By Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 7, 2023) — It’s no fish tale. It’s time to make some new fishing memories at Fort Leonard Wood’s Catfish Derby, set to take place from 9 a.m. to noon on June 10 at the pond at Training Area 228, off FLW 38.

“We hope new fishers can enjoy some quality time outside with their adults. Hopefully participants will pass along what can become a lifelong activity and fishing tradition to youth, and maybe even get some dinner while they are at it,” said Kenton Lohraff, chief of the Directorate of Public Works’ Natural Resources Branch, the agency hosting the event.

The derby is open to youth anglers, ages 15 and younger — all participants need to be accompanied by an adult — and registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

John Brant, a fisheries biologist with the Natural Resources Branch, said the catfish derby is one way to help youth connect with the outdoors.

“A personal connection with the outdoors is important, and catching catfish is a great way to begin that connection,” Brant said.

Anglers are asked to bring their own gear, “but limited loaner equipment will be available,” Brant said.

According to Brant, the pond is stocked with 400 Channel Catfish and some of them might have grown to 5 to 8 pounds. He said some of the catfish are tagged and youngsters who catch a tagged one will win a prize.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, common bait for Channel Catfish include ribbed, rubber worms, or night crawlers, chicken liver, grasshoppers, crayfish or small fish rigged on a straight, treble or circle hook.

Brant said the best bait for catfish depends on who you ask, “but one can never go wrong with night crawlers.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s website states that other common names for the Channel Catfish are Spotted Cat, Blue Cat, Fiddler, Lady Cat, Chucklehead Cat and Willow Cat. Adult Channel Catfish can grow to be 12- to 32-inches long, weighing up to 15 pounds, and are the most abundant and widely distributed large catfish in Missouri.

“Our goal is not to make everyone an angler, but we hope to provide the opportunity for a new outdoor activity,” Brant said. “I hope people and youth go home thinking they enjoyed their time in nature and consider their own future outings.”

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Outdoor Adventure Center is preparing to provide hotdogs and drinks.

Fort Leonard Wood’s Training Area 228 pond is the place to be for young anglers who want to hook a catfish. The Kid’s Catfish Derby, hosted by the Directorate of Public Works’ Natural Resources Branch, is open to youth anglers ages 15 and younger. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. on June 10. Youth can cast their hooks in the water from 9 a.m. to noon. Last year, 130 children participated in the event. (Photo by Amanda Sullivan, 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 more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 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: