FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., (Feb. 22, 2018) — On Feb. 24, 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, will host the annual Kid’s Trout Fishing Derby at Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area, located on the Mark Twain National Forest adjacent to Fort Leonard Wood.
Anglers ages 15 and younger are invited to come and fish for nearly 1,000 hungry rainbow trout.
No pre-registration is required. Kids can register at the spring branch on the day of the derby. Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue until noon. Fishing will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m.
All fishing permit requirements are waived for this derby, and there are no other fees required to participate in this fishing event.
Participants should bring their own fishing poles, tackle and bait.
Remember that February can be windy and cold or have beautiful spring weather — a range of both in the same day is also possible — so, please dress accordingly.
Six hundred rainbow trout will be stocked into Stone Mill Spring Branch prior to this year’s event. All of these fish will still be in the stream and will be available for children to catch and keep on derby day. The fish will be stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation just before the event.
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. This will help minimize crowding along the shoreline.
Young anglers need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the event. Adults are welcome 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 on their own.
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 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 latrine will be available on the site.
The small parking lot located at the trailhead to Stone Mill Spring Recreation Area is not large enough to accommodate visitor’s vehicles during the derby. For this reason, no vehicles will be allowed on the gravel road at the end of Route 26. Vehicle parking will be allowed along the shoulders of Route 26 back along the roadway toward Piney Valley Golf Course.
The Outdoor Adventure Center will provide a shuttle bus service free of charge. The shuttle bus will run between the golf course parking lot and Stone Mill Spring’s parking lot approximately every 15 minutes between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
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. Folks should 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 vehicle.
For more information, you may contact the staff of the Outdoor Adventure Center, located on FLW K, at 573.596.0131, ext. 64223. If you are coming from off post, please note the Installation Access Information via a link from the Fort Leonard Wood main webpage at www.wood.army.mil.
(Editor’s note: Story provided by Daphne Kampinga, fisheries biologist, Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch, Fort Leonard Wood.)