Fishing

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Trout angler fishing in a stream
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Fishing is a great way to spend time with family and friends creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s a full-blown vacation or a quiet Saturday morning, fishing can get you away from it all. All you need is a pole, a line, a hook, some bait, and a permit.

No matter where you live in Missouri, a great fishing trip is close to home. Check Places to Go for conservation areas with fishing opportunities near you.

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Guidelines for Fishing on MDC Areas

Have the Right Equipment

Essential equipment includes a rod, reel, hook, line, and lure. Check the fishing gear page to see if you have the correct equipment.

Apply Bug Spray and Sunscreen

In addition to sunscreen, wearing a hat and/or sunglasses can protect you from too much sun and the glare reflecting off the water.

Bring a First Aid Kit

Put your kit in a waterproof case, especially if you are fishing from a boat. Be sure to include the basics in your kit: bandages, sterile pads, pain relievers, disinfectant, and an antibiotic cream.

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Before You Go

Get your fishing permit.

You can purchase permits online or in most Missouri sporting goods stores.

More information on fishing permits.

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Follow Fishing Etiquette

  • Some fishing locations are more popular than others, so when you find yourself sharing the space with fellow anglers, make sure you are respecting them and the outdoor area to ensure everyone has the best fishing experience.
  • Be aware of fishing seasons, area-specific regulations, and creel limits (the maximum amount of fish you can catch). Creel limits vary by conservation area and are posted on signs near conservation area parking lots.
  • Leave no trace. Properly dispose of your fishing line, lures, trash, and food waste in a trash receptacle. Littering can harm both land and aquatic wildlife and habitats.
  • Be a good steward and dispose of bait properly. Dumping bait can result in the introduction of an invasive animal. Invasive species can harm native wildlife and habitats and impact the ability humans have to do their favorite outdoor activities, such as fishing.

Great Places For Fishing

Events

Find events near you.
Registration period: September 27 - October 3
Date: Thursday, October 5, 2023 5:00 pm - Thursday, October 5, 2023 7:30 pm
Location: Forest Park Hatchery

*This lesson is required for anyone wanting to take Lessons 2-4*

Discover Nature Fishing Lesson 1 & 2

This a combined class that 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, how to properly handle and release a fish, how to tie a proper knot, and how to properly bait a hook.

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 and Families of all ages! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

All participants who complete all 4 Discover Nature Fishing Lessons will go home with a free fishing reward to encourage fishing with the family.

To register your child, you may need to make a family account, or add them to an existing family account. You can also make you child their own, separate account.

Please meet at the Forest Park Hatchery!
Registration period: August 18 - October 7
Date: Saturday, October 7, 2023 2:00 pm - Saturday, October 7, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Online only

It has been a long day; no fish are biting but you still want to be out on or by the water, what is there to do? Join us for this virtual program diving into activities you can do to still have fun when the fish aren't biting. Activities covered will include aquatic birding, bowfishing, skipping stones, and catching frogs. This program is intended for all ages and requires no previous fishing knowledge. So, join us and have more fun by the water at your local conservation areas.

Please ensure your MDC account includes an accurate email address so that you can receive a link to the virtual program. Registration ends 2 hours before program begins.
Registration period: September 27 - October 7
Date: Monday, October 9, 2023 5:00 pm - Monday, October 9, 2023 7:30 pm
Location: St. Louis Regional Office/Busch Memorial CA

*This lesson is required for anyone wanting to take Lessons 2-4*

Discover Nature Fishing Lesson 1 & 2

This a combined class that 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, how to properly handle and release a fish, how to tie a proper knot, and how to properly bait a hook.

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 and Families of all ages! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

All participants who complete all 4 Discover Nature Fishing Lessons will go home with a free fishing reward to encourage fishing with the family.

To register your child, you may need to make a family account, or add them to an existing family account. You can also make you child their own, separate account.

Please meet at lake 15 in August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.
Registration period: September 15 - October 9
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2023 5:30 pm - Wednesday, October 11, 2023 7:30 pm
Location: Walter Woods Conservation Area

Get a taste of tradition and learn some camp cooking the old fashioned way.

This event is for all who want to know more about cooking with Dutch Ovens; those cast iron black pots that make food taste so delicious!

Learn the basics of Dutch Oven cooking and sample your way to a newfound interest in traditional camp cooking.

Whether you are a "seasoned" expert or are thinking about getting started, this event is for you.
Registration period: September 18 - October 8
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2023 10:00 am - Thursday, October 12, 2023 11:00 am
Location: Shaw Nature Reserve

This event will cover simple fire making methods, cooking utensils, food options and a cooking demonstration. Toward the end of the program, participants will have an opportunity to put into practice what they’ve learned.

All planning to attend the event should register separately. Children younger than fifteen years of age must be accompanied by an adult. If you have any questions, please contact the host.

We look forward to having you join us!
Registration period: September 27 - October 10
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2023 5:00 pm - Thursday, October 12, 2023 7:30 pm
Location: Forest Park Hatchery

*Discover Nature Fishing Lesson 1 is required before attending this program*

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 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 and Families of all ages! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

All participants who complete all 4 Discover Nature Fishing Lessons will go home with a free fishing reward to encourage fishing with the family.

To register your child, you may need to make a family account, or add them to an existing family account. You can also make you child their own, separate account.

Please meet at the Forest Park Hatchery!
Registration period: September 14 - October 11
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2023 5:30 pm - Thursday, October 12, 2023 7:30 pm
Location: Conservation Employees Credit Union Basement

*Lessons 1 and 2 are required*

Lesson 3: “Five Common Missouri Fish” combines instruction with hands-on fishing in order to teach young anglers and families the anatomy, habitat, diet, and life cycle of five common Missouri fish.

Lesson 4: “Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations” combines instruction with hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families to identify different kinds of lures and to grasp an understanding of applicable fishing regulations and why we have them.

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.

Each participant will need to register for this program individually on the Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Fishing website.

Please email Lance Lewis, Community Education Assistant with questions.

Lance.Lewis@mdc.mo.gov
Registration period: August 8 - October 13
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023 8:00 am - Saturday, October 14, 2023 10:00 am
Location: Jay Henges Shooting Range
Get ready for your Fall hunting and camping trips with this Dutch Oven cooking class. We will go over Dutch oven parts, controlling temperature, care and cleaning, and more. This is a hands-on class, where we will cook an entrée and a dessert item. All equipment and food are included. If you have dietary restrictions, please notify us at the time of registration so proper accommodations can be made. Ages 10 and up. Children ages 10-15 must have a parent or guardian present.
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023 2:00 pm - Saturday, October 14, 2023 6:00 pm
Location: Big Creek Conservation Area

In partnership with the Adair Co. YMCA, the Missouri Department of Conservation is sponsoring a community event for any female role model and their special young man to attend the Mother-Son Nature Night at the Big Creek Conservation Area.

This even has an admission taken by the YMCA that will benefit their Child Nutrition Program. ($10/couple, $2 per additional child, no more than $15 as a cap) Hotdogs and chips are included in the admission!

Activities will include fishing and archery lessons (all equipment provided), crafts, a marshmallow roast, a nature-themed scavenger hunt, yard games and temporary tattoos!

Rain Date: Saturday, October 21st from 2-6 pm

Registration period: September 27 - October 14
Date: Monday, October 16, 2023 5:00 pm - Monday, October 16, 2023 7:30 pm
Location: Forest Park Hatchery

*This lesson is required for anyone wanting to take Lessons 2-4*

Discover Nature Fishing Lesson 1 & 2

This a combined class that 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, how to properly handle and release a fish, how to tie a proper knot, and how to properly bait a hook.

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 and Families of all ages! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

All participants who complete all 4 Discover Nature Fishing Lessons will go home with a free fishing reward to encourage fishing with the family.

To register your child, you may need to make a family account, or add them to an existing family account. You can also make you child their own, separate account.

Please meet at the Forest Park Hatchery!