Learn about fishing through MDC's Discover Nature Fishing

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Fishing is a great tool to introduce children to healthier lifestyles and it’s a good activity for strengthening family bonds. These are some of the many benefits of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Fishing Program.

This state-wide program provides a series of four instructional clinics to help kids and families gain skills and confidence to enjoy fishing. The classes, which are free, are for youths ages 7-15, but the entire family is encouraged to be involved. To be eligible to participate, youths must be accompanied by an adult. Families can also register and participate as a group.

Each class is two hours. Participants don’t have to take all four classes, but must take the first lesson before registering for any of the other three. The topics of the four clinics are:

  • Lesson 1: Equipment, casting, proper fish handling
  • Lesson 2: How to tie a knot and bait a hook
  • Lesson 3: Five common Missouri fish – their anatomy, habitats and life cycles
  • Lesson 4: Fishing with lures, fishing regulations Participants must complete Lessons 1 and 2 before taking 3 and 4.

Here is a schedule of upcoming classes in south-central Missouri: 

  • Sept. 8, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., MDC Ozark Regional Office, 551 Joe Jones Blvd, West Plains (Lessons 3 and 4)
  • Sept. 13, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., MDC Ozark Regional Office, (Lessons 1 and 2)
  • Sept. 15, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.; MDC Twin Pines Education Center, U.S. Highway 60, Winona (Lessons 1 and 2)
  • Sept. 20, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Montgomery Lake, Cabool, 250 S. Cedar Ave., (Lessons 3 and 4)
  • Sept. 22, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.; MDC Twin Pines Education Center (Lessons 3 and 4)
  • Sept. 27, 6 p.m. – 8 pm.; MDC Ozark Regional Office (Lessons 3 and 4) 

People can register for these classes by calling the MDC Ozark Regional Office in West Plains, 417-256-7161. Information about other upcoming Discover Nature Fishing classes can be found at mdc.mo.gov.