In a bipartisan move applauded by the sportfishing industry and the broader sportfishing community, both Houses of Congress passed the Freedom to Fish Act which will remove unnecessary access restrictions to recreational fishing along the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky. The bill passed on May 21, and now awaits the President’s signature.
The bill, which is strongly supported by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), prohibits the Army Corps of Engineers from installing physical barriers that bar boats from entering the tailwaters of ten dams along the Cumberland River. In addition to prohibiting access to prime fishing areas, these barriers would impede potential rescue efforts in these same areas.
“In this political climate it is refreshing to see a bill receive bipartisan support in the interest of recreational anglers and boaters alike,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “While angling and boating access are important to the area’s economy, the proposed barriers along the Cumberland River were also unnecessary and counterproductive from a safety standpoint.”