Park adds wheelchair-accessible fishing pier

Photo provided by Lester Kenyon -- Standing near the new handicapped-accessible fishing pier and gazebo at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center are Ascension Parish employees, from left, Thomas Nicholson, Nelson Aymond, Hubert 'Cue Ball' James, Richard Gautreaux and Leroy Anderson. Show caption
Photo provided by Lester Kenyon -- Standing near the new handicapped-accessible fishing pier and gazebo at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center are Ascension Parish employees, from left, Thomas Nicholson, Nelson Aymond, Hubert 'Cue Ball' James, Richard Gautreaux and Leroy Anderson.

The newly constructed handicapped-accessible gazebo and pier on the banks of the fishing pond at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center are continually drawing residents looking for an enjoyable fishing experience, Parish President Tommy Martinez said.

“With the spring fishing season now in full swing, we’ve already seen numerous residents using the pier,” Martinez said. “By designing it to be handicap-accessible, we want to make sure no one is denied the joys of casting that line and feeling the excitement of pulling in a fish. It’s something that every child, and every adult for that matter, should experience in their lives.”

Built on the bank of Lamar-Dixon’s 11.4-acre fishing pond, the gazebo measures 16 feet across and sits 40 feet from shore. An 80-foot by 6-foot dock provides access to the gazebo.

“It’s built so that people with disabilities can fish from a wheelchair and have fun,” parish recreation employee Richard Gautreaux said. “They’re going to catch bass, catfish, sac-a-lait and bream. The deepest part of this pond is 17 feet and there’s bass up to 6 and 7 pounds in here. And there’s catfish much bigger than that.”

According to park rules, bass measuring over 14 inches must be released. Newly stocked grass carp must be released also, according to state regulations. All other species may be taken.

Gautreaux said the pond was stocked by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in February 2010 with 79 breeding stock catfish and 59 breeding stock bass between 2½ and 4 pounds.

According to park rules, only daytime fishing is allowed. Swimming is prohibited. Only paddle or trolling motor boats are allowed.

For more information on fishing at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, or to schedule an organized activity, call parish program coordinator Beth Bertrand at (225) 450-1065.