Email instructor for assistance with registration.


Register by April 23

Date: Friday, April 23, 2021 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Fishing is a great way for kids and families to have fun outdoors, learn about conservation, and make happy memories. Our Discover Nature-Fishing program is a hands on, four-part fishing instruction series that helps families gain the skills and confidence they need to go fishing on their own.
This program will cover the Discover Nature-Fishing Lessons 1 and 2, which are prerequisites to Lessons 3 and 4 (hosted at a later date). Participants will learn about fishing equipment, casting, rigging a fishing rod, baiting a hook, and proper fish handling. The Discover Nature-Fishing program is available for ages 7 and up. We will be hosting this program at the North County Park Lake at pavilion #3 at 4:00 PM, and it is expected to last until 7:00 PM. Participants will not be required to have a valid fishing license for this program.


Date: Saturday, April 24, 2021 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Lesson 1: This lesson must be taken before any of the other Discover Nature Fishing lessons 2-4.
Participants will learn parts of a fishing pole, how to properly and safely cast a spin-cast fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle, and how to properly handle and release a fish.
Lesson 2: Participants will learn intermediate fishing techniques and skills as well as hands-on fishing. Participants will be taught how to tie an improved clinch knot and how to properly secure a variety of baits to various kinds of hooks.
All fishing gear will be provided by the instructors. Please wear clothing suitable for outdoor and water activities. Face masks are required at all time during the program. It is recommended that participants bring sunglasses, a water bottle, and sunscreen. This program is for anyone 6 years old and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Register by April 29

Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Location: Prairie Hollow Lake, James A. Reed MWA

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.
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 & 4. Participants do not need a fishing permit to fish during this program.

Participants will be asked to maintain safe social distance from staff and other participants who are not their family members during this program.

Each participant must register for this program individually. For assistance with registration please contact the program instructor.


Register by May 1

Date: Saturday, May 1, 2021 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Fly fishing can look intimidating to a new person. There are different rods, reels and tackle. This program will help you learn the basics to get started. We will practice casting outside so you can get the feel for this technique. Masks and social distancing are recommended.


Register by May 3

Date: Monday, May 3, 2021 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: MDC Headquarters

Lesson 1:
This lesson must be taken before any of the other Discover Nature Fishing lessons 2-4.
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 spin-cast fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle, and how to properly handle and release a fish.
Lesson 2:
Participants will learn intermediate fishing techniques and skills as well as hands-on fishing. 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. 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.
This class is for children ages 6 years old and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Location: St. Louis Regional Office/Busch Memorial CA

Lessons 1 & 2 MUST be taken before any of the other Discover Nature Fishing Lessons.
Lesson 3: Participants will learn about aquatic habitats, food webs, and the basic biology of common Missouri fish species.
Lesson 4: Participants will learn about various fishing lures techniques, as well as identify and understand Missouri fishing regulations.
All fishing gear will be provided by the instructors. Please wear clothing and closed-toe shoes suitable for outdoor and water conditions. Face masks are required for the entire program. It is recommended that participants bring sunglasses, a water bottle, and sunscreen. This class is for ages 6 and up.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. All persons in your group MUST be individually registered.
Class at Lake 15.


Register by May 3

Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: MDC Headquarters

Lesson 3:
Lesson 1&2 must be taken before any of other Discover Nature Fishing lessons 3-4.
In this class, participants will learn basic biological concepts and functions specific to largemouth bass, bluegill, hybrid sunfish, channel catfish and rainbow trout as well as hands-on fishing. Participants will also learn the different components of fish anatomy and their functions. In addition, you will learn about various types of fish habitat and aquatic food webs.
Lesson 4:
In this final lesson you will learn how to properly select a fishing lure based on desired fish species, weather and water conditions as well as hands-on fishing. 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.
This class is for children ages 6 years old and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Register by April 30

Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Location: James Youth Center

Lesson 1: Learn the parts and function of a spincast fishing rod and reel. How to cast safely and and successfully. How to fasten basic tackle to a fishing line. Learn techniques to catch fish and handle it properly.

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 bait on hooks.

Participants will be able to take what they learned and go fishing.

Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided.

Participants will be asked to maintain safe social distance from staff and other participants who are not their family members during this program.

Each participant must register for this program individually.


Date: Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Forest Park Hatchery

Lessons 1 & 2 MUST be taken before any of the other Discover Nature Fishing Lessons.
Lesson 3: Participants will learn about aquatic habitats, food webs, and the basic biology of common Missouri fish species.
Lesson 4: Participants will learn about various fishing lures techniques, as well as identify and understand Missouri fishing regulations.
All fishing gear will be provided by the instructors. Please wear clothing and closed-toe shoes suitable for outdoor and water conditions. Face masks are required for the entire program. It is recommended that participants bring sunglasses, a water bottle, and sunscreen. This class is for ages 6 and up.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. All persons in your group MUST be individually registered.


Pages