Anglers head out to Parkerburg city parks for derby

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.

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.

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.

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