Learn how to go fishing with free MDC classes and loaner tackle

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – The spring season and fishing are intertwined because it’s a beautiful and pleasant time to be outdoors, and the fish are active and catchable. People interested in learning how to fish have an entry point in the free Discover Nature—Fishing program offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Gear and basic fishing tips are provided. MDC also offers free loaner fishing gear at partner sites such as public libraries, park offices, and some MDC offices.

MDC staff and volunteers teach Discover Nature—Fishing classes in four separate lessons. Besides instruction, participants usually have a chance to go fishing in a pond or lake with teachers on hand to help with casting, baiting hooks, and handling fish once they’re landed.

  • Lesson one: Equipment, casting, and proper fishing handling.
  • Lesson two: How to tie a knot and bait a hook.
  • Lesson three: Five common Missouri fish – their anatomy, habits, and life cycle.
  • Lesson four: Fishing with lures and regulations.

Fishing permits are not required to take the classes. A participant must take lesson one before signing up for the other classes. All tackle and bait will be provided by MDC.

The Discover Nature—Fishing program is open to ages 7 and older, and participants ages 7-15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. This program welcomes families and individuals wanting to learn about fishing. Participants will gain the basic skills and confidence needed to catch fish. The lessons are usually held near a pond or lake to enable participants to go fishing.

For example, Discover Nature—Fishing classes are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, May 25, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at Prairie Hollow Lake at MDC’s James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit. Several class time options are offered on those days. While the classes are free, space is limited to 25 participants. To sign up for the classes offered during May at Prairie Hollow Lake, visit the MDC events online signup page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZxZ.

MDC offers a variety of fishing instructional programs, and more Discover Nature—Fishing classes will be scheduled at various locations throughout the summer. To find a program or to learn about fishing in general, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z4y.

Free loaner fishing gear can be checked out and returned, similar to checking out a library book. To find a location near you with loaner rod and reel sets, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZJq.