MDC holding Discover Nature Fishing class 1 July 13 at Shaw Nature Reserve

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Saint Louis
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GRAY SUMMIT, Mo.—Fishing can become a lasting passion and enable a person to develop a lifelong connection to nature.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to help families and kids learn how to fish through its Discover Nature Fishing (DNF) program.  DNF consists of four progressive lessons that move newcomers through all the basics of the sport and gives them the knowledge and confidence to go fishing on their own. 

MDC will offer the first lesson of the DNF sequence Saturday, July 13 from 9 - 11 a.m. at Shaw Nature Reserve. To register, visit  

Lesson 1 covers equipment, casting, and proper fish handling.  Participants will learn how to cast a spincast reel and rod properly and safely, the key parts of a fishing rod, how to fasten basic fishing tackle and how to properly handle and release a fish.

All DNF lessons combine instruction with hands-on fishing practice to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills.  The main focus of the program is kids 7-15 years of age, but it also emphasizes family involvement and encourages parents, guardians, and youths, 16 and over, to participate as well. 

All children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.  Adults new to fishing have the opportunity to learn the basics right alongside their children.  However, DNF is not intended as an adult-only program. 

The class is free, and all fishing equipment is provided.  Participants 16 to 64 years of age do need a fishing permit to fish during this program.

MDC’s DNF classes 2-4 will be offered at various times.  Those lesson topics include:

  • How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook
  • Five Common Missouri Fish - Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle
  • Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations

Each person who completes all four classes in the same DNF season will receive a free rod and reel combo, tackle box, landing net, or tackle box kit.

Shaw Nature Reserve is located in Gray Summit at 307 Pinetum Loop Road, on the south side of I-44 off exit #253.

To find out more about the program and links to register for other DNF classes online, visit