Oak Mountain opens new fishing pier

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The new Oak Mountain State Park fishing pier is 200 feet long and is adjacent to the original pier behind the park office. (Contributed photo/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A new addition to the Oak Mountain State Park fishing pier will help the park facilitate more special-needs children during its annual exceptional anglers events, said the park’s superintendent.

On June 20, park officials opened the new 200-foot fishing pier adjacent to the existing 250-foot pier near the state park’s office on Terrace Drive. The new pier complies with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, and was constructed mainly to house fishing events designed for special-needs students.

Nearly every year, the park hosts the “Gone Fishin’ Not Just Wishin’” event, which offers special-needs students in Shelby and Jefferson counties a chance to experience real-world angling.

During past events, the state park has had limited pier space to accommodate the special-needs children who participate in the event, said park Superintendent Michael Jeffreys.

“We hold the ‘Gone Fishin’ Not Just Wishin’’ event every year, and we were starting to run out of available space to let the kids fish,” Jeffreys said. “The new pier will really help us to be able to serve more kids next year.”

Because this year’s Gone Fishin’ Not Just Wishin’ event was canceled due to the state’s April 27 tornado outbreak, the park will dedicate the new pier before next year’s event.

When the pier is not reserved for special events, it will be open to all park anglers. The lake is typically stocked with bass, brim and catfish.

Fishing licenses are required to fish from the pier, and are available at the nearby park office, several area retailers and from the Alabama Department of Natural Resources website at Outdooralabama.com.