Accessible fishing now at Derby Reach

As a paralympic athlete, Doug Blessin has no problem casting his line quite a distance into the Fraser River in search of hungry fish.

As a paralympic athlete, Doug Blessin has no problem casting his line quite a distance into the Fraser River in search of hungry fish. He does, however, face a unique challenge that other bar anglers don’t.

“Because of my upper body strength, I can cast farther than most people,” notes Blessin, who uses a wheelchair. “But a lot of fishing on the Fraser is catch-and-release. I can’t be tossing a fish 100 metres back into the water. I need to be able to return the fish properly and gently.”

Soon, Blessin – and other anglers with reduced mobility – will be able to access a unique fishing opportunity at Edgewater Bar in Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley. With support from Metro Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver, local businesses and volunteers, a universally accessible bar fishing ramp has been constructed – the first in the region.

Using concrete barriers and gravel, crews are creating a graduated ramp from the river bank, over riprap (placed rock protection) to a gravel platform at the river’s edge. The project – first proposed by members of the Derby Reach Brae Island Park Association – has moved forward quickly, thanks to supplies, materials and services donated by local companies, in conjunction with the Pacific Parklands Foundation.

“We’re delighted that staff, residents and businesses have pulled together to make this important project a reality,” said Heather Deal, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Environment and Parks Committee. “It’s truly a reflection of a community that cares and ensures all members of the public have access to this popular Fraser River fishing spot.”

The accessible fishing ramp is the latest addition to facilities in the park that make it easier for those using wheelchairs to experience the outdoors. Derby Reach Regional Park already boasts accessible washrooms, picnic shelters, trails, campsites and an off-leash dog area.

“It’s going to be used by a lot of people,” noted Jeremy Smith, president of the Derby Reach Brae Island Park Association. “And it showed me what can be done through cooperation and goodwill.”

Blessin, who has been involved in developing the ramp design, is looking forward to the constructed ramp. “I cannot wait to try it out with my twin boys and introduce them to fishing, conservation and the great outdoors.”

Visit to learn more about regional parks.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Toy toys take time to trend – Langley toy sellers say

Playmobil, Slime, Barbie, Harry Potter-themed LEGO, and Star Wars collectibles among popular gifts.

Where to find community holiday feasts in Langley

A variety of groups are hosting free meals for the Langley community to fill up on.

Surrey boy’s birthday wish raises $13,500 for rescued farm animals in Aldergrove

Matthew Farden received a large donation from the mister Blake Foundation towards a sanctuary farm.

Langley Mounties get new tool to find drunk drivers

New legislation take effect this week that will allow broader breathalyzer testing.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Make sure to equip winter tires if travelling

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Coquihalla closed between Hope and Merritt

The highway is closed in the northbound lane

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Lower Mainland man receives apology after getting kicked out of library

Mike Wilson fears the same treatment he received Nov. 2 by security guards will happen to others

Most Read