MDC offers free Missouri River catfishing clinic June 5-6 at Kansas City

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Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri River is big, and so are many of the catfish that swim within its flowing water. A free catfishing clinic on the river will be offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6. Participants will learn about catfishing on the river and how to prepare their catch for cooking. The sessions will include actual fishing time on the river.

This program is appropriate for families including children age 13 and older. The first session will start at noon on Saturday, June 5, at the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs.

“We'll learn all about building various types of set lines and how to use them to target the Missouri River's blue, flathead, and channel catfish,” said John Rittel, MDC community education assistant. “Then in the evening, we'll head out on the river in MDC boats to set trotlines, jug lines, and limb lines for catfish.”

There will be a break in between instruction at Burr Oak Woods and the journey to the river to set lines. Participants will have a short opportunity to eat dinner between the orientation and time on the river. They should bring their own snacks, water, and dress appropriately for the weather. Afternoon is likely to be hot, morning will be cool.

“We'll meet again bright and early on Sunday morning and head out on the river to collect the fish that we caught overnight,” Rittel said. “We'll end the morning with a catfish cleaning demonstration and participants will have an opportunity to clean some of the fish we catch.”

MDC will provide all equipment including PFDs (life vests) for each person. Participants are welcome to bring their own Coast Guard approved PFD if they prefer. PFDs will be required on MDC boats at all times. This program is dependent on safe weather and river conditions. Participants will be contacted if conditions are not acceptable on the weekend of the event. COVID-19 safety protocols such as encouraging face masks when in close proximity will be followed.  

All participants must register separately. Due to limited space in the boats, please do not bring any participants who are not registered for this event. For additional information or for assistance with registration, contact Rittel at To register for this event, visit