Organizations in several area communities have partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to make fishing more accessible through MDC’s Rod and Reel Loaner Program.
Through this program, which is available in select communities throughout the state, individuals can check out fishing poles and tackle boxes for free at participating sites. The fishing poles are equipped with standard spin-cast reels. The tackle boxes are supplied with hooks, sinkers and bobbers for basic fishing opportunities. The individual will need to bring their own live bait or desired lures to bait the hook.
In Springfield, loaner fishing equipment is available through the MDC’s Rod and Reel Loaner Program at Valley Water Mill Park and Fellows Lake Marina.
Other MDC Rod and Reel loaner program locations in this area are the Branson Taneyhills Community Library in Branson, the Carthage Public Library and the Geneva Sharp Library in Stockton.
Check at each site for information on check-out procedures and rules specific to that location.
“This is a great program,” said Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Management Biologist Dave Woods. “In the summer, a kid could ride their bike to one of these locations, pick up a pole and go fishing for the day at a nearby lake or stream.”
This program is part of MDC’s Angler Recruitment and Retention Plan, a strategic plan designed to increase angler participation across the state by offering angling education courses to the public, increasing awareness of Missouri’s aquatic resources and increasing fishing opportunities for all Missouri citizens.
Another component of this plan is MDC’s Discover Nature Fishing program. This program is a four-lesson series geared towards families and youths ages 7-15. The lessons will be offered on Saturday mornings through the summer at select sites across Missouri.
In this part of the state, these lessons are being offered at the Bois D’Arc Conservation Area’s educational pond and at Walter Woods Conservation Area near Joplin. The lessons cover casting, proper fish handling, tying on hooks, stocking a tackle box, fish identification, how to release a fish, regulations and other topics.
To find out more about these classes and to register, contact the MDC Southwest Regional Office in Springfield at 417-895-6880.