Drano Lake fishing ramp gets Forest Service approval

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

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COOK — The Forest Service has given the green light for construction of a wheelchair-accessible fishing ramp at Drano Lake in Skamania County.

Daina Bambe, acting manager of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, signed the paperwork on last week.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to build the ramp this winter at Social Security Beach, a popular bank-fishing location on the west side of Drano Lake.

The ramp is envisioned to be about 250 feet long and four feet wide, said Speros Doulos, manager of the four federal hatcheries in the Gorge.

The ramp will be near the water’s edge with a curb stop to prevent wheelchairs from entering the lake. A 120-square-foot paved landing area at the water’s edge would provide a spot to net fish.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a contract to Five Rivers Construction of Longview to build the ramp.

Doulos is working with Yakama Indian Nation officials to remove two tribal fishing scaffolds at the site of the proposed ramp. Tribal officials in August prohibited scaffolds with 50 feet of the site.

Drano Lake is a large backwater of the Columbia River at the mouth of the Little White Salmon River.