MDC offers free Discover Nature — Fishing classes

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St. Joseph, Mo. – May and June are wonderful months to go fishing, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) teaches new anglers how and where to fish. MDC will offer two sets of Discover Nature — Fishing lessons in northwest Missouri during May. These lessons are free and MDC provides all necessary equipment and takes participants fishing at ponds after class time.

“I prefer the hands-on approach,” said Tori McNutt, MDC angler education assistant. Participants truly grasp the skills, McNutt said, “when they handle the fishing pole and fish.”

Discover Nature — Fishing is offered in four lessons. Lesson 1 covers equipment, casting and proper fish handling. Lesson Two teaches the proper knows for fishing line and how to bait a hook. Lesson 3 covers common Missouri fish and their habitats and life cycles. In Lesson 4, participants learn about various fishing lures and about fishing regulations. MDC staff and volunteers provide instruction in the classroom and then accompany participants to a pond where they try out their new fishing skills.

“More than likely they will catch fish,” McNutt said. “Over the course of the classes, so far everybody has caught fish.”

MDC will offer Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 on May 11 at the Hartell Conservation Area northeast of Plattsburg. Then Lessons 3 and 4 will be offered May 12 at the Hartell area, which has an indoor classroom and several stocked ponds. Both sessions are from 5 to 7 p.m.

A series of Discover Nature — Fishing classes will also be offered at MDC’s Northwest Regional Office in St. Joseph. Lessons 1 and 2 will be offered on May 23. Lesson 3 will be offered May 24, and Lesson 4 will be offered on May 25. The office is located on the campus of Missouri Western State University. A pond on campus will be utilized for fishing. All sessions are scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Pre-registration is required for the classes. Registration for the lessons at Hartell Conservation Area are due by May 5. Registration for the classes at the Northwest Regional Office are due by May 19. To register or for more information, call 816-271-3100.

More Discover Nature — Fishing classes will scheduled in the future and they are offered throughout the state. Volunteers are also sought to help teach lessons. For more information, visit