MDC offers easy ways to learn about fishing

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – Fish are mysterious creatures, living as they do under water, often in or near sunken hiding places. Catching them with a fishing pole is a journey into nature’s world. Fish fillets cook up nicely, too. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) connects people with simple and affordable ways to go fishing.

MDC’s free Discover Nature — Fishing classes provide hands-on instruction and actual fishing time with help from teachers. Four class sessions in the program give participants the experience and confidence to be successful. MDC also provides a variety of online tips such as how to rig a fishing pole or where to go fishing.

“It’s very easy to learn about fishing, especially with our four-lesson plan,” said John Rittel, MDC community education assistant. “We take anglers from the basic fishing skills to some pretty advanced methods. We give instruction, then we go fishing and we make sure everybody catches fish.”

Discover Nature — Fishing classes are held where a pond or lake is available for fishing. MDC provides all the necessary tackle and bait.

Simple fishing tackle works fine and is affordable. Spin casting rods and reels are easy to use and effective. Good quality fishing poles are available in the $20 to $25 price range, Rittel said.

“You can find some pretty decent gear cheap at garage sales,” he said. “Many people start out by borrowing from grandpa’s tackle box.”

MDC also partners with libraries and communities to provide free loaner fishing gear. Fishing poles and tackle boxes are available for check out at partner locations and some MDC offices. To find a location with loaner fishing equipment, visit

Missouri offers lakes and rivers big and small that are open to the public for fishing. Fishable waters are often close to home. MDC partners with communities to stock urban fishing lakes in parks. MDC conservation areas such as the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit offer well-managed lakes for fishing. Some conservation areas offer river access, such as the Platte Falls Conservation Area bordering the Platte River in Platte County. Good fishing spots with easy access to shores are found throughout the Kansas City and northwest regions. Some have docks or jetties accessible for those with mobility challenges.

Spring is a good time to go fishing. Species such as crappie, bass, bluegill, and catfish frequent shallow waters within casting distance. MDC’s digital MO Fishing app lets anglers connect with information about regulations, permits, and places to fish. Connect with the app at

Discover Nature — Fishing classes will be offered in a variety of locations through spring and summer and into autumn. MDC’s web page for the program has links to class offerings and links to pages with tips about fishing and how to prepare and cook fish. To connect with fishing, visit Discover Nature - Fishing | MDC Hunting and Fishing (