Rain doesn't keep kid anglers from fishing contest



"Liver, please," the children requested politely.

Park rangers at the C&O Canal, and Williamsport Rotarians obliged, handing out bait to the young participants in the Fishin' Fun Contest Saturday at the Cushwa Basin in the C&O Canal National Historical Park here.

The contest was scheduled to occur "rain or shine." So it went on, despite a cool, heavy downpour that lasted well into the afternoon.

Fishing enthusiasts under the age of 15 - equipped with slickers, boots, umbrellas and, of course, fishing gear - withstood the steady rain from 10 until 11:30 a.m., all in the name of angling the mighty fish.


Greg Chider, 36, of Williamsport, stood sopping wet along with his wife, Lisa, 40, and their sons, Michael Leonard, 15, and Taylor Leonard, 10.

"We figured if we could shower in water and swim in water, then we could fish in it, too," Greg Chider said.

Taylor Leonard, who used worms as bait rather than chicken liver, said the best part of the contest was "trying to see who can catch the biggest fish."

His personal best measured 15 inches.

The C&O Canal and the Williamsport Rotary ran the event through the support of area businesses and the assistance of the canal's Bike Patrol volunteers.

"It's a great thing they do for the community," Lisa Chider said. "It's family-oriented and the cost is free."

Gloria Updyke, a national park ranger at the canal, said the Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocked the waters with more than 250 pounds of catfish for the event. She said, unfortunately, this is the second year in a row that it has rained the day of the contest.

On the bright side, Diane Shipp, 60, a Bike Patrol volunteer, said 12 children registered to participate this year, up two from last year.

Updyke said other years, in more agreeable weather, as many as 150 young people have participated.

Chris Ciccarelli, 43, a member of the Williamsport Rotary, said the fishing was good.

"One boy caught more than he can count," Ciccarelli said.

Hanna Davis, 9, of Halfway, reeled in more than just fish.

"I caught a turtle," Davis said with wonder.

Following the contest, participants headed for shelter in the Trolley Building at the canal, where they had hot dogs and soft drinks and received prizes. The prizes, which were awarded in three age groups, included fishing poles and tackle boxes donated by Wolfe's on the Square in Williamsport.

Adam Carter, 9, of Cearfoss was a big winner, receiving honors for catching the most fish (seven), the biggest fish (19 inches) and the first fish (four minutes into the contest).

Adam's parents, Bobbi and Jim Anderson, said Adam had an opportunity to go to Hershey Park Saturday, but chose to go fishing in the rain instead.

"For him, there was no question about it," Jim Anderson said.

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