MDC’s Discover Nature—Fishing classes ramp up in St. Louis area

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Saint Louis
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ST. LOUIS, Mo.—“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles,” said cartoonist Doug Larson. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to help families and kids concentrate on the “important things in life” by helping them to get out fishing.  It has plenty of fishing poles, too.

One of the biggest obstacles to trying a new activity, however, is lack of knowledge.  MDC’s Discover Nature—Fishing program aims to help families and youths overcome that obstacle by empowering them with all the knowledge they need to discover a lifelong activity.

MDC is holding Discover Nature—Fishing classes this year at both Forest Park in St. Louis and the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles.

Instead of being a one-time, get in/get out experience, Discover Nature—Fishing consists of four progressive lessons that move newcomers through all the basics of the sport, and gives them the knowledge and confidence to go fishing on their own. 

The main focus of Discover Nature—Fishing is kids 7-15 years of age, but it also emphasizes family involvement and encourages parents, guardians, and youths, 16 and over, to participate as well.  All youths must be accompanied by an adult.  Adults new to fishing have the opportunity to learn the basics right alongside their children.  However, Discover Nature—Fishing is not intended as an adult-only program.

The classes are free and all fishing equipment is provided.  Each class runs two hours.  After a lesson is taught lake-side by trained Discover Nature—Fishing volunteers, participants then spend an hour or more fishing, putting what they’ve learned into practice.

The four classes include:

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

To find a list of program dates and times, visit the Discover Nature-Fishing website at   Those interested in registering for a Discover Nature-Fishing class, or becoming a volunteer instructor for the program, should call 636-441-4554.