MDC offers free fishing skills classes in northwest Missouri

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St. Joseph, – Summer is a wonderful time to go fishing and be outdoors. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers a free Discover Nature—Fishing Program that teaches newcomers the basics about how to catch fish, handle tackle, and where to go fishing. Some upcoming sessions are scheduled for June in northwest Missouri.

MDC staff and volunteers will provide loaner fishing gear and hands-on instruction about rods, reels, lures, bait, fish ecology, and how to prepare the fish you catch for cooking. Discover Nature — Fishing is offered in four class sessions, and after each classroom session there will be time for actual fishing in a pond or lake.

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

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.

Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, at the Krug Park Lagoon in St. Joseph, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, at Everyday Pond on the campus of Missouri Western State University.

Lesson 3 and Lesson 4 will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, at Krug Park Lagoon in St. Joseph, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, at Everyday Pond on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph. 

Other lessons will also be offered at various times and locations throughout the summer. These classes are a great way for children, teenagers and adults to gain the confidence and knowledge to successfully catch fish. Some libraries or community centers around Missouri offer free checkout of loaner fishing gear.

To sign up for a Discover Nature—Fishing class, or to watch for other scheduled fishing classes and special events, visit For more information, call the MDC Northwest Regional Office at 816-271-3100.