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Members of the Elkader Fire Department position a railing at a new fishing pier and observation deck.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Elkader firefighters last week put the finishing touches on a project that will expand fishing opportunities in the area. 

The firefighters have completed a handicap accessible fishing dock and observation pier on the South High Street side of the Turkey River almost directly across from the swimming pool parking lot. The project was suggested by Elkader businessman Dave Bahls, who has served on the fire department for 25-plus years, after a deeply moving encounter with a young boy and his mother.

A few years ago, Dave, an avid fisherman, and his wife, Darlene, were fishing near Motor Mill when they heard a series of slamming car doors. Dave went to investigate and found a woman looking for a handicap-accessible fishing spot. The woman’s young son was in a wheelchair.

“They were staying at the campground and someone there told her there was a place near Motor Mill where her son could fish,” Dave said. “I had to tell her there wasn’t one there or anywhere nearby that I knew of. She was crying. Her son was crying. I felt like crying. I went back and told Darlene, ‘We gotta’ make this right.’”

The new fishing dock is 10 feet wide and 15 feet long. It’s wrapped on three sides by an iron rail designed by Elkader firefighter Greg Anderson. Other members of the department helped with labor. The firefighters raised funds to cover the cost of materials. The dock sits on land owned by the city; permission was given for it to be built there.

The dock, which was completed in time for the 25th annual Redhorse Fisheree, is also a great place to sit and enjoy the river, or take photos. 

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