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A Trout-riffic day of fishing at the 3rd Annual TP&W Youth Trout Derby
By Ray Lenderman

It was not hard to tell that something big was going on at the Jasper City Park pond Saterday morning January 10, 2004 from all the cars that were parked along the city street as far as you could see in both directions.

It was a trout-riffic time that was had by all who participated in the 3rd annual TP&W Youth Trout Derby .The banks were lined with over 275 kids, not including parents at he park pond. Kids ages 0-16 participated in this free tournament held from 10:00am until noon. Shouts of "I caught one!" resounded all morning followed by ear to ear grins.

There were three age categories, 0-7 years; 8-11 years and 12-16 years old. There were three prize categories per age group, one for biggest trout, smallest trout, and biggest "other species". Unlike most tournaments, the participants got to keep all of their fish after the tournament. The pond was stocked with over 1300 trout and after the tournament every one was encouraged to come and catch these trout at every opportunity.

Winners in the 0-7 years category:
Biggest Trout -Jarvis Wilson
Smallest Trout - Joshua Jones
Biggest "other" species - Brionna Land

Winners in the 8-11 years category:
Biggest Trout - Jeffery Kiser
Smallest Trout -Robert Crane
Biggest "other" species - Maurice Bell

Winners in the 12-16 years category:
Biggest Trout - Malcolm Bronson
Smallest Trout - Jesse Jones
Biggest "other" species - William Hargett

Growing every year, this year about 275 kids up to 16 years old fished for trout and over $ 1400.00 in prizes. Rod and reel combos along with tackle boxes full of baits and equipment was awarded to all the winners in each of the three age group categories, and also for the heaviest other species. One of those prizes went to five year old Beionna Land of Jasper. She caught a Channel Catfish that was almost as long as she was tall, and had to get help from two other people to land the big cat.

Along with the goodie bags and t-shirts, many door prizes were drawn for and given away like rod & reel combo's, foot balls, basket balls, soccer balls, CD players, a ½ day guided crappie trip on Sam Rayburn, and much more. The grand prizes were the 2 boys & 2 girls bicycles. The local merchants provided the donations needed for these wonderful prizes and commemorative T-shirts for the first 100 kids that registered .

The morning stared off with beautiful clear skies and a heavy frost on the ground. In other words, it was down right cold, but that didn't stop these little tykes and teenagers from hitting the park pond to catch all the trout that they could in this free event. These are beautiful fish with a irrodescent rainbow like stripe down there side. Although they are not a native fish for this part of the country, this gives a wonderful opportunity for people to get to fish for them without having to travel hundreds of miles. They may be a small fish by physical standards, but don't under estimate their fighting ability, not to mention that they taste really good. This is what makes them such a salt after fish by many anglers.

TP&W promotes these outreach programs to promote our outdoor heritage to our youth. Providing positive programs as an alternative to tv or video games, it is the goal of Texas Parks and Wildlife to introduce our youth to the outdoors for they are our future conservationists. The Trout Derby is one a great fun way to reach this goal.

The Trout Derby is not the only outreach event that TP&W is involved with locally. It also participates in C.A.S.T. for Kids by setting up catfish tanks for kids to fish in at that event They also do programs for Get Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs, and any other groups or organizations that are interested in conservation. The Trout Derby would not have happened with out many wonderful sponsors and participants. If it were not for the local Jasper merchants who gave with their heart this event would not have happened . "Our thanks and gratitude goes out to those who donated, for without them, this would be possible. A special thanks goes out to the Jasper Evening Lions club volunteers who served up hot dogs, hot cocoa and coffee."-Todd Driscoll District Fisheries Biologist for TP&W,and the head coordinator for the trout derby. One of the best things about this event was that there were whole families spending a cold Saturday morning together having good clean fun.

A very special thank you to the following people and businesses: City of Jasper; Jasper Police Dept., Jasper Evening Lions Club, Christus Memorial Hospital, Anderson Bait Company, John Presley Pro Guide Service, Eckerd Drugs, Jasper Ford Lincoln Mercury, Gulf Welding, ETOX, Jerry's Collision, A-1 Refrigeration, Hollis Tire Co., Baskin's Dept Store, Weaver Bros. Dodge, Jasper Tire, Texas Equipment (Timberjack), H-E-B, Brookshire Bros., Jasper Outboard, Joe Knight Insurance, Mays Auto Sales, Beards Office Supplies, Grays Carpets, Allison Chevrolet, Meigs Building Material, S & S Honda, Bass Buster Inn, Sealy Outdoors, Jasper Tractor Feed & Seed, Dover Oil, Elija's Café, Mobile Oil Credit Union, Gary Gatlin Law Office, Jasper Title & Abstract Co, Ted Walker Law Offices, Gee Shipman Pharmacy, Alexandra and Linda Kalinowski, Jasper Farm & Ranch, First National Bank, Few Ready Mix, R.L.'s Upholstry, Dr. Eric Koch, The Stump Restaurant, Rayburn Tackle, Needmore Tackle, Dawson Marine, Academy, Anderson's Bait Co., Advertising Visuals, Jasper News Boy, KJAS Radio, KTXJ Radio, CMA Cablevision, Walmart, Grady Holton's Tackle & Lakecaster Publications.

If anyone would like to help sponsor next years Trout Derby, are would like for TP&WL to present a presentation to your group or organization, you can contact Todd Driscoll (409) 384-9572

TP&W Biologist Todd Driscoll officially announced the start of the Trout Derby

Even very cold temperatures couldn't keep these kids from having fun in the event
< photos by Ray Lenderman - e-mail >

The banks were lined with almost 300 participants and their families

After the parking lot was full, participants lined the road for their spot in the tournament

At only 22 months old, this is Bryce Jaston's first tournament

Kids up to 16 years old competed in this free event

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