Discover Nature Fishing

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Little girl holding a fish she caught.
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Discover Nature — Fishing offers families with children between the ages of 7 and 15 a hands-on introduction into angling.

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Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologists in Cape Girardeau are l
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It's more than breaking out the tackle box. That's why the department is looking for experienced anglers who are ready to lead the next generation of Missouri anglers.

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Program at a Glance
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  • 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
  • Classes are free
  • No permits or additional paperwork required
  • Bait and equipment provided

Enrollees must take lesson one to be eligible for later lessons. However, lessons two, three, and four may be taken in any order once lesson one has been completed.

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Basic Tackle

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Learn what you need for basic tackle before your next fishing trip in this episode of MDC’s Discover Nature-Fishing series.
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  • Each class is approximately two hours and will include indoor and outdoor segments.
  • Separate registration required for each participant
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • All registrants are expected to participate

Both the child and the accompanying adult(s) must be registered for classes in order to attend.

Due to limited space and seating, only those registered for a class may attend.

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All supplies and fishing equipment will be provided. However, you might want to bring the following:

  • Water bottle
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Insect repellent
  • Notebook and pencil
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Bad Weather:

In the event of class cancellation or rescheduling, registrants will be notified by either phone or email.

Withdraw from a Class:

To withdraw, navigate to My Events, log in, then select “cancel registration.” Remember that this will have to be done for every participant registered for the class.

Fishing Classes

Private Event | My Events | My Profile

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16
Registration period: January 1 - January 31
Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2023 2:30 pm - Wednesday, February 1, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Online only
Any time can be a great time to fish, soon the weather will turn warm and the Spring fishing season will be in full force. Now is the time to brush up on those fish-cleaning skills. We are starting a three-part session on fish cleaning. In this session, we will focus on equipment that will make cleaning fish easier and where to find them.
Registration period: September 20 - February 1
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2023 9:00 am - Saturday, February 4, 2023 12:00 pm
Location: Mark Twain Lake - M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor
Come spend a few relaxing hours learning the art of fly tying! Many different materials will be available for use, Pat will teach us the skill, and you can go home with a supply of your finished products!
Registration period: January 1 - February 7
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023 2:30 pm - Wednesday, February 8, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Online only
Any time can be a great time to fish, soon the weather will turn warm and the Spring fishing season will be in full force. Now is the time to brush up on those fish-cleaning skills. This session will focus on cleaning scaled fish like crappie, bass, and perch. We will look at some of the common equipment needed and common methods of cleaning these fish.
Registration period: January 1 - February 14
Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 2:30 pm - Wednesday, February 15, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center
Any time can be a great time to fish, soon the weather will turn warm and the Spring fishing season will be in full force. Now is the time to brush up on those fish-cleaning skills. This session will focus on cleaning skinned fish with an emphasis on catfish. We will look at some of the common equipment needed and common methods of cleaning these fish.
Registration period: January 10 - February 16
Date: Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:00 am - Saturday, February 18, 2023 12:00 pm
Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Have you ever been squirrel hunting and started wondering what other uses there are for the resources aside from the meat? In this program, we focus on secondary uses of squirrels by crafting with the leftovers. Namely the ability to create fishing lures from the hair on the tails. Join MDC staff as we walk you through how to take a squirrel tail from its raw form, and turn it into lures that will have you catching panfish left and right!

This program will occur entirely indoors in a classroom setting. Participants are encouraged to bring their own tying gear (vice, bobbin, whip finisher are essential), but loaner equipment will be provided for those that cannot bring their own. Consumables such as thread, hooks, and hair will be provided by MDC.
Registration period: September 20 - February 15
Date: Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:00 am - Saturday, February 18, 2023 12:00 pm
Location: James Youth Center
Come spend a few relaxing hours learning the art of fly tying! Many different materials will be available for use, Pat will teach us the skill, and you can go home with a supply of your finished products!
Registration period: January 1 - February 21
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 2:30 pm - Wednesday, February 22, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Online only
Snagging season is just around the corner. Now is the time to learn about the different gear you will need to snag/grab some of our nongame fish. We will discuss rods, reels, lines, hooks, and other gear to help make a successful outing, whether you catch fish or not.
Registration period: January 23 - February 21
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 2:30 pm - Wednesday, February 22, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Online only
Snagging season is just around the corner. Now is the t time to learn about the different gear you will need to snag/grab some of our nongame fish. We will discuss rods, reels, lines, hooks, and other gear to help make a successful outing, whether you catch fish or not.
Registration period: January 12 - February 23
Date: Friday, February 24, 2023 6:30 pm - Friday, February 24, 2023 8:00 pm
Location: Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center
Have you ever wanted to go trout fishing but didn’t know what to use or where to go? We will discuss locations to fish, essential equipment, basic fishing methods, and lure selection. With this information, you’ll be ready to wet a hook on opening day, March 1!
Registration period: January 12 - February 23
Date: Saturday, February 25, 2023 1:00 pm - Saturday, February 25, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: St. Louis Regional Office/Busch Memorial CA

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get outside this winter with the gals, this is the program for you! Whether you’re an avid fly-fisher or have never tried it and always wanted to learn, join us for a fun afternoon of trout fishing on the lake at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. We’ll have casting practice for anyone who wants it, and plenty of time to fish. We will also have other spin cast poles rigged for trout fishing available for anyone who would prefer not to fly-fish. We will all be fishing from the bank; no waders will be available or allowed. A fishing permit will not be needed, but if you would like to keep any trout that you catch you will need to purchase a Trout Stamp for $10. Please dress appropriately to be outside.

This program is a part of our Women in the Woods series, focused on women coming together and learning and using outdoor skills. This is a judgement free program open to people of all experience levels, identities, and backgrounds.

Please register each individual attending separately.
Registration period: September 20 - March 1
Date: Saturday, March 4, 2023 9:00 am - Saturday, March 4, 2023 12:00 pm
Location: Ralls County Public Library
Come spend a few relaxing hours learning the art of fly tying! Many different materials will be available for use, Pat will teach the skill, and you can go home with a supply of your finished products!
Registration period: January 12 - March 9
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2023 6:30 pm - Thursday, March 9, 2023 8:30 pm
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Advanced crappie fishing clinic

Are you tired of seeing all the Facebook post of other folks catching crappie? While your fishing trips have been uneventful? Do you want to learn some advance crappie fishing techniques and strategies? Do you want to increase your knowledge of modern fishing electronic? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you! We are partnering with Brad Shockley of I Am Outdoors and other local crappie fishing guides on area lakes to host a workshop educating crappie anglers on fishing techniques that will take your next fishing trip to a whole new level.

Workshop includes:

- Current regulations with an emphasis on Lake Pomme De Terre, Stockton, Table Rock, and Fellows Lakes

- Crappie fishing methods and equipment

• Doddle socking

• Spider rigging

• Dock fishing

• Using live bait

• Jigging

- Patterns, associated techniques and lures for each season

- How to fish a brush pile

- How to fish standing timber

- Locating crappie – analyzing a lake map

- Introduction to modern electronics

Crappie is one of the most sought-after fish by anglers in Missouri, give yourself an advantage on the lake. Each participant will receive some proven tackle to try on their next crappie fishing adventure!

Location: Springfield Nature Center Auditorium

4601 S Nature Center Way

Springfield, Mo. 65804

When: March 9th, 2023

Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

If you have any questions, please contact Lyle Whittaker at Lyle.whittaker@mdc.mo.gov or call (417) 895-6880 Ext. 1644

Registration period: January 27 - March 22
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 10:00 am - Wednesday, March 22, 2023 11:30 am
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center
Learn the essentials of fishing! We will cover what type of equipment is needed, how to tie and bait your hook, how to cast, and let you get a chance to try your hand at fishing. Please dress for the weather, a portion of this program will be outdoors.
Registration period: January 27 - March 22
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 2:00 pm - Wednesday, March 22, 2023 3:30 pm
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center
Learn the essentials of fishing! We will cover what type of equipment is needed, how to tie and bait your hook, how to cast, and let you get a chance to try your hand at fishing. Please dress for the weather, a portion of this program will be outdoors.
Registration period: January 23 - March 28
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2023 2:30 pm - Wednesday, March 29, 2023 3:00 pm
Location: Online only

Snagging season is open and the suckers are getting ready to shoal. Now is the time to learn about the different gear you will need to snag/

grab these nongame fish. We will discuss rods, reels, lines, hooks, and other gear to help make a successful outing, whether you catch fish or not.
Registration period: January 18 - May 2
Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 6:30 pm - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 8:00 pm
Location: Online only

Muskie Fishing Program – Virtual Program

Did you know the Missouri Department of Conservation stocks Muskie in Fellow’s Lake just north of Springfield? Do you want to learn basic Muskie fishing methods? This hands-on workshop is for YOU! MDC Conservation Educator Lyle Whittaker is partnering with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, Springfield Utilities, and the Pomme D Terre Muskie Inc. to offer this unique opportunity for anglers who want to give muskie fishing a try! The workshop has multiple parts. A virtual program on May 2nd will be followed by an in-person fishing session. Anglers registered and attending the in-person fishing event on May 5th are highly encouraged to attend the virtual program! 12 anglers will be allowed to register for the in-person fishing event to be held May 5th (7:00am-11:30am). We will be casting and trolling for muskie but remember Fellow’s Lake holds a healthy population of walleyes as well (that’s why it is called fishing!) Anglers attending should have at least some experiences in casting and operating a spinning reel. All equipment and supplies will be provided by MDC. However, anglers are welcome to bring their own poles, tackle, and PFD (Personal Floatation Device.) All participants must possess a current Missouri fishing permit (if not exempt.)

Topics covered in the virtual program

- Muskie biology

- Regulations

- Equipment and tackle

- Methods of fishing for muskie

May 5th in-person on the lake fishing event

- 4 hours of muskie fishing

- Casting and trolling

Registration is required for both the virtual program and the in-person event. Registration is separate on the MDC events page. Events | Missouri Department of Conservation (mo.gov) For more information or questions contact Lyle Whittaker (417)895-6880 Ext. 1644 or email Lyle.whittaker@mdc.mo.gov