Annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby today

PARKERSBURG – Officials are hoping turnout will be good for today’s 33rd annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby at City Park and Southwood Park in Parkersburg.

Vickie Marshall, executive director of the Wood County Recreation Commission, said the weather forecast calls for sunny weather today, following Friday’s rainy conditions.

Officials worked Thursday to stock the ponds at both parks, including one golden trout at each location, in memory of former mayor Al Smith. The child who catches the golden trout will receive $100.

In a change for this year’s derby, Marshall said the grand champions and first-place finishers will recieve fishing gear as their prizes, not bicycles as have been awarded in the past.

The derby will run from 9 a.m.-noon today at both parks for children from ages 3-14, with different age groups starting at different times.

There is no registration fee for the event, which is free to all comers. Fishing licenses are not required for the derby. Each child is allowed four fish for measurement.

Prizes will be awarded in each age group for first through third places. Prizes are also awarded for Grand Champion, Largest Non-Trout and Smallest Fish. Fish will be measured for awarding of prizes. Prizes and trophies will be awarded immediately following the derby.

Participants can show up at the park of their choice and check in at the identified shelter where a Parkersburg police officer will provide each fisherman with a packet.

The kids compete in three divisions: 3-6 years old who start at 9 a.m., 7-10 years old start at 9:15 a.m. and 11-14 years old start at 9:30 a.m.

The rules of the derby include: participants cannot use fishing lures; there is no fishing from piers; no net fishing is permitted; there is only one pole per fisherman allowed; proof of age may be required of winners; fish must be caught during the derby to qualify for a prize; and the decision of judges at the tournament is final.

Adults may assist the children fishing, but only the ages specified are permitted to fish.

The ponds have been closed to fishing for the final three days before the derby. Open fishing resumes at 1 p.m. today, after the derby.