The 2018 kids fishing derby at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery will be very special. Many are calling it a "throwback derby." Fishing will be in that portion of Hearrel Branch which runs through the hatchery grounds, just where derbies were held long ago.

The 2018 kids fishing derby at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery will be very special. Many are calling it a "throwback derby." Fishing will be in that portion of Hearrel Branch which runs through the hatchery grounds, just where derbies were held long ago.
A large construction project on hatchery grounds is making the ponds unavailable. Because of that, hatchery manager Rod May and his staff and the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery are preparing the deep and narrow branch so the kids and the senior/handicapped derbies will go on as planned.
With the hatchery holding its 130 anniversary this year, many are excited to have this throwback derby as part of the celebration. It will certainly hark back to derbies in the past.
Images of the old derbies show kids lined elbow-to-elbow along Hearrel Branch trying to catch a big trout. Many stories and jokes are told about the closeness of the fishermen and how easy it must have been to get a pierced ear from the hook of a fellow fisherman.
This throwback derby will provide many photographic opportunities so camera buffs are invited to capture the event.
Officials are expecting several adults to be on hand just to see a derby like the ones they fished in their youth. In the early days, there were contests for the biggest fish, the first fish and the most fish. Many Neosho adults still like to brag about their winning fish at one of the derbies.
The kids derby will be June 1 for kids aged 7 through 12. There will be two sessions; one from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. and the second session from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Pre-registration is recommended, but not necessary and may be made by calling 417-451-0554.
No fishing license or trout tag will be required for the derby. Kids should not bring any fishing gear, as all tackle and bait will be provided. Fishing rules are "catch and keep," which means that any fish, of any size, must be kept by the fishermen. For those who want, their fish will be cleaned and bagged in ice for the trip home.
The senior/handicapped derby will be June 8, from 9 until 12 (noon).

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