SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — During the past half century, few fisheries have meant as much to professional bass fishing as Alabama’s Lake Guntersville.
The famed 69,000-acre fishery on the Tennessee River has hosted 22 major B.A.S.S. events and has served as the backdrop for some of the sport’s most memorable moments.
Now, B.A.S.S. is set to give something back.
On Saturday, while Day 2 of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville is underway, dozens of volunteers will spread out and pick up trash along the lakeshore as part of the B.A.S.S. Nation Cleanup.
B.A.S.S. Nation members, anglers from affiliated high school fishing teams, B.A.S.S. staff and other volunteers will take part in the project, which is being headed by officials from the Tennessee Valley Authority and B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. Volunteers from the Scottsboro area and other communities around the lake are invited to participate as well, Gilliland said.
“One of the things that we want to try to do — certainly at our Elite events and at some of our others — is to improve the resource anytime we have a chance,” Gilliland said. “An event like this builds camaraderie between those participating. It builds goodwill with the communities that host our events, in this case Scottsboro.
“Most importantly, it helps us leave the venue better than we found it.”
Gilliland said cleanup efforts are especially important on Tennessee River fisheries this year after record floods have carried trash to places it might not have usually reached.
TVA will spearhead Saturday’s efforts by providing cleanup essentials, like gloves, trash bags and trash grabbers.
“Taking care of the environment has been a key part of TVA’s mission of service in the Tennessee Valley for 86 years,” said TVA Natural Resources Manager David Brewster. “We’re proud of the beautiful reservoirs we manage, and we’re grateful for partners who work with us to help keep them clean.”
Competition for the Lake Guntersville Elite Series event will take place Friday through Monday with daily takeoffs at 6 a.m. and weigh-ins at 2:15 p.m., both at Goose Pond Colony. On Saturday, volunteers will arrive at Goose Pond before 9 a.m. and pick up litter until about 11 a.m.
The cleanup efforts should conclude just in time for the Miracle Mile Festival at Goose Pond, which includes live entertainment, prize giveaways, food vendors, the Elite Series weigh-in and much more.
“It is really nice to have a partner like TVA that can work with us on this particular cleanup,” Gilliland said. “What we’re hoping is that the publicity surrounding this event will be a springboard for more — whether it’s for us at our events or someone else around the country.
“We hope other people see this and say, ‘We can do that, too.’”
For more information about the Bassmaster Elite and the B.A.S.S. Nation Cleanup at Lake Guntersville, visit Bassmaster.com.