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Fish Derby on line for Saturday at parks

Photo by Jess Mancini John Harding, of Indian Lake, stocks trout Thursday in the City Park Pond where young anglers Saturday will compete in the annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby. The derby is held at City Park and Southwood Park where 800 pounds of trout, 500 at City Park and 300 at Southwood, were stocked in the ponds. Registration is 8 a.m. Saturday with the tournament starting at 9 a.m.

PARKERSBURG — After a year’s hiatus, the Parkersburg Fishing Derby returns Saturday at City Park and Southwood Park.

The 40th edition of the annual Fishing Derby, canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, begins with registration at 8 a.m. at the ponds in both parks.

“The Fishing Derby has a committee completely dedicated to pulling this off,” said Andy Hartleben, director of the Wood County Recreation Commission, which manages the derby. “They’re passionate.”

The derby is held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday with casting times staggered based on age group, Hartleben said.

Children age 3-6 cast first at 9 a.m., followed in 15-minute intervals for participants 7- 10 years old and then 11-14 years old. Everyone fishes until noon.

Prizes are awarded for the largest catch.

Catches are measured and the decision of the judges is final.

Also, the angler who hooks the tagged golden trout from each pond will receive $100, Hartleben said.

Prizes include fishing gear and paraphernalia including tackle boxes, rods and reels, he said.

“There’s just all kinds of fishing-related prizes,” Hartleben said.

Rules are: all fish must be caught during the derby to be eligible for a prize; one pole per angler; adults may assists with casting, but the child must fish; no net fishing or fishing with lures; four fish per angler; decisions of judges are final; state and federal rules and regulations apply, including necessary licenses and stamps.

Trout were stocked in both ponds on Thursday by Indian Lake of Elkview, W.Va.

As is customary, fishing at both ponds was suspended Wednesday until after the derby on Saturday.

John Harding of Indian Lake dumped 500 pounds of trout in the pond at City Park and 300 pounds at Southwood.

“There’s some good trout there,” he said as he tossed the fish into the water.

Yes there is, said Mayor Tom Joyce, an avid fisherman who went trout fishing last week in the mountains.

Joyce fished in the derby as a child with his father. Fishing teaches patience and perseverance and children are less likely to get into trouble, he said.

“I feel sorry for those who have never had the pleasure of the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing,” Joyce said.

This is Hartleben’s first fishing derby. He was appointed director of the recreation commission in September, including the dual duty of director of the Solid Waste Authority, in September by the Wood County Commission.

He’s excited for Saturday.

So is Councilmember Sharon Kuhl, who said she will be joined by fellow councilmembers Jessica Cottrille and Chris Rexroad as volunteers on Saturday.

“Absolutely. I’m really excited,” said Kuhl, who has been involved in the derby for about seven years. “I’m so glad they’re doing it this year.”

The derby, besides fishing, is a time when the children can participate in an activity with their parents or grandparents, she said.

“The look on their faces is just unreal,” Kuhl said.

Sponsors of the Fishing Derby include: Zoetis, Stallings Realty, Stoked Coffee, Mace & Associates, Matt and Shannon Johnson, Sheri Cox, Quality Exhaust and Jay Cox, Pleasants County Insurance, Almost Heaven Adventures and Tim Joyce, Bosley Rental & Supply, Community Bank of Parkersburg, K Graphics and Keith Emrick, Mid Ohio Valley Banks, United Bank, Mountain State Sportsmen’s Association, Drake’s Construction and Restoration, Badger Lumber. Vaughan Funeral Home, Kimes Funeral Home, Greenscape, Ben Bey Grotto, Mary B’s, Dairy Queen southside and Trout Unlimited Blennerhassett Chapter.

“Without our sponsors, this event would be hard to pull off,” Hartleben said.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com

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