Denison’s 22nd Youth Trout Derby among events this weekend

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat
After more than 1,600 rainbow trout were stocked earlier this week at Denison's Waterloo Lake Park Pond, officials in D-Town are putting the finishing touches on the city's 22nd Annual Youth Trout Derby scheduled for this Saturday morning..

As wintertime winds down and spring approaches, the final weekend of this month will see a fly-fishing show in the Metroplex as well as two local trout derbies, one of them a late February fixture on the calendar for nearly a quarter century.

That long-running trout derby is the 22nd annual Denison Youth Trout Derby this Saturday, Feb. 27, an annual late winter event that will be held once again at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

In preparation for the Youth Trout Derby, inland fisheries biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocked more than 1,600 catchable size rainbow trout on Thursday.

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.

Door prizes are among the other prize winning opportunities for youth participating in the event along with catching stocked golden trout. All in all, there should be plenty of fishing catching fun in D-Town on Saturday morning as young anglers experience the thrill of fishing, hooking a fish, landing it, and maybe even winning a prize.

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.

Further south, Sherman also gets into the trout fishing action this weekend with its annual Kid’s Fishing Derby at the Pebblebrook Community Pond from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.

That free fishing derby will give young anglers a lot of trout catching opportunities on Saturday, Feb. 27th after the stocking of 1,215 catchable rainbows earlier in the week. There are door prizes, a casting contest, and a hot dog lunch.

For information, visit the Sherman Parks & Recreation website at www.shermanparks.com or e-mail the event organizer at dylanj9009@yahoo.com.

Finally, don’t forget this weekend’s 2020 Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival down in Mesquite. After being cancelled last year in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic response, the show returns this year for a Feb. 27-28 run at the Mesquite Convention Center.

While state and local COVID-19 protocols will require masks and social distancing, the show does plan to go on this Saturday and Sunday and a good crowd is anticipated.

For those who attend the 2021 event, there’s a chance to attend educational classes and fly fishing seminars, learn how to tie some great fly patterns for Texas waters, visit with fly shops and manufacturers, stop in at one of several dozen exhibitor booths, and even sample some of the Lone Star State’s micro-brewed beer resources.

With classes and seminars centering around a variety of fly fishing, fly tying, fly casting, kayak fishing, and other outdoors topics, this year’s speaker line-up includes industry veterans like Kristian Cole of Tailwater Fly Shop in Dallas, renowned Colorado trout fishing guides Pat Dorsey and Landon Mayer, Chris Johnson of Living Waters Fly Shop in Round Rock, kayak fly fishing expert Jerry Hamon of Van Alstyne, and fly casting expert and instructor Rex Walker of Sherman.

For information on the 2021 Texas Fly Fishing Festival, please visit www.txflyfishingfestival.org, e-mail festival director Beau Beasley at Fishutopia@comcast.net or call 703-402-8338 for information.