It’s a sure sign of summer’s arrival, the yearly visit on the June calendar page of the Denison Parks and Recreation Department’s annual catfish derby at Waterloo Lake Regional Park.


With the city’s 12th annual Catfish Rodeo ready to go this Saturday morning, June 8, 2019 from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., the signs of the impending derby were evident on Wednesday morning as a fish supply truck pulled up to the park’s fishing pond and unloaded several hundred pounds of whiskerfish.


“We stocked a little over 600 pounds of channel catfish on Wednesday morning,” said Andrew Means, recreation manager for the Denison Parks and Recreation Department.


Then he added with a chuckle, “And the pond has been off limits since then, so there are ample chances on Saturday morning for Rodeo anglers to go out and catch some catfish.”


As Means, other Denison Parks and Rec workers, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists looked on earlier this week, two men dutifully stocked a few hundred whiskerfish into the water including a few albino specimens as well as a number of tagged catfish.


While most of the channel cats weighed a pound or two, several big cats in the four to six-pound range were also stocked.


“We should have high catch rates on Saturday, which will make the Catfish Rodeo the perfect chance to introduce a child to fishing,” said Means. “And since the event is open to adults too, this is a great way for families to spend some quality time together in the great outdoors.”


While the 1/3-acre pond will be the focal point of the 2019 version of the D-Town Catfish Rodeo, Means also noted that the nearby 52-acre Waterloo Lake is open to rodeo fishing too, so who knows what might get caught and weighed in by the contestants on Saturday morning?


Sponsored by the Denison Parks and Recreation Department and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the 2019 Denison Catfish Rodeo is open to anglers of all ages through the event’s two groups of competitors, which includes youth (ages 16 and under) and adults (ages 17 and older).


According to Means, prizes will be awarded in both age groups to the anglers who catch the Biggest and Smallest catfish, as well as the anglers who end up with the heaviest stringer of five catfish. Prizes will also be awarded for the first five tagged catfish that are caught, although Means notes that such tagged catfish were stocked only in the Waterloo Lake Park Pond.


In addition to the prizes for the various catfish catches on Saturday morning, Means says that there will also be a casting contest, several door prizes, and food and drinks available at the event.


The Rodeo cost for adults 17 and older is $7 for Denison residents and $10 for non-residents. For youth ages 16 and under, the cost is $5 for city residents and $7 for non-residents. Means notes that the first 50 paid participants will also receive a free Catfish Rodeo hat.


For those who participate, one rod-and-reel is allowed per person during the fun angling competition.


“To catch these catfish on a typical conventional tackle rod-and-reel setup, you’ll probably want to use some medium strength monofilament line, a bait hook, maybe a split shot or two, and a bobber,” said Means. “And while catfish stink baits or bait pellets certainly work, probably the top bait choice at these rodeos is simply a good old fashioned nightcrawler worm.”


To register for the event online, Means says to please visit denison/recdesk.com. For additional information on the 2019 Catfish Rodeo at Waterloo this Saturday morning, please call the Denison Parks and Rec office during business hours today at 903-463-5116.