Disabled anglers now have prime fishing areas open like never before in Wyoming.
Instead of the typical handicapped piers, which keep anglers several feet above the water, these unique cement ramps flow into the river, protected on the sides by boulders.
“They’re down to the water where it makes catch and release easy,” said Leon Sanderson, president of the Dubois Anglers and Wildlife Group in charge of the project.
The anglers group, along with Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Dubois Volunteers Inc., recently finished the final four of seven handicapped ramps.
The group wanted to do something for the community, and when Dubois Volunteers Inc., began building pathways along the river, handicapped accesses seemed like a natural addition.
On the east side of Dubois, the ramps are on a stretch of the Wind River that doesn’t freeze over in the winter, giving disabled anglers year-round access to fishing.
The group has spent about $170,000 on the project during the past seven years. It also hired a habitat specialist to help restore the river to its original state.
“Historically, the economy in Dubois was based on the tie hack industry,” Sanderson said.
Workers selectively cut trees in the area and floated the tie hacks down the river to Riverton.
To make the trip faster, they blasted and straightened sections of the Wind, getting rid of the obstructions that make fish habitat.
Now disabled anglers can fish on restored river sections teaming with migrating and resident brown trout, rainbow and cutthroat trout and white fish.