DOVER — As long as there have been boat docks in Dover, Jack Ames has been casting into the Pend Oreille for perch.
But the lifetime Dover resident discovered recently that he’s no longer allowed to do that at Dover Bay, the waterfront housing and marina development.
Ames discovered a sign saying fishing from the docks is prohibited — something he’s done his entire life.
“Ever since docks were built there, I went fishing from them,” said Ames, 87.
Ames fished from the docks despite the sign, but decided to hang up his rod after hearing that a buddy and his grandson were thwarted when they tried dropping their lines into the water.
Ames said he wasn’t clear on the change of policy, but had heard that it was because people were leaving behind messes.
Aside from some errant dirt found in night crawler containers, Ames said he has not seen the docks in a sorry state.
Dover Bay’s developer, Waterfront Property Management, said people’s abuse of the docks had indeed prompted the restriction.
Waterfront manager Ralph Sletager said there have been other misdeeds at the boat docks in addition to fishing hooks and trash being left behind. Sletager said there have been complaints of anglers urinating from the docks, fishing from boats that don’t belong to them and people obstructing the docks.
Sletager added that anglers have also been spinning donuts on lawns with their vehicles.
“Obviously, this type of behavior is not welcome and won’t be tolerated,” Sletager said.
Sletager said the resort is developing a registration process and a use agreement that will enable anglers to resume fishing from the docks.
The preliminary plat for the 500-unit Dover Bay development was approved by the city in 2005. The project’s approval was met with delight by some and horror by others.
One of the project’s main selling points to the public was access. Although the development is private, the public is welcome to use its parks and beach.
Former Mayor Randy Curless, who was in office when the project was approved, said he couldn’t recall if there was a specific provision addressing public access to docks. However, if the public was allowed to use the boat ramp, Curless said the permission likely spread to the docks connected to that facility.
“The citizens of Dover were supposed to be able to use the boat ramp,” he said.