It’s hard to believe, but another wintertime trout season is winding down here in Texomaland as a record breaking year of chasing rainbows comes to a close over the next couple of weeks.


As was detailed in this space back before Thanksgiving, more than 9,100 rainbow trout are being released into local waters this winter as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks a total of 343,650 catchable size rainbow trout in 185 water bodies statewide.


Those water bodies include Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond where a total of 6,255 trout are being released this year by TPWD in four separate trout stockings. As you might recall, those D-Town stockings started back in mid-December and will conclude this week. More on that in a moment.


As was also noted back in November, this year’s local TPWD trout stockings are also including other waters in Grayson County for the first time in several years. Specifically, Pottsboro Lake saw 1,275 trout released by TPWD back in mid-December while Sherman’s Pebblebrook Community Park Pond is waiting for its truckload of 1,570 rainbows to be stocked on March 1.


This weekend, the local trout fishing spotlight returns once again to Denison where the city’s 21st annual Youth Trout Derby will be taking place at Waterloo Lake Park Pond on Saturday, Feb. 22.


According to Andrew Means, recreation manager for the Denison Parks and Recreation Department, the event is open to youth 16 years of age and under. The cost to participate is $5 for Denison youth and $7 for non-resident youth.


The derby will run from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday morning according to Means. After that, there will be awards and raffle prizes given out, a casting contest, and a hot dog meal served around the noontime hour.


With a boy’s division and a girl’s division, awards will be given for the heaviest stringer of trout caught, the biggest trout, and the smallest trout. In addition, local TPWD Inland Fisheries staff will be conducting a casting contest for both divisions.


If that’s not enough opportunity for young anglers to win, Means says that TPWD will also be stocking 30 golden trout for the event with the first five of those being caught producing an award.


Add it all up and there should be plenty of fish catching fun on Saturday morning as several dozen young anglers feel the thrill of hooking and landing a fish, even if they need a little help in doing so.


“Obviously, parents can help their kids fish, especially the younger ones,” said Means. “But we want the kids to enjoy the entire fishing experience so that’s not an invitation for parents to do all of the fishing for their kids.”


As noted in previous stories this winter, the city’s Howard Caylor Trout Derby in January and the Family Fellowship Trout Derby earlier this month have produced big numbers of anglers. Means says that nothing less is anticipated this weekend.


“We’re expecting another good crowd,” he said. “We’re already closing in on 50 young people who are preregistered to fish in this event and undoubtedly we will have more sign up. If you’re still wanting to register for this event, don’t wait too much longer, especially since the first 50 get a free cap.”


Means said that participation in the Denison trout derbies this winter is at high levels. In fact, the last derby produced one of the best crowds that he has seen in his 14 years with the City.


“I’m not sure if the Family Fellowship derby was the overall record since there could have been a bigger crowd before my time, but if it wasn’t the record crowd, then it had to be close,” said Means. “We had 125 anglers registered for that event, so as we’ve discussed previously this fall, there is obviously a lot excitement in Denison when it comes to our wintertime trout fishing.”


Thanks to the TPWD stocking of some 1,600 rainbow trout this week, there should be even more angling excitement in D-Town this weekend.


“We certainly appreciate all of the hard work that Dan Bennett and his TPWD Inland Fisheries crew do for us each winter in getting these trout stocked into the park’s pond,” said Means.


How should young anglers target the rainbows on Saturday morning?


“Lightweight tackle is best since these aren’t giant fish,” said Means. “They’ll still pull back pretty hard though so you’ll want something like a spinning rod, some monofilament line in the 6 to 8-pound test range, and some sort of bait.”


What type of bait does Means suggest?


“Most anglers prefer to fish things like Berkley PowerBait or PowerBait Power Eggs in colors like white, chartreuse, and orange,” he said. “Corn, marshmallows, and small earthworms will work too as long as you don’t use too big a hook. Since the mouths of trout aren’t terribly big, small panfish size hooks are best.”


How should young anglers fish those baits?


“Most of our anglers are fishing them on the bottom with a small split shot on their line,” said Means. “Since PowerBait type products can actually float a little bit, the bait will often sit a few inches above the bottom of the pond. That seems to draw plenty of attention from these trout.”


To preregister online for the Youth Trout Derby today, go to the City of Denison’s website prior to 4 p.m. at www.cityofdenison.com/parksrec/page/fishing-derby. After that, Means says that participants can show up at Waterloo Lake tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. to register onsite for the derby.


For more information, contact the Denison Parks and Recreation office today during business hours at 903-463-5116.