MDC is giving away free fishing gear at over 100 locationsOzark Radio News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Want to fish, but don’t have the gear? The Missouri Department of Conservation can help with its free rod and reel loaner program.
MDC’s Rod and Reel Loaner Program provides free fishing gear at more than 100 locations across the state, including many MDC libraries, offices and nature centers, select state parks and several marinas .
In addition to getting a rod with a standard reel, MDC also provides a small tackle box with hooks, sinkers, bobbers and rope to hold the catch. Anglers must bring their own live bait or desired lures.
“Fishing is a great way to spend time with family, relieve stress, enjoy the outdoors and even eat a meal,” said Andrew Branson, MDC Fishing Program Specialist. “This unique program gives kids and adults who don’t have fishing gear the opportunity to try it out before investing in gear.
MDC launched the program in 2014 and now offers more than 4,000 fishing gear sets at 100 locations across the state, including many libraries. The Mid-Continent Public Library in Smithville recently became the 100th lending location, with more being added. Organizations from several communities have partnered with MDC to provide equipment.
For a list of MDC Rod and Reel Loaner locations, visit MDC Online.
To also help people get hooked on fishing, MDC offers its Discover Nature Fishing program from May through September at many locations in Missouri. The free series of four lessons is aimed at families and young people aged 7 to 15.
Discover Nature Fishing courses are taught by experienced anglers and cover equipment, casting, proper fish handling, setting hooks, storing a tackle box, fish identification, how to release a fish, regulations and other topics.
Get more information about MDC’s Discover Nature Fishing program online.