Columbia Bottom offers free bowfishing basics class in June

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Saint Louis
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SPANISH LAKE, Mo — There’s more than one way to catch a fish.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to help anglers discover something that might just be a new “angle” for pursuing their favorite fish. 

How about trading a rod and reel for a bow and arrow?

MDC is offering a two-day bowfishing bsasics class at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake June 14 and 16 for ages 11 and up.  This introductory program is for beginners who want to learn how to get started in this exciting sport.  By using archery equipment and methods, bowfishing merges aspects of both fishing and hunting into one activity.

Day one will take place at Columbia Bottom Thursday, June 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The class will cover topics that include safety aspects, proper gear, fish ID, regulations, and ethics.  All participants who attend the first day will have the opportunity to use MDC provided gear with guidance from staff naturalists on the second day.  Participants are welcome to use their own equipment, too.

Day two will be held Saturday, June 16 from 8 a.m. to noon.  It will offer a field experience where the new bowfishers can put into practice techniques learned in the classroom during a real bow fishing opportunity.  Actual location will depend on weather, water levels and accessibility. 

All participants must attend day one to take part on day two.  A valid fishing or hunting permit is also required to attend this program.  Those 15 years of age or younger, or 65 years of age or older, are exempt.

The program is free but advanced registration is required by going online to

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located at 801 Strodtman Road in north St. Louis County.  The area can be reached by taking the Riverview Drive Exit from I-270 and travelling north approximately 3 miles.