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Trout Derbies November and February

The Blue River Association sponsors two trout derbies during trout season. The first is in November on Veteran's Day Weekend with the second being in February on President's Day Weekend. The February Trout Derby will take place on February 17th & 18th!  

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The family of William E. Nelson has established a memorial award in memory of the many years of fishing pleasure William spent at Blue River. The award will go to the youth division and be awarded at each trout derby in November and February. The heavy stringer of each days competition (youth division) will be the individual winner and the overall two day heavy stringer (youth division) will have his or her name inscribed on the memorial plaque that will be displayed at the Blue River One Stop. This memorial award is a wonderful gift from the family of William Nelson.

Cindy Vaught shares some memories of her father William. My dad battled lung cancer for about a year and passed away April 30, 2002. He was born in Heavener, Ok. March 10, 1936, and moved to Atoka when he was just a little boy where lived until he joined the U. S. Air Force. His 20 year career in the service was a opportunity for our family to travel all over the world. He settled in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife Elaine Nelson and four daughters; Cindy, Kathleen, Lisa, and Robin. During his semi-retirement, he thoroughly enjoyed fishing, carpentry, and working on his Model A cars.

I am the oldest of my father's four girls. As long as I can remember my dad fished on the Blue River. Actually, he fished anywhere he could find a spot. Fishing was a true joy in his life which I have come to appreciate as well. My family and I have very fond memories of camping on the Blue River with my father's aunt and uncle, (Clarence and Ellie Hall from Atoka). That was many years ago and we have continued to enter the trout derby each year since.

Just a couple of months before the November 2001 derby, my dad had gone through major surgery having a lung removed. He was very determined to be well enough to travel to Oklahoma for the next trout derby. It brings a smile to my face thinking about him telling his doctors nothing was going to stop him from going. Even though the trip was hard on him physically, he said he wouldn't have traded that weekend for anything -standing side-by-side with his 22 year old grandson in the blue river on a beautiful sunny day, and I feel so fortunate to capture that moment on film.

February was another good fishing trip for my father. We had no idea at that it would be his last fishing trip to the blue river. As I look back, he must have known because he seemed to be at great peace with nature and his family- He was truly in his element.

I know my dad would be very pleased that a memorial has been established in his honor and that the award would benefit children.

William E. Nelson Memorial Award
The William E. Nelson memorial award was presented for the first time at the Veteran's Day Weekend Trout Derby in 2002.

Curtis K. Hughes Memorial Award
William Luce was the first winner of the Curtis K. Hughes Memorial Award for best overall trout fisher. Presenting William his award is Sue Robins, Barry Shrader, and Scotty McCarthick.

The Colbert & Harrison Burris award has been established for excellence in trout fishing for women.  The award will be presented to the lady that weighs in the heaviest stringer (two day total) at each trout derby.  The proud sponsor of this award is Randy McColloum, an avid trout fisher and host of our trout derbies. 

The Susan Latham-Shrader award has been established and will be awarded for the first time at the trout derby in February 2004.  Susan was the wife of avid fly fisher Barry Shrader.  For more information please visit our Fly Fishing page.