Kid’s Catfish Derby set for June 10

By Melissa Buckley, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs OfficeJune 1, 2023

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.
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 Credit: Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — 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.