FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 21, 2023) — Fort Leonard Wood’s annual Kids’ Trout Fishing Derby is scheduled to take place Feb. 25 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 the opportunity for anglers ages 15 and younger to earn prizes by catching any of the tagged rainbow trout the MDC adds to the spring prior to the event, said John Brant, an aquatic biologist with the NRB here.
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 near the Piney Valley Golf Course along FLW 26, and volunteers will be on hand to direct traffic. Vans will be available to shuttle 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.
“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.
Brant said the MDC is adding 500 rainbow trout to the spring for the derby this year, and any young angler who catches one with a special tag will get to choose a prize.
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will have a team at the event to provide free hot dogs, waters and sodas, said FMWR Marketing Manager Nia Dickinson.
“We look forward to seeing the little anglers of Fort Leonard Wood out at Stone Mill Springs,” Dickinson said.
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.
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 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.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission