Fishing Classes

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Adult and two children fishing on edge of lake
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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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Discover Nature–Fishing event
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Fishing Classes
Displaying 1 - 25 of 30
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 9:00 am - Tuesday, June 15, 2021 11:00 am
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 suitable for outdoor and water activities. 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.
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 5:30 pm - Tuesday, June 15, 2021 7:30 pm

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.

Everyone who is attending must be registered.
Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021 5:30 pm - Thursday, June 17, 2021 7:30 pm

Lesson 3:

Lesson 1&2 must be taken before any of other Discover Nature Fishing lessons 3-4.

Everyone who is attending must be registered.

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.
Registration period: May 1 - June 17
Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021 6:30 pm - Thursday, June 17, 2021 8:30 pm
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.

Date: Saturday, June 19, 2021 9:00 am - Saturday, June 19, 2021 11:00 am
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 suitable for outdoor and water activities. 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.
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 9:00 am - Tuesday, June 22, 2021 11:00 am
Location: St. Louis Regional Office/Busch Memorial CA

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 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.
Registration period: June 8 - June 22
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 2:00 pm - Wednesday, June 23, 2021 5:00 pm
Location: MDC Northeast Regional Office
MDC invites anyone age 12 and older to register for this free clinic that will cover how to tie basic flies using specialized equipment, and how to present the various flies to improve the chances of catching fish with them. MDC will provide all necessary equipment, but participants should bring reading glasses if they use them.
Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021 6:00 pm - Thursday, June 24, 2021 8:00 pm
Location: Spencer Lake

Cane poles are literally made from canes cut from bamboo – and are arguably the oldest of all fishing rods. Join us to learn about cane poles, how to make them and how to use them. Participants will make their own cane pole and get to take it home! Poles and all supplies will be provided. This program will be held outside, at Spencer Lake.

You MUST REGISTER at mdc.mo.gov/events by 5pm, June 23rd. If you need help registering, please email the email address listed below. This is a FREE program! All ages are welcome, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration period: May 25 - June 25
Date: Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:00 am - Saturday, June 26, 2021 12:00 pm
Location: Tywappity Community Lake
Come enjoy a morning in the sun on beautiful Tywappity Lake. What better way to take the the sights and sounds than with a fishing rod in your hand? This program is designed for new anglers or new kayakers or both! Participants are welcome to bring their own fishing equipment or borrow ours. Kayaking instruction will be given to all, and then you may choose to go alone or spend time with an instructor to learn the basics of fishing from a kayak. Bait, lures, kayaks, paddles and lifejackets will be provided as well as knowledgeable conservation staff to help you try for the big one. Participants 16 and older are required to possess a valid Missouri fishing permit. Participants are asked to meet at the boat launch off HWY RA near Chaffee, MO with a waterbottle, snacks or lunch, and weather appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
Date: Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:00 am - Saturday, June 26, 2021 11:00 am
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 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.
Registration period: March 5 - June 26
Date: Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:00 am - Saturday, June 26, 2021 12:00 pm
Location: Prairie Hollow Lake, James A. Reed MWA

First thing in the morning we'll spend a little time catching some fish, then we'll demonstrate several easy methods of cleaning common Missouri fish, and participants will have an opportunity to try their hand at cleaning some of the fish that they caught.

We'll finish up the morning by using the fish that we clean to demonstrating some delicious recipes for everyone to sample.

Missouri Department of Conservation will provide rods, tackle, bait, knives, cleaning boards and fishing coaches.

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

All children must be accompanied by a registered adult.

Each participant must register individually. Please email the instructor for assistance with registration.
Date: Monday, June 28, 2021 5:00 pm - Tuesday, June 29, 2021 7:00 pm
Location: Ronald and Maude Hartell Conservation Area
Registration period: June 3 - June 28
Date: Monday, June 28, 2021 5:30 pm - Monday, June 28, 2021 7:30 pm
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.

Everyone that will be attending must be registered.
Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 5:00 pm - Tuesday, June 29, 2021 7:00 pm
Location: Ronald and Maude Hartell Conservation Area
Registration period: June 3 - June 30
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2021 5:30 pm - Wednesday, June 30, 2021 7:30 pm
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.

Everyone that will be attending must be registered.
Registration period: June 2 - June 30
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2021 8:00 pm - Wednesday, June 30, 2021 11:00 pm
Location: James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area

Join us for a frog gigging clinic at the James A Reed Memorial Wildlife Area.

We'll begin the evening with an amphibian program to help participants understand the difference between the different frogs that they are likely to encounter as the search for the areas bull and green frogs.

We'll also spend a little time learning how to harvest frogs with lots of tips from local experts.

Then at about sunset we'll head out to the area lakes to try our luck harvesting some frogs. Each individual participant or family will be accompanied on the area by an MDC approved mentor.

When we are finished hunting we'll do a frog cleaning demonstration and help participants clean their frogs before they leave the clinic.

Each participant must register for this clinic separately. For assistance with registration or for additional information, please contact John Rittel 816-604-8117, john.rittel@mdc.mo.gov

Missouri Department of Conservation will provide mentors, frog gigs, flashlights and frog cleaning supplies. Feel free to bring a strong flashlight and/or a headlamp though if you have them. Wear clothes and shoes that you do not mind getting wet and muddy. Bug spray is recommended.

Clinic participants will meet at the shelter house located inside the James A Reed Memorial Wildlife Area directly across from the horse trailer parking lot.

Fishing permits are not required to participate in this clinic.

All children under the age a 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Registration period: April 19 - July 7
Date: Thursday, July 8, 2021 6:00 pm - Thursday, July 8, 2021 8:30 pm
Location: Platte Ridge Park

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.

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. Email instructor for assistance with registering for this program

Registration period: June 21 - July 8
Date: Saturday, July 10, 2021 9:30 am - Saturday, July 10, 2021 11:30 am
Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (families)

This is a great time of year to take your family fishing. We will teach some fishing basics, provide equipment and worms, then let you practice your new fishing skills. Kids who attend will be entered in a drawing at the end of the summer for a new fishing pole and tackle box.
Registration period: February 1 - July 13
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 5:30 pm - Wednesday, July 14, 2021 7:30 pm
Location: Lake Jacomo Marina

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. 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.

This program will go on rain or shine since we will be under the cover of the Jacomo Marina dock.

Participants will be asked to maintain safe social distance with staff and other participants who are not their family members distance during this program.
Registration period: June 15 - July 12
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021 9:00 am - Thursday, July 15, 2021 11:00 am
Location: Bellefontaine Conservation Area
This fishing program will include all the basics of cane pole fishing including proper fish handling. Please meet at the pavilion located at the Bellefontaine Conservation Area. Ages 6 and up, participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants 16 and over who plan to fish will need a valid fishing license which can be purchased here https://mdc-web.s3licensing.com/.
Registration period: May 25 - July 9
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021 5:30 pm - Thursday, July 15, 2021 8:30 pm
This basic course will start with a presentation on rules, regulations, and equipment. After covering fish ID we will head down to the spill way to try out the new skill. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a registered adult. Please dress for the weather, and plan to possibly get wet and muddy. Equipment will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own.
Registration period: April 19 - July 14
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021 6:00 pm - Thursday, July 15, 2021 8:30 pm
Location: Platte Ridge Park

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.

Equipment, bait and fishing coaches will be provided.

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 register for this program individually on the Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Fishing website. For assistance with registration please email the program instructor.

Registration period: June 7 - July 5
Date: Friday, July 16, 2021 4:30 pm - Saturday, July 17, 2021 12:00 pm
Location: Mississippi River Alexandria
MDC staff and volunteers will instruct participants on the basics of setline fishing on Missouri’s rivers and lakes. Participants will attend a seminar on fisheries management, with information on the recent catfish survey led by an MDC Fisheries Management biologist. The program will be a hands-on tutorial of how to safely set trot-lines and bank poles, properly label equipment, and boat operation. These tactics can be used in streams and some lakes of Missouri. Following the river outing, A Conservation Agent will present fishing regulations and staff will give a how-to presentation on using gear and equipment. Sign up is limited to anglers that are new to setline fishing.
Registration period: June 9 - July 16
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2021 6:00 pm - Saturday, July 17, 2021 10:00 pm
Location: Burr Oak Woods W. Robert Aylward Education Pond
Registration period: June 9 - July 16
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2021 6:00 pm - Saturday, July 17, 2021 10:00 pm
Location: Burr Oak Woods W. Robert Aylward Education Pond

Learn how to catch channel, flathead and blue catfish in Missouri's farm ponds, lakes and rivers, then try your luck with a fishing opportunity at the Burr Oaks Woods educational pond. Afterwards, learn how to clean a catfish and sample a couple of catfish recipes during a cooking demonstration.

This event will take place at the Burr Oaks Woods educational pond and pavilion. Do not go to the nature center.

No fishing permit required to fish at this event.

MDC will provide rods, tackle and bait.

Participants must be 8 years or older and participants under 15 must be accompanied by an adult

Each participant must register for this program separately. Email John Rittel for assistance with registration or for additional information.