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Fish 'n Fun at the 4th Annual TP & W Youth Trout Derby
By Ray & Patty Lenderman

Once again it was a big day at Jasper City Park. Almost 200 kids plus their friends and families showed up for this catch-keep-and eat event. For the fourth year in a row, kids came from all around to participate in the Youth Trout Derby to compete and have fun in this event put on by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the local merchants who gave the donations that made this event possible. The cold didn't damper the kids enthusiasm for participating in this tournament. The grins on their faces, the giggles and laughs, and running to their fishing spots along the shores and then the excitement at catching a fish make it all worth the while for the adults that come with the kids and for the organizations that have helped to put the event on.

The majority of the competitors were veterans to this event, and it was great to see some new faces as well. With almost $2,000 in prizes given away this year including T-shirts and grab bags full of goodies, the kids also looked forward to lots of drawings for prizes. The fish were biting great this year, and the participants and their families enjoyed the best weather day this tournament has seen yet. The morning started off with temperatures in the mid to high 30's, but warmed up to around 50 degrees with sunshine making it a pleasant day for trout fishing. Texas Parks and Wildlife stocked the city pond with 1,325 beautiful rainbow trout for everyone's catching enjoyment.

The kids competed in three different age groups, 0-7, 8-11 and 12-16 years. There were prize categories in each division for the biggest trout, smallest trout, and biggest "other species". The kids caught a lot of trout and even some nice size catfish and panfish as well. Parks and Wildlife also stocks this pond with catfish. Rod and reel combos as well as tackle boxes were awarded to the winners in each category. In the door prizes, the kids won such items as rod & reel combos, foot balls, soccer balls, CD players, a huge remote control batman car, and 6 fantastic bicycles.

Texas Parks and Wildlife 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 TP&W to introduce our youth to the outdoors, for they are our future conservationists. The Trout Derby is one great and 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 helps with any other groups or organizations that are interested in conservation.

The Trout Derby would not have happened without the 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 not be possible. A special thanks goes out to the Jasper Evening Lions club volunteers who served up hot dogs, hot cocoa and coffee" stated Todd Driscoll, District Fisheries Biologist for TP&W and the head coordinator for the Trout Derby.

Everyone is encouraged to fish for these cold weather trout, for TP & W stocks them for our wintertime angling enjoyment. You are allowed 5 per person, and anyone 16 or younger does not need a fishing licence. These fish will only survive as long as the water and weather is on the cooler side, so grab your gear, grab the kids and get out there and have some fun! For a list of area water bodies stocked with these trout, please contact TP & W at 409-384-9572.

Thank you to the area sponsors: Anderson Bait & Tackle; Gulf Welding; Dover Oil; Sealy Outdoors; Allison Chevrolet; Eric Koch D.D.S; First National Bank; Gee Shipman Pharmacy; Roots Tree Farm; Walker Law Firm; Joe Knight Insurance; Mobil Oil FCU; Holton's Tackle Store; Skating Palace; H-E-B; A-1 Refrigeration; Rayburn Tackle; Jasper Equipment; Weaver Brothers Motor Co; Century 21; Jasper Evening Lions Club; Hollis Tire; Jasper Outboard; Mays Auto; East Texas Oxygen Co.; Jasper Tire; Meigs Building Supply and Jasper Title

The crowd gathered near the pavilion as the winners in each category was announced and the draw prizes were given out

12 yr old Michael Delcont of Jasper caught his 5 trout limit. This is his 3rd Trout Derby.
< photos by Ray Lenderman - >

This was 8 yr old Wyatt Thacker's 1st tournament ever, and on his first cast caught this nice catfish.

Joshua Root of Jasper, TX had never fished a tournament before or ever caught a trout. The Derby opened up a new world of angling for this 7 yr old as he shows us his catch.

4 yr old Katelyn Mercantile of Jasper, TX proudly showed her first trout catch

Bike winners - Jarvis Wilson (3 yrs); Dustin Wagstaff (12 yrs); Matt Marks (10 yrs); Elizabeth Raymond (8 yrs); Michael Delcont (12 yrs); Madison Stott (8 yrs)

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