Fort Leonard Wood’s annual Kid’s Trout Fishing Derby is scheduled for Feb. 29 at Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area.
The event is free and open to anglers ages 15 or younger, who can fish for nearly 1,000 rainbow trout.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m., followed by fishing starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m. No pre-registration is required. Kids can register at the spring branch on the day of the derby.
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 before the event.
Young anglers can catch and keep up to four trout on derby day. Any natural, prepared, or artificial bait can be used. Due to the size of the expected crowd, once a child has caught and kept their limit of trout, they must stop fishing.
Participants should 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. Only one fishing pole per angler is allowed to help minimize crowding along the shoreline.
Young anglers should be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the event. Adults are invited 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 free hot dogs and drinks, but participants are reminded that no potable water is available at the site. Attendees are 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 on the same day is also possible.
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. Shuttle service will be provided between the Route 26 parking area and the Stone Mill Spring parking lot.
Children and adults will be allowed to fish after the derby ends; however, both Missouri and trout permits will be required.
For more information, visit the OAC, located on FLW K, call 573.596.4223 or visit the event calendar listing at leonardwood.armymwr.com.
(Editor’s note: Article provided by the Natural Resources Branch.)