Scott Tihansky and Bill Dance
29 Dec

BoardSafe Docks is helping to connect anglers to Bill Dance Signature Lakes throughout Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited sites in the United States, while at the same time, anglers are drawn to Tennessee’s Bill Dance Signature Lakes with the same enthusiasm for their world-class fishing.

Tennessee waters benefit from lake improvements

Those who love to fish are seeing significant improvements to their waters thanks to the Bill Dance Signature Lakes initiative. Legendary fisherman Bill Dance now serves as the inspiration behind the Signature Lakes program after serving as an ambassador for the state.

For over five decades, bass fishing superstar Bill Dance has taught generations how to fish. Dance also became famous for his TV shows: Bill Dance Outdoors and Bill Dance Saltwater. Dance’s Signature Lakes is a collaborative effort of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks, and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Their goal is to improve and enhance Tennessee Lakes, increase visitation, and honor Dance’s legacy.

Since the program was announced in December 2021, much work has been done at participating lakes, including stocking 935,000 fish in small lakes and 8.4 million fish in large reservoirs.

Additional efforts are underway to improve access to fishing and boating with new boat ramps, expanded parking, courtesy docks, and fishing piers. BoardSafe Docks is excited to contribute to these improvements by improving accessibility to their lakes’ gangways, courtesy docks, and fishing piers.

Scott Tihansky and Bill Dance
BoardSafe’s Scott Tihansky with bass fishing superstar, Bill Dance

Improved accessibility at Pickwick Dam showcases improvements

In July 2022, BoardSafe Docks manufactured a project for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at Pickwick Dam. Located within Pickwick State Park at 116 State Park Lane, Counce, TN, the floating dock system consists of

  • one 10’ x 200’ main dock.
  • three (3) 5’ x 30’ gangways.
  • three (3) 6’ x 10’ connecting docks at the bottom of the gangway.
  • composite decking.
  • plastic encapsulated flotation.
  • aluminum floating docks with a 20-inch freeboard.

Pickwick Dam Gangway  Pickwick Dam Main Dock

View the project video here: Floating Dock System at Pickwick Dam in Tennessee 

Pickwick Dam is a popular floating and fishing pier for locals, and a prime location for professional bass tournaments, such as the Bassmaster Elite Series that was held at this location in the summer of 2022, as well as The Bassmaster Collegiate Series held at Pickwick in August.

Bassmaster College Series  Bassmaster Series at Pickwick Dam

Additional BoardSafe improvements made to Courtesy Docks, Accessible Fishing Piers, and Gangways can be used at the following Bill Dance Signature Lakes.

Brown’s Creek Lake, located within Natchez Trace State Park at 1735 Browns Lake Rd., Lexington, TN. This 167-acre beauty includes a boat launching ramp, fish attractors, a fishing pier, rental boats, a courtesy dock, and restrooms. The creek has a reputation for Big Bass but also has excellent fishing for Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, and Channel Catfish.

Lake Halford, located at 405 Boyd’s Landing Rd., Huntingdon, TN, is a 1000-acre lake located in Carroll County. It has a boat launching ramp, fish attractors, a fishing pier, and rental boats. A picnic area and restrooms are available to visitors. The lake is home to several types of fish, including Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, and Walleye.

Herb Parsons Lake, located at 140 Herb Parsons Way, Collier, TN, in Fayette County, is a 177-acre lake that offers family picnic areas and concessions. Fishing licenses and lake permits are available for purchase on-site. Boat rentals are available to get out on the water to fish Bluegill, Catfish, Crappie, and Largemouth Bass.

Each of the three lakes has been made more accessible with a BoardSafe floating dock system that includes a 5-ft. x 40-ft. access gangway attached to a floating courtesy dock. The gangway boasts a dual-sided handrail system using a unique aluminum mesh for ADA compliance. Each floating dock measures 8 ft. x 30 ft. long, with rub rail and cleats allowing boats a temporary tie-up.

The second dock system installed at each location is an accessible fishing pier. Each pier includes a 5-ft. x 40-ft. access gangway with an ADA-compliant pitch so paddlers in wheelchairs can safely access the pier to fish. Also included is a dual-sided handrail system with unique aluminum mesh protective side panels. Each floating dock measures 8 ft. x 75 ft., with a protective ADA handrail around the perimeter. The handrail uses aluminum mesh panels at varying heights on the top rail for ADA compliance. This provides a safe and easy way for people in wheelchairs to fish from the dock.

Pickwick Dam Adaptive Dock and Gangway  BoardSafe Mesh Gangway Rail

The benefits of adaptive and inclusive docks

Adaptive fishing piers are designed to accommodate and enhance the fishing experience for individuals with physical disabilities or mobility challenges. 

These piers are attractive to adaptive anglers for several reasons:

Accessibility Adaptive fishing piers are built with accessibility in mind. They typically feature ramps, wider pathways, and other modifications that make it easier for anglers using wheelchairs or other mobility devices to reach the fishing area.

Safety These piers often include safety features such as railings and non-slip surfaces to ensure a secure environment for adaptive anglers. Safety is a crucial consideration for individuals with disabilities, and adaptive piers help address those concerns.

Pickwick Dam Accessible Gangway  BoardSafe Accessible Gangway at Pickwick Dam

Adaptive equipment compatibility Adaptive fishing piers may be equipped with features that facilitate the use of adaptive fishing equipment. This can include specialized fishing rod holders, seating arrangements, and other modifications that cater to the needs of anglers with different abilities.

Inclusive design Adaptive fishing piers contribute to the promotion of universal access to outdoor recreational activities. By providing an accessible and welcoming environment, these piers enable individuals with disabilities to participate in fishing alongside their friends and family.

Community engagement These piers often serve as focal points for community engagement and shared outdoor experiences. They provide a space where adaptive anglers can connect with other members of the fishing community, fostering a sense of belonging and social interaction.

Regulatory compliance Many adaptive fishing piers are built to comply with accessibility regulations and standards. This ensures that these structures meet specific criteria, such as those outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States, making them accessible and usable by a wider range of individuals.

Scenic views Adaptive fishing piers and courtesy docks are often located in scenic areas, providing a beautiful backdrop for fishing activities. The aesthetic appeal of these locations can enhance the overall fishing experience for adaptive anglers, making it a more enjoyable and fulfilling activity. Besides, no dock on the market is as aesthetically pleasing as a BoardSafe Dock.

BoardSafe Accessible Gangway and Dock at Pickwick Dam  BoardSafe Adaptive Fishing Pier at Pickwick Dam

Education and outreach Some adaptive fishing piers may include educational components or outreach programs aimed at providing information and resources for adaptive anglers. These can include information on accessible fishing techniques, equipment, and community support services.

In summary, adaptive fishing piers offer universal access and are attractive to adaptive anglers because they address specific accessibility needs, promote safety, facilitate the use of adaptive equipment, encourage community engagement, and contribute to an inclusive and enjoyable fishing experience. Simply put, they meet everyone’s needs.

BoardSafe Adaptive Gangway at Pickwick Dam  BoardSafe Accessble Gangway at Pickwick Dam

According to the American Sportfishing Association, Tennessee is home to half a million acres of lakes and 1.84 million people who fish. Fishing generates $1.3 billion in economic impact annually and supports 8,140 jobs across the state.

Each Bill Dance Signature Lake was selected by agency partners and Dance himself for its ability to be an accessible fishing destination and provide quality fishing fun for avid anglers and their families. The improved accessibility also makes the lakes available to anglers in wheelchairs, those with mobility limitations, and those who experienced difficulty in accessing all the lakes have to offer. Endorsed by Bill Dance Outdoors, additional projects are expected to be near completion by fall 2024.

Do you want to know more about Bill Dance?

Bill Dance is a popular bass fishing superstar who has taught generations to fish. He hosts and produces Bill Dance Outdoors and Bill Dance Saltwater, airing respectively on the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel. For decades, Bill Dance has served as an ambassador for the state of Tennessee and is always filmed or photographed wearing his trademark orange-and-white University of Tennessee cap.

In 2021, Country Singer Luke Bryan wrote a song for and created this video of his fishing hero, Bill Dance: Luke Bryan – Bill Dance (Official Music Video).

BoardSafe Docks is honored to provide the best accessibility products in today’s market for the best anglers on the water. To learn more about BoardSafe’s gangways, accessible docks, and fishing piers, contact BoardSafe through our website at or by calling 610.899.0286.