By Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 15, 2024) — Fort Leonard Wood’s annual Kids’ Trout Fishing Derby is scheduled to take place Feb. 24 at Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area, located off of FLW 26, near Piney Valley Golf Course.

The derby — organized each year by the Directorate of Public Works’ Natural Resources Branch and the Outdoor Adventure Center, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation — provides anglers ages 15 and younger the opportunity to earn prizes by catching any of the tagged rainbow trout the MDC adds to the spring prior to the event, NRB’s Aquatic Biologist John Brant said.

“Conservation begins on the individual level through a bond with the outdoors,” Brant said. “We hope to provide a such opportunity at our annual trout fishing derby in a relaxed, family friendly setting.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the derby will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brant said the event is free and no pre-registration is required, although an adult must accompany the participants. Parking will be available on the paved road just past the golf course along FLW 26, and shuttles will be on hand to take participants from the parking area to the event.

Brant said all fishing permit requirements are waived for this special youth-only event, and up to four trout may be kept. Any natural, prepared or artificial bait may be used during the derby, but only one fishing pole per angler is allowed to help minimize crowding along the shoreline. Participants are asked to bring their own fishing gear, but a limited number of fishing poles and some basic tackle will be available to borrow at the event on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Adults are welcome to give young anglers fishing tips and encouragement, but they will not be allowed to fish themselves, Brant added, noting children of all fishing experience levels are welcome.

“Parents and guardians can help youngsters bait hooks and cast, but they must allow the child the fun and thrill of reeling in the trout by themselves,” he said.

As in years past, Brant said the MDC is adding 500 rainbow trout to the spring for the derby, and any young angler who catches one with a special tag will get to choose a prize, such as fishing equipment and other outdoor youth items.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will also have a team at the event to provide free hot dogs and drinks, FMWR Marketing Manager Nia Dickinson said.

“This is an event we look forward to every year,” Dickinson said. “We can’t wait for the Fort Leonard Wood youth to come out.”

Participants are reminded to dress for the weather, Brant said.

“February weather can be quite cold or warm on any given day — or a range of both extremes in the same day — so please dress accordingly,” Brant said.

Children and adults will be allowed to fish after the derby ends, Brant added. However, the area will revert back to the normal Missouri Wildlife Code regulations. Both Missouri and trout permits will be required after the derby and the daily limit per person stays at four.

More information on permits is available on the Fort Leonard Wood iSportsman website.

Participants at the 2023 Kid’s Trout Fishing Derby show off their catches at the Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area. This year’s event is set to take place Feb. 24. (Photo by Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)











About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

the Fort Leonard Wood website. the installation can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood website.