Parkersburg Fishing Derby lures children, families to city’s parks

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Kaleb Karcher, 13, fishes at Southwood Park with his family.

PARKERSBURG — Despite a bit of rain and a chilly breeze, children from ages 3 to 14 came together in hopes of catching the biggest fish of the day, or even better, the golden trout, at the 39th annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby.

The derby was held at City Park and Southwood Park on Saturday morning. Each pond was stocked with trout and a tagged trout which would have been worth a $100 prize, but no one caught it, organizers said.

There were plenty of other prizes won, such as trophies, fishing poles and tackle boxes.

At City Park, long-time volunteer Matt Shively said there was a lot of bluegills caught, but that the trout count was down.

“I have been doing this a long time, and today has been the slowest bite ever,” he said.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Brantly Poling, 7, of Vienna, fishes for his fourth year in the derby.

Shively was very pleased with the turnout though, and thought that possibly the changing weather from warm to cold was part of the problem with the lack of caught trout.

“Sometimes a quick change in weather can effect the amount of biting fish will do,” he said.

“But the kids all came out anyway and seemed to really have fun, and that is what it’s all about,” Shively said.

Brantly Poling, 7, of Vienna, was hoping to catch four fish this year.

“Last year I caught four fish,” he said.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Gabe White, 7, of Parkersburg, holds up one of the four fish he caught Saturday. This one was 13 3/4 inches long.

Created by the late Alvin K. Smith, a mayor of Parkersburg, the derby is free to participants ages 3-14.

Even though Alvin Smith has moved on, his family is still a major part of the derby.

In attendance at Southwood Park, walking the pond, measuring fish, writing down names and anything else that was in need of a volunteer was his wife, Jo Ann Smith, their daughters Valori Mace and Sheri Cox, their granddaughters Shannon Cox and Sammie Mace, and their great grandchildren Ryan Hill, who is 10 and Averie VanMeter, who is 4.

“This is such a great family even,” Sheri Cox said.

“It warms my heart to see kids out here fishing with their grandparents and other family members,” she said.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Addison Rake, 8, of Parkersburg, holds up the trout she caught.

The City Park results were:

* Grand Champion: Charlote Gauge, 11, 14 3/4 inches

* Smallest Fish: Ali Knight, 11, 3 7/8 inches

* Largest Non-Trout: Eli Jarvis, 3, 9 1/8 inches

Ages 3-6 years

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Paisley Lott, 4, of Parkersburg, holds up the fish she caught.

* First: Dawson Butcher, 5, 14 1/2 inches

* Second: Avery McHenry, 6, 13 1/2 inches

* Third: Amelia Blair, 3, 13 1/4 inches

Ages 7-10 years

* There were no trout caught by this age group

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Matt Shively helps Colten Robinson, 7, unhook a fish he caught so that it could be measured.

Ages 11-14 years

* First: Haylie Lockhart, 13, 14 1/8 inches

* Second: Alexis Runiun, 13 3/8 inches

The Southwood Park results were:

* Grand Champion: Blaze Buffington, 5, 16 1/2 inches

* Largest non-trout: Kaleb Kalevierun, 8, 5 1/8 inches

Ages 3-6 years

* First: Brently Squires, 5, 15 1/4 inches

* Second: Kenzi Buffington, 6, 15 inches

* Third: Titus Powell, 5, 14 7/8 inches

Ages 7-10 years

* First: Praylen Tallman, 9, 15 1/2 inches

* Second: Kalie Wigal, 9, 15 1/8 inches

* Third: Abby Platt, 7, 14 3/4 inches

Ages 11-14 years

* First: Reagan Archer, 12, 14 5/8 inches

* Second: Kaleb Archer, 13, 14 1/4 inches

Anyone not present for the awards can pick theirs up by contacting the Wood County Recreation Commission.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Carder Fiest, 6, of Vienna, was fishing in the derby for the first time.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough From left, Ryan Hill, 10, Shannon Cox, Sheri Cox, Jo Ann Smith, Valori Mace, Sammie Mace and Averie Vanmeter, 4, are the family of the derby’s founder, the late Alvin Smith, and still volunteer and work with the derby committee each year.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Amelia Blair, 3, won third place in the ages 3-6 category. It was 13 1/4 inches long.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Dawson Butcher, 5, won first place in the ages 3-6 category. It was 14 1/2 inches long.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Haylie Lockhart, 13, won first place for the ages 11-14 category. It was 14 1/8 inches long.

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