Kids should bring own poles, tackle, bait to fishing derby
The annual Kid’s Trout Fishing Derby is scheduled for Feb. 23 at Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area, located on the Mark Twain National Forest adjacent to Fort Leonard Wood.
Anglers ages 15 or younger are invited to come and fish for nearly 1,000 rainbow trout.
No pre-registration is required. Kids can register at the spring branch on the day of the derby. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. Fishing will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m.
The event is being held by the Outdoor Adventure Center and the Natural Resources Branch of Fort Leonard Wood, along with the U.S. Forest Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation,
All fishing permit requirements are waived for this special youth-only event, and there are no other fees required to participate in the derby.
Additional rainbow trout will be stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation into Stone Mill Spring Branch prior to this year’s event and will be available for children to catch and keep on derby day.
Young anglers will be allowed to keep up to four trout. Any natural, prepared, or artificial bait can be used during the derby. Due to the size of the expected crowd, once a child has caught and kept a limit of trout, they must stop fishing.
Only one fishing pole per angler is allowed to help minimize crowding along the shoreline.
Participants are reminded to bring their own fishing poles, tackle and bait. A small number of poles and some basic tackle will be available for loan on a first-come-first-serve basis, but the supply runs out fast.
Young anglers should be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the event.
Adults are welcomed to give young anglers fishing tips and encouragement, but will not be allowed to fish themselves. Parents and guardians can help youngsters bait hooks and cast, but must allow the child the fun and thrill of reeling in the trout by themselves.
As a bonus, any young angler who catches a trout with a special tag will get to choose a prize of his or her liking from a special group of prizes.
The Outdoor Adventure Center will provide plenty of free hotdogs and drinks, but participants are reminded that no potable water is available at the site.
Everybody is welcome to bring their own food and beverages and use the limited number of picnic tables and grills at the recreation area. A privy will be available on site.
Officials remind participants to dress for the weather. February weather can be quite cool or warm on any given day, or a range of both extremes in the same day is also possible, so please dress accordingly.
The small parking lot located at the trailhead to Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area is not large enough to accommodate visitors’ vehicles during the derby. For this reason, no vehicles will be allowed on the gravel road at the end of Route 26. Parking will be allowed along the shoulders of Route 26 back along the roadway toward the Piney Valley Golf Course.
The Outdoor Adventure Center will provide a shuttle bus service free of charge. The shuttle will run between the derby parking area and Stone Mill Spring every 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
After the derby
Children and adults will be allowed to fish after the derby ends; however, the area will revert back to the normal regulations as stated in the Missouri Wildlife Code. Both Missouri and trout permits will be required after the derby and the daily limit per person stays at four trout.
Visitors should also keep in mind that if they remain at the spring branch after the shuttle bus service ends, they will have to walk a mile or more back to their vehicles.
For more information about the trout derby, contact the staff of the Outdoor Adventure Center, located on FLW K, at 573.596.4223.
If you are coming from off post, please note the Installation Access Information via a link from the Fort Leonard Wood main webpage at http://www.wood.army.mil/newweb/index.htm.