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 August 26

Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: George O. White Nursery

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 rod, parts of a fishing rod, 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 bait on hooks.

Participants are limited to anglers ages 7 and up. We encourage the entire family to participate. 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. Participants will be asked to maintain safe social distance from staff and other participants who are not their family members during this program. Participants do NOT need a fishing permit to fish during this program. For additional information or questions contact Travis Mills at (417) 255-9561 ext. 4756.


Register by August 26

Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods W. Robert Aylward Education Pond

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 5-15 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 who attend all four Discover Nature-Fishing lessons together with family members will each receive a 25.00 Bass Pro Shop gift card from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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


Register by August 28

Date: Saturday, August 29, 2020 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: George O. White Nursery

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.

Participants are limited to anglers ages 7 and up. We encourage the entire family to participate. 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. Participants must have completed Lessons 1 and 2 prior to attending Lessons 3 & 4. Participants will be asked to maintain safe social distance from staff and other participants who are not their family members during this program. Participants do NOT need a fishing permit to fish during this program. After participants have completed and participated in all four sessions, they will receive a $25 Bass Pro gift card (children and parents that participated). For additional information or questions contact Travis Mills at (417) 255-9561 ext. 4756.


Register by August 29

Date: Saturday, August 29, 2020 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods W. Robert Aylward Education Pond

Bank to table, after this program you'll never look at rough fish the same again!

Learn about harvesting, cleaning and preparing some of our states most abundant "trash fish".

We'll spend a little time talking about methods and local hot spots for harvesting various species of rough fish. Then we'll demonstrate some of the best and easiest methods for cleaning gar, buffalo, drum and silver carp. We'll end the program with a cooking demonstration where we will prepare the fish we clean using some favorite methods and delicious recipes to produce samples for everyone to try.


Register by September 3

Date: Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 5:30pm to 8:30pm

Location: Bray (Marguerite) Conservation Area

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 September 5

Date: Saturday, September 5, 2020 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Bray (Marguerite) Conservation Area

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 September 16

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: Prairie Hollow Lake, James A. Reed MWA

Lesson 1: Equipment, Casting and Proper Fish Handling combines instruction with hands-on fishing to teach anglers basic fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn how to properly and safely cast a spincast fishing rod, parts of a fishing rod, how to fasten basic fishing tackle and how to properly handle and release a fish. Lesson.

Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided. Program is limited to ages 5 and above. All children ages 5 -15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Fishing permits are NOT required 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.

All participants must sign up for this program individually. For assistance with registration please contact the program instructor.


Register by September 16

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Fly tying is a great pastime, and it is a real thrill to catch a fish on a fly you have tied. We will discuss equipment, materials, and step-by-step tying for one or two flies. When registering, please provide an active email address in your profile as you will receive a link one day prior to the program. Recommended for ages 8+. Call 417-888-4237 for more information. Select the blue "Register" button in the top right corner to register.


Register by September 23

Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

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.

Program limited to children ages 5 and above. All children ages 5-15 must be

Fishing equipment, instructors/coaches and bait/lures will be provided. Program is limited to ages 5 and above. All children ages 5 -15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Fishing permits are NOT required 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.

All participants must sign up for this program individually. For assistance with registration please contact the program instructor.


Register by September 30

Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

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 5-15 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 membersembers during this program.

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


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