MDC will host free fishing lessons at Bray CA May 30, June 1

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff will teach basic fishing courses at Bray Conservation Area (CA) Thursday, May 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 1, from 9 to 11 a.m. MDC Resource Science Aide Mitchell Boatright, said participants must attend the first two courses on Thursday, or have attended them before, to attend the lessons Saturday. These courses are for children ages 7 to 15 and their families.

“Part of our mission at MDC is to help people discover nature,” Boatright said. “Fishing is an exceptional activity that reduces stress and is perfect for learning about nature. By equipping children and families with these skills, we know they’ll continue to enjoy the outdoors for years to come.”

Thursday’s courses will include lessons one and two of MDC’s Discover Nature Fishing lessons. Lesson one covers equipment, casting and proper fish handling. It combines instruction with a hands-on fishing opportunity to teach young anglers and families basic fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn how to safely cast a spin cast fishing pole, identify parts of a fishing pole, how to fasten basic fishing tackle and how to properly handle and release a fish.

Lesson two will include how to tie a knot and bait a hook, along with hands-on fishing instruction to teach intermediate fishing techniques and skills. Participants will learn to tie an improved clinch knot and how to properly secure a variety of baits to various types of hooks.

Saturday’s courses will include lessons three and four. Lesson three covers identification and information about five common Missouri fish, including their anatomy, habitat, and life cycle. Basic biological concepts and functions specific to largemouth bass, bluegill, hybrid sunfish, channel catfish and rainbow trout will be discussed. In addition, participants will learn about various types of fish habitat and aquatic food webs.

Lesson four covers fishing with lures and fishing regulations combined with instruction on hands-on fishing to teach young anglers and families how to properly select a fishing lure based on desired fish species, weather and water conditions. In addition, participants will learn how to identify and understand fishing regulations.

Boatright said fishing equipment, including bait and lures will be provided. Adults who do not wish to fish must accompany their children. Registration is required in advance at