MDC: Fish for free this weekend in Missouri

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation announces Free Fishing Days are coming up this week. Free Fishing Days in Missouri are the Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday in June. In 2019, those dates are June 8 and 9. On these two days, any person may fish state waters without permit, trout permit and prescribed area daily tag. This is a chance to try fishing before buying a permit.

Ben Stratton, conservation agent for Cape Girardeau County, says “if you’re not familiar with fishing, make it easier, by bringing an experienced angler with you to show you the ropes. Next time, you might be able to pay it forward and pass on the skills you learn this year.”

“If you are an experienced angler, we hope you’ll be taking your less experienced friends, children or grandchildren out to fish on these days and help them become successful anglers,” Stratton said. “It’s also a great way to spend family time together, and put food on the table.”

MDC’s Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host a Kid’s Fishing Skills Session Saturday, June 8, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The nature center will provide fishing poles and bait for children to fish in the Kid’s Only Fishing Pond, or for the whole family to take over to the larger lake in Cape County Park North. There will be a casting range, opportunities to learn how to identify fish species and clean fish, as well as some “fishy” crafts at the center. Registration is not required for this event.

Stratton said there are plenty of places to fish in southeast Missouri, which can be easily found using MDC’s mobile app, MO Fishing. The app includes a fish identification guide, as well as MDC-identified fishing locations and navigation to those areas. The app also includes fish attracters’ locations within the fishing areas.

“The app is one method we’re using to help people find fishing locations close to home,” Stratton said. “You can download the app and it’ll show you the fishing options closest to you.”

Stratton said MDC is also partnered with local libraries on a Rod and Reel Loaner program, which enables people to borrow fishing equipment at no cost.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to learn and take up fishing,” he said. “We have a lot of fishing opportunities available and we hope folks take advantage of them.”

Find Rod and Reel Loaner locations, fishing events and more information about fishing in Missouri at