PARKERSBURG - Several hundred children and their parents braved the rain and chilly temperatures to have fun Saturday during the 32nd annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby at the ponds at City Park and Southwood Park.
"We actually had a good turnout considering the weather," said Vickie Marshall, director of the Wood County Recreation Commission. "I think the number is up because it's not as cold as last year."
There were about 325 kids fishing out of City Park Pond by 9:30 a.m., whereas last year's derby saw about 300.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Ellie Hines, 5, of Parkersburg, holds up the first fish she caught Saturday as she and her family braved the rain to participate in the 32nd annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby at the pond at City Park.
"We actually had a great crowd for how wet the weather is, but either way, the kids are having fun," said event chairman Matt Shively. "The fish had no trouble biting and I think that's because of the lack of sunlight to deter them."
The derby was open to all children between the ages of 3 and 14 years with prizes awarded in different age groups and for grand champion.
On Saturday, the weather kept many away while others just set up canopies, wore rain jackets and carried umbrellas while they sought the golden trout.
32nd Annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby Results:
Trout Grand Champion: 8-year-old Xander Herrington, 15 3/4 inches
3-6 Year Olds
First: Luke Horton, 15 1/2 inches
Second: Ryan Hartbarger, 15 3/8 inches
Third: Ethan Marshall, 15 1/4 inches
7-8 Year Olds
First: Page Wine, 15 5/8 inches
Second: Alex Ott, 15 1/4 inches
Third: Olivia Pittman, 14 5/8 inches
11-14 Year Olds
First: Austin Braham, 15 1/4 inches
Second: Levi Life, 14 3/4 inches
Third: Addy Pittman, 14 5/8 inches
Smallest Fish: Jayden Brookover, 2 5/8 inches, sunfish
Largest Non-Trout: Dylan Roberts, 11 3/4 inches, carp
Trout Grand Champion: 3-year-old Bubby McCloy, 16 inches
3-6 Year Olds
First: Lucy Pratt, 15 1/4 inches
Second: Katlyn Hawkins, 15 inches
Third: James Lynch, 15 inches
7-10 Year Olds
First: Tara Yelverton, 15 inches
Second: Aden Floyd, 14 3/4 inches
Third: Davin Jarrell, 14 7/8 inches
11-14 Year Olds
First: Anthony Varner, 14 1/4 inches
Second: Logan Kerns, 14 7/8 inches
Third: Ethan Floyd, 14 7/8 inches
Smallest Fish: Julia Nihart, 2 1/4 inches, sunfish
Largest Non-Trout: Alexis Duckworth, 25 1/2 inches, drum
Katie Hines, of Parkersburg, brought her daughter Ellie Hines, 5, to her first fishing derby Saturday.
"This is our first year and it's a lot of fun," said the proud mother as Ellie had her first small fish measured. "It always seems to be raining for the fishing derby so we figured we might as well just come and have a good time in the rain."
The fishing derby is put on every year as an event the entire family can enjoy together and at a decent price.
"We do the fishing derby to promote fishing as a form of recreation," Marshall said. "We have parents who are bringing their kids who came as kids with their parents.
"It has become a family tradition for many people. It is a lot of fun."
The free event did not require fishing licenses and each child was allowed to take home the fish they caught. All fish were measured for awarding of prizes.
The ponds were stocked on April 14 with no fishing permitted from Thursday through Saturday. After the derby finished, open fishing at both ponds resumed.
Each pond was stocked with five tagged fish, sponsored by Life Guard Medical Supply. Each tagged fish was worth $50.
Each pond also was stocked with one golden trout and whoever caught the trout could have received a $100 prize in memory of Al Smith and a trophy. However, none of the golden trouts or the tagged fish were caught at either park on Saturday.
"The last time someone caught the golden trout was in 2009 at Southwood Park," Marshall said. "Every year we hope someone catches it, but it hasn't happened in a while."
The grand champions received a bicycle and will have their fish mounted by Critter Creations Taxidermy. The first-place finishers in each age group received a new bicycle from King Brothers Fabricating. The second- and third-place finishers in each age group received fishing gear. There were also awards for smallest fish and largest non-trout.