BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Volunteers, community organizations and Bassmaster anglers will come together at three venues to help make a positive impact on Elite Series fisheries thanks to the Lake Clean-Up Challenge sponsored by AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters™. The events will be held April 6 in Dayton, Tenn., June 4 in Counce, Tenn., and August 27 in La Crosse, Wis.
Conservation efforts are a cornerstone of the B.A.S.S. tradition, and leading efforts to collect litter can have a sizable impact on the waterways the organization and its fans frequent.
“B.A.S.S. was founded on three things: tournament fishing competition, youth participation and conservation,” B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland said. “We’re thrilled to partner with AFTCO, Yamaha Rightwaters and the communities we’ll be visiting for Elite events on Chickamauga Lake, Pickwick Lake and the Upper Mississippi River for these Clean-Up Challenges. One of the things that we want to try to do is to improve the resource anytime we have a chance.
“An event like this builds camaraderie between those participating. It builds goodwill with the communities that host our events. Most importantly, it helps us leave the venue better than we found it.”
At each event, participants will receive a gift package from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. Plus, registered volunteer organizations participating in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges will be eligible for conservation grants from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. The brands will select the conservations grants — totaling over $25,000 for 2022 — based on their participation in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges and the group’s overall conservation or public service mission.
“Clean water is vitally important to the health of fisheries, and we’re excited to partner with Yahama Rightwaters and B.A.S.S in rewarding local groups for participating in the type of collective action needed to keep our waterways clean,” said AFTCO President Casey Shedd. “We hope that these clean-up challenges will also bring further awareness to the need for single-use plastic reduction and more careful waste disposal consideration.”
“Marine conservation is at the heart of the Yamaha Rightwaters mission and every community clean-up effort can make a major difference in our nation’s waterways,” said John O’Keefe, Senior Specialist, Government Relations, Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit. “We proudly join forces with B.A.S.S., AFTCO, a great league of pro anglers and community volunteers to help preserve these great fisheries for today’s competitors as well as future generations of anglers.”
The three Lake Clean-Up Challenges are timed so that Bassmaster Elite Series pros are able to join volunteers to protect the fisheries where they compete. This is particularly important to these pros, who recognize the opportunity to make an even bigger impact on the river and our sport by showing how important it is to help these environments thrive.
“At every stop we make, it seems like there is a lack of education about the harm leaving trash behind does to the environment,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Carl Jocumsen. “We want to do our part to change it.”
In order to participate, volunteers and groups must preregister by contacting Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Whether they’re part of a junior Bassmaster club, fishing team, church group, Scout troop or a group of civic-minded friends, anyone who wants our waters to be clean and free of trashis welcome to join us lake-side for these events,” said Gilliland.
For full details, visit Bassmaster.com/Conservation-News.