Learn how to fish at MDC's Discover Nature Fishing program

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Fishing is a great way to connect families with the outdoors. It’s 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 lessons to help kids and families gain skills and confidence to enjoy fishing. All classes are free. They are for youths ages 7-15, but the focus isn’t solely on children. To be eligible to participate, youths must be accompanied by an adult or people can register and participate as entire families.

Each class is two hours long. 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 One: Equipment, casting, proper fish handling

-       Lesson Two: How to tie a knot and bait a hook

-       Lesson Three: Five common Missouri fish – their anatomy, habitats and life cycles

-       Lesson Four: Fishing with lures, fishing regulations

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

-       July 17, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Marguerite Bray Conservation Area (Phelps County), Lessons 1 and 2

-       July 20, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.; Maurguerite Bray Conservation Area (Phelps County), Lessons 3 and 4

-       July 31, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.; Twin Pines Conservation Education Center (U.S. Highway 60, Winona), Lessons 1 and 2

-       Aug. 1, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.; Twin Pines Conservation Education Center (U.S. Highway 60, Winona), 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 huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/get-started-fishing/discover-nature-fishing. Registration is required because seating is limited for the indoors portions of these classes. MDC will supply all equipment, but participants over the age of 16 must possess a valid Missouri fishing permit.