Editor's Note: For more images of the event, visit our official Flickr page here: Second annual VFW, Fort Knox Kids Fishing Derby catching attention of young anglers | Flickr
CAMP CARLSON, Ky. — There’s no fish tale to tell about this year’s kids fishing derby at Camp Carlson Lake.
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials say the second annual VFW Fort Knox Kids Fishing Derby June 3 has once again been a huge success – proof is in the numbers.
“This is a bigger event than it was last year,” said Debbie Clements, Outdoor Recreation specialist. “We have that we know of 300 kids out here, and that’s just the kids that were registered. We have at least 300; I know we have more than that.”
Those who attended were greeted by a calm cool breeze, a display of free trophies and fishing gear donated by the VFW as they headed to their favorite fishing spots. Before the kickoff of the tournament, safety officials encouraged fishermen to have fun and watch for critters such as rat snakes and ticks.
Within 10 minutes of the official start, youngsters were arriving at the weigh-in tent with small sunfish and bluegill. A youngster on the far bank hauled in a bass and another on the near side hauled in at least four catfish before lunchtime.
“We just stocked the lake yesterday with 1,400 catfish,” said Clements. “I was out here to watch the process – I’ve never seen that in person; that was a pretty cool experience.”
The fishing derby has been an annual event of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10281 for over 25 years. They hosted the event in Grayson County at Nolin Lake until COVID forced them to cancel it.
In 2022, they decided to reinvigorate the program by moving it near the Fort Knox community to the 14-acre camp about 10 minutes away from the installation. Roughly 250 youth attended the one last year.
Clements said she loves it when she can encourage youth to get excited about spending time outdoors.
“I love getting people outside, getting them in the outdoors fishing or hiking, not using technology,” said Clements. “I do all the hiking, biking and kayaking on post, so I’m always encouraging others to do the same.
“It makes people feel better, even if they just get out to enjoy the scenery.”