MDC's Discover Nature Fishing teaches fishing fundamentals

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Fishing is a great way to connect families with the outdoors. It’s a great tool to introduce children to healthier lifestyles and it’s a good activity for strengthening family bonds. These are some of the many benefits of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Fishing Program. 

This state-wide program provides free lessons to help kids and families gain skills and confidence to enjoy fishing through a series of four instructional clinics. Each of the four two-hour lessons is followed by hands-on fishing opportunities for participants. All classes are free. Equipment and bait is provided for participant use. Youths ages 7-15 and their families are encouraged to participate. Youths must be accompanied by an adult. Participants can also register and take part in the classes as entire families. People don’t have to enroll for all four lessons, but they must take the first lesson before registering for any of the other three. The topics of the clinics are:

  • Lesson One: Equipment, casting, proper fish handling
  • Lesson Two: How to tie a knot and bait a hook
  • Lesson Three: Five common Missouri fish – their anatomy, habitats and life cycles
  • Lesson Four: Fishing with lures, fishing regulations 

In the upcoming weeks, two Discover Nature Fishing Classes will be taught at MDC’s Ozark Regional Office in West Plains (551 Joe Jones Blvd.).

  • June 24, 9-11 a.m., (Lessons 1 and 2)
  • July 1, 9-11 a.m., (Lessons 3 and 4)

Anyone who participates in all four lessons will be eligible for a $25 Bass Pro gift card. People can register for these classes by calling the MDC Ozark Regional Office in West Plains, 417-256-7161. Information about other upcoming Discover Nature Fishing classes can be found at