WILKESBORO - The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently partnered with the Yadkin River Greenway Council and Wilkes County to construct a universally accessible pier on the Yadkin River in North Wilkesboro.

The fixed pier, which is built on pilings, is approximately eight feet above normal water level and measures 12-feet-5 by 16 feet, with an 8-foot wide, 20-foot long accessible boardwalk that connects it to the greenway path. The pier has one low handrail in the front/center section of the pier to make it easier for children and anglers in wheelchairs to cast.

The pier is adjacent to the footbridge that spans the Yadkin River, connecting the Yadkin River Greenway in North Wilkesboro to Wilkesboro on the south side of the river.

A two-car parking area designated for use only by handicapped anglers is adjacent to the greenway on the North Wilkesboro side of the river, a short distance upstream of the pier. Other anglers can park at the greenway trailheads located above and below the pier on the North Wilkesboro side of the river and walk to the pier. They also can park at the trailhead on the south side of the river in Wilkesboro and walk across the footbridge to the pier, which is the shortest walking distance.

This section of the Yadkin River offers fishing for largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass, catfish, sunfish, suckers and the occasional chain pickerel, according to Kin Hodges, a fisheries biologist with the Commission.

Because the pier is located just upstream of the mouth of the Reddies River, which is a delayed-harvest trout water, anglers fishing from the pier may catch trout moving upstream in the Yadkin from the Reddies.

"Since we've been stocking the Reddies River the past few years, a trout fishery has developed in the tailrace of W. Kerr Scott Reservoir on the Yadkin River, about five miles upstream of the pier," Hodges said. "Because the trout have to swim by the pier on their way to the tailrace area, folks fishing from the pier should be able to catch some trout between October and June when we're stocking trout in the Reddies."

Other trout-fishing opportunities within walking distance are the delayed-harvest trout water in the Reddies just below the pier and a hatchery supported trout water in Cub Creek in Cub Creek Park on the south side of the river in Wilkesboro near the trailhead that leads to the pedestrian footbridge spanning the river.

The Commission has an interactive fishing map on its website with information on more than 500 public fishing areas across the state, many of which are owned or managed by the agency.

Pier construction and materials were paid for by the Commission using Sport Fish Restoration funds. The Yadkin River Greenway and Wilkes County provided the equipment, assisted with site preparation and built the handicapped parking area.

"The Yadkin River Greenway Council recognizes that sport fishing is popular along the Yadkin River Greenway," said R.G. Absher, executive director of the Yadkin River Greenway Council. "We are pleased that this accessible fishing pier will increase opportunities for people to enjoy fishing."

For more information about the Yadkin River Greenway Council and to view maps of the greenway, visit yadkinrivergreenway.com or contact Absher at 336-651-8967, yrgreenway@pcshome.net