Teaching people of all ages about fishing.
Fishing Education

Share the joy of fishing with youth and adults in your community. Check out these resources to get you started.

An Introduction to Ice Fishing
Tips for introducing beginners to ice fishing; preparation, ice safety, equipment, and angling strategies for an ice fishing trip to a frozen pond or lake are discussed.

An Introduction to Fly-fishing
Tips for introducing beginners to the basics of fly-fishing; basic equipment, assembly, and casting techniques are presented.

Conducting a Fish Iowa! Event Handbook
A brief outline of how to plan and conduct a Fish Iowa! event. Includes outlines for six basic “stations” which can be set up to conduct your event.

Fish Iowa!
A comprehensive module to teach basic spincasting, Fish Iowa! incorporates physical education, health, biology, geography, and family and consumer sciences into a program that focuses on fishing. It is designed for use in formal settings with middle school through senior high students, but easily adapts to nonformal programs such as camps, scout outings, etc. Fish Iowa! works with students with all levels of abilities.

Materials are available to Iowa educators and youth leaders through training sessions (one-on one) and workshops. Contact Barb Gigar, western Iowa training specialist at 515-494-3891 or Holly Schulte, eastern Iowa training specialist at 563-927-3276 to schedule a training session. View the map to locate which training specialist is available in your area.

Upcoming Workshops
Teaching Outdoor Skills: Fish Iowa!
June 27 & 28, 2016 (100% attendance required for credit; assignment due July 14, 2016)
8:00 am – 6:00 pm; 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
DMACC West Campus (5959 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines)
Some sessions also at Raccoon River Park and Walnut Woods State Park
Registration Deadline: June 20, 2016
Electronic Registration
(Activity #:HL005999111701)

Registration Fee: 

  • 75 (includes materials and lunch only; no credit – email Barb.Gigar@dnr.iowa.gov to register)
  • $100 (includes materials and 1 license renewal credit)
  • $175 (includes materials and 1 EDMA graduate credit)

This two-day workshop will acquaint participants with the Fish Iowa! fishing education modules and a variety of other resources to teach fishing in a variety of settings. Participants will learn fishing basics including fish identification, fishing locations, casting techniques and cleaning and cooking fish. Participant will experience pone (bank) fishing, lake fishing (including kayak, canoe and/or fishing boat), river fishing and fly-fishing.

Instruction will include a variety of demonstration and hands-on experiential approaches. Activities will also include peer teaching and small group work to develop appropriate teaching strategies for individual teaching situations.

Lodging is on your own; camping is available at Walnut Woods State Park by reservation - reserve early. There are also several hotels (just north of the intersection of I235-I80/35.

For more information, contact: Barb.Gigar@dnr.iowa.gov; 515-494-3891.

Free Loan Rod and Reels
Over 3,400 free-loan rods and reels are available at over 100 locations around Iowa to use for a fishing field trip, teach casting or practice for the Fish Iowa! casting contest. View the lists below to find a distribution center in your area.

list of rod and reel distribution centers
list of fly-fishing loaner sites  

Fish Iowa! Games Casting Contest
Fish Iowa! Games is a competition where students cast from three distances using the flipping, pitching, and overhand techniques. Developed by the Iowa Sports Foundation, in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, it is designed to teach kids the basic techniques of casting. Register your school or class now to secure your competition kit. The competition may be held anytime between February 1 and May 1.

Iowa State-Fish Art Contest
The Iowa DNR is partnering with the Wildlife Forever® State-Fish Art® Contest to host an Iowa State-Fish Art Contest. Students are encouraged to use their artistic skills to create an image of your favorite Iowa fish (see the eligible fish list) in its natural habitat.

The first place artwork in each judging category will be submitted for National Awards. First place winners at the state level will be honored at the annual State-Fish Art Expothis summer. Each student submitting an entry will receive a Certificate of Recognition.

Pond and Stream Mats
Two four-color drawings depict areas of a pond and stream. Each set of mats includes several plastic fish that can be placed in different areas to show where they can be found. Dry erase markers can also be used to draw or write on the mats. Each measure approximately 3 x 6 feet so they are large enough for several students to gather round. You can also project the pond and/or stream image on a whiteboard or smart board.

Check with your local county conservation board to see if they have the pond and stream mats to borrow.

Take It Outside: Fish Iowa! Blog
Learn fun ways to incorporate Fish Iowa! into your classroom or youth group. Get kids fishing tips, Iowa fishing tips & facts, beginner angler help and more.

Taking Kids Fishing
Simple tips to ensure kids have fun in Iowa’s great outdoors, and most importantly, want to go fishing again.

Learn about Iowa Fish and Fishing

Explore the basics of fishing and learn more about Iowa's 148 fish species. Visit the Iowa DNR Special Events Calendar for a list of hands-on fishing clinics for all ages and fun family friendly events.

From Hookin’ to Cookin’
Step-by-step tips to help you gear up and then clean and cook the fish once you have caught them.

How to Fish For…
Every fish species is unique in where they live, what they eat, and best techniques for catching. Try these easy tricks on how to fish for the most popular species in Iowa.

Iowa Fish Species
Fact sheets featuring Iowa fish species. Includes fish characteristics, methods of identification, distribution and food habits, state record fish, tips to bring in the big one, and a brief biology of the fish.

Quick Fishing Facts
A two-page summary of the Iowa Fishing Regulations. 

Sample Fish Iowa! Lesson Plans

There are a lot of fun ways to teach beginners how to fish. Try these great ideas shared by participants of our Fish Iowa! trainings.

Elementary   Middle School   High School  
  PE   Art   Agriculture Education
  K thru 2nd PE General   Agriculture Education
  4th grade PE   PE   Environmental Science
  4th-5th grade Science   PE   IA Fishing Regulations HS
  3rd thru 5th PE   6th PE   Individual Sports PE Class
  5th Grade General   7th & 8th PE   Industrial Technology
    7th & 8th PE   Social Studies HS
    8th & 9th PE   PE