Parkersburg Fishing Derby lures families to city’s parks

Around 300 people attended the 40th edition of the annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby Saturday at City Park alone. Southwood Park also saw a lot of community members. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

PARKERSBURG — As 2021 continues, more annual events start to make their “comeback” after all the cancellations from 2020.

This year, one much loved community event making that “comeback” is the Parkersburg Fishing Derby held at City Park and Southwood Park.

The 40th edition of the annual Fishing Derby, canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, began with a busy registration at 8 a.m. at the ponds in both parks and lasted until noon on Saturday.

The derby is held with casting times staggered based on age group.

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.

Chloey McElfresh, 5, came out to the fishing derby Saturday at City Park and caught a 15-and-five-eighths-inch fish. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Prizes were awarded for the largest catch, smallest catch, largest non-trout and top three largest for each age division.

Also, the angler who hooks the tagged golden trout from each pond received $100.

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

Rules were: all fish must be caught during the derby to be eligible for a prize; one pole per angler; adults may assist 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.

“Today was really successful,” said committee member Matt Shiveli. “One of the best turnouts we have seen in years.”

Ryett Harvey and his father hold up the golden trout Harvey caught at Southwood Park Saturday during the Parkersburg Fishing Derby. (Photo Provided)

Shiveli said he is proud this event is still going after 40 years and is still so loved by the community.

“This is 100 percent free for the kids and families participating and is funded entirely by private donations,” he said.

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.

Gabe Parsons, 5, caught a 13-and-a-half-inch fish at City Park Saturday during the Parkersburg Fishing Derby. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

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, Trout Unlimited Blennerhassett Chapter and Jack Horton.

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




The winners of the 11-14 age group in the fishing derby at City Park Saturday are shown with their prizes, from left: Ethan Carver, third; Reagan Foughty, second; and Cale Varney, first. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Grand Champ: Easton Miller; Golden trout: Ryett Harvey; Smallest fish; Lillian Blair Largest non-trout: Jackson Merrel.

3-6 year olds:

1st place: Colton McIntyre

2nd place: Maddox Cottrille

3rd place: Nora Lee Cottrille

Committee members measured the fish and recorded their sizes during Saturday’s Parkersburg Fishing Derby. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

The 7-10 year olds:

1st place: Colton Dowler

2nd place: Rylee McIntyre

3rd place: Gabe White


1st place; Madison Hunt

2nd place; Corey Wiggins

3rd place; Wyatt Sadler


Grand Champ: Kayden Dillion; Smallest fish; Maddy McMullen Largest non-trout: Jackson Alyssa Starcher.

3-6 year olds:

1st place: Callie McCloy

2nd place: KJ Beatty

3rd place: Braylee Dowler

The 7-10 year olds:

1st place: Brendan Grogan

2nd place: Landen McCloy

3rd place: Maverick Wilson


1st place; Cale Varney

2nd place; Reagan Foughty

3rd place; Ethan Carver

These names were submitted by event volunteers.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

Kaden Hemrick, 7, fishes at City Park during Saturday’s derby. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Briaunda McKenny helps her daughter Maddy McMullen, 5, reel in a fish Saturday at City Park during the annual fishing derby. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Amelia Blair, 5, shows off her catch at the fishing derby Saturday at City Park. Blair enjoys fishing and has participated multiple years in a row. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)


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