MDC offers free Discover Nature — Fishing programs

News from the region
Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – Fishing’s mysteries are solvable. What swims beneath the water’s surface? How can rods, reels and lures be used to catch one? I caught one, what next?

Discover Nature — Fishing provides the answers, puts loaner fishing gear in an angler’s hands and provides instruction at the water’s edge as participants follow class time with actual fishing. This free program offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offered in four class sessions.  In May, two sets of those sessions are being offered in the Kansas City area. One set will be offered at the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area in Blue Springs, and the other at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit.

“We provide a very easy way for people to come and get hands-on instruction and ask questions that are pertinent to them,” said Pam Lanigan, MDC fisheries regional supervisor.

The lesson outline includes:

  • Lesson One: Equipment, Casting, and Proper Fish Handling
  • Lesson Two: How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook
  • Lesson Three: Five Common Missouri Fish - Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle
  • Lesson Four: Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations 

 “We’re teaching people how to fish from the basics and then go on to become an experienced angler,” Lanigan said.

MDC provides fishing equipment for the lessons. Participants will learn what kind of gear is needed for the type of fishing they would like to do and how to use it effectively. By lesson three they will learn what fish utilize different types of water, such as lakes, ponds or streams, and their preferences for food and habitat as the seasons change.

After each class, instructors and participants will try out gear and skills at a pond or lake near the class site. If questions arise about casting techniques, lures or bait, instructors can answer them.

“You get to try out your skills right away,” Lanigan said. “They immediately take you fishing. An instructor is standing beside you.”

Participants must take Lesson One and Lesson Two to be eligible for Lesson Three and Lesson Four. They can take the lessons at varied locations as they are offered.

To sign up for the classes at Burr Oak Woods or the Reed Area, call 816-622-0900. For the dates and times of the Discover Nature — Fishing classes in the Kansas City area, and elsewhere in the state, visit More classes will be offered through the summer.

This link also provides more information about the free program and links to other angling information such as basic fishing tips, places to fish and classes on how to clean or cook fish. Also, a link is provided to sites such as community libraries where MDC has provided fishing gear that can be checked out and used for free, just like checking out and returning a book from the library. MDC also welcomes inquiries from volunteers who would like to help teach Discover Nature — Fishing.

MDC connects people with nature, and fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.