Totally Hooked: Parkersburg Fishing Derby Attracts Families to City Parks | News, Sports, Jobs

Raylee Townsend, 7, fishes from the rocky beach along Southwood Park Pond. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

PARKERSBURG – Although no golden trout were caught in either park, the youngsters still had fun at the 41st annual Parkersburg Fishing Derby.

Crowds gathered as early as 8 a.m. at the ponds in City Park and Southwood Park to fish and compete for prizes.

According to derby organizer and director of the Wood County Recreation Commission, Andy Hartleben, the ponds were filled with fresh trout on Friday.

Children aged 3 to 14 lined up along the banks and cast their line into the ponds, hoping to win at least one of the trophies or gifts on offer.

Prizes were awarded to the top three places based on the size of the trout, Hartleben said. Prizes will also be awarded to the biggest non-trout.

James Rake, 4, brings in his first trout to measure. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

This year’s derby was in honor of the late Matt Shively, who was a strong supporter of the derby, Holiday in the Park and youth sports.

Shively died in 2021 from cancer.

“I am grateful to the recreation committee and the city for remembering and honoring my father today,” Dave Shively said. “He loved this event so much.

Dave Shively was one of 20 family members who made it to the event.

While the Shivelys were at City Park, in Southwood Park a different derby legacy could be seen.

Hazel McCoy, 4, brings her fish home to be measured at City Park. McCoy was the grand champion of the day. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

The fishing tournament itself was created 41 years ago by Al Smith, who was the mayor of Parkersburg. While Smith is no longer there to host, his family has continued his legacy. Managing operations at Southwood Park was his daughter Sheri Cox, granddaughter Shannon Johnson and two of his great-grandchildren.

His great-grandchildren were able to help by measuring the fish brought.

“This is my third fish today,” said Ella-Anne Wilson, 6.

His fish was 16 inches and 1/2 inches.

The biggest fish of the day was 26 inches and the biggest trout was 16 3/4 inches.

David Wilson helps his 10-year-old son Maverik Wilson pull a fish off the line. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at [email protected]


Winners – Southwood Winners

Grand Champion

*Ruby Sams 16 3/4 (12)

Amelia Blair, 6, received a gift card from Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce for catching the first fish of the day, which her father John Blair is pictured holding. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

The largest non-trout

* Ethan Barnes 26 (6)


1. Ella-Anne Wilson 16 1/2 (6) photo

2. Jonah Walters 16 1/2 (5)

Ethan Barnes, 6, hauls in his measuring carp. The carp was over 26 inches long. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

3. Wiley Fox 15 1/2 (6)


1. Gianna Fittro 16 (9)

2. Gabriela Squires 16 (7)

3. Cole Cottrell 15 1/4 (9)


1. Cherish Rake 16 5/8 (11)

2. Wyatt Sadler 16 1/2 (12)

3. Adison Rake 16 (11)


Winners – City Park

Grand Champion

* Hazel McCoy, 4 with a 15 and 5/8 inch trout

The largest non-trout

* Brody Dillon, 5 years old


1.Holden Wyman

2. Ryan Blackstone

3.Jackson McCloy


1. Maverick Wilson

2. Carter Vest

3. Raelynn Brownfield

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