By Wayne Towner
Special to The Times
PARKERSBURG - Hundreds of children are expected to gather April 19 at City Park and Southwood Park for the 34th annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby.
The free event will run from 9 a.m.-noon at the ponds in both parks for children from 3-14 years trying to catch prize-winning fish, including a golden trout valued at $100.
The Wood County Recreation Commission is accepting donations for the derby, said executive director Vickie Marshall. For more information or to make a donation, contact Marshall at 304-424-7311 Ext. 201, email@example.com or online at www.woodrecreation.com.
"We are accepting monetary donations and fishing gear to be used for prizes," she said. Local businesses, individuals and organizations have stepped forward to help the event.
Beginning last year, derby officials replaced the former bicycles given to grand champions and first-place finishers with fishing gear as the main prize. Marshall said that will continue this year.
The only exception will be the $100 cash prize and trophy given to the child who catches the golden trout- one in each pond- in memory of former Parkersburg mayor Al Smith.
All fish must be caught during the derby to qualify for a prize.
Marshall said both ponds will be stocked with trout in the week before the derby and no fishing will be permitted from April 17 until the afternoon after the derby.
The fishing times at both parks will be:
* Ages 3-6: 9 a.m.-noon
* Ages 7-10: 9:15 a.m.-noon
* Ages 11-14: 9:30 a.m.-noon
The fishing derby rules are:
* No fishing lures
* No fishing from piers
* One pole per fisherman
* No net fishing
* Four fish per fisherman
* Adults may assist a youth fisherman; however, only the ages specified are permitted to fish.
* The decision of the judges is final.
Prizes will be awarded in each age group for first through third places. Prizes also will be awarded for Grand Champion, Largest Non-Trout and Smallest Fish.
Marshall said the fishing derby has remained a popular event over the years, with thousands of children participating. She credited the community support and donations provided by local businesses and individuals with keeping the event strong and growing, because it is entirely supported by those donations.