MDC hosts Discover Nature Fishing classes 1 and 2 Oct. 5 at Shaw Nature Reserve

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Saint Louis
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GRAY SUMMIT, Mo.—A lifelong passion for the outdoors and conservation might just begin with that first dip of a bobber. 

That’s why 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 two lessons of the DNF sequence back-to-back on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m.- noon at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit. 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.

Lesson 2 builds on the first, teaching participants to tie an improved clinch knot and how to properly secure bait on hooks.

All DNF lessons combine instruction with hands-on fishing practice to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills.  The event is open for ages 5 and up; children 5-15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.  The DNF program emphasizes family involvement and encourages parents, guardians, and youths, 16 and over, to participate as well.  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 classes are free, and all fishing equipment and bait is provided.  Participants will not need a fishing permit to fish during this particular program.

MDC’s DNF classes 3-4 will be offered at various times in the future.  Those lesson topics include:

  • 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.

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