Freedom to Fish Below Cumberland River Dams Now Signed into Law

Jun 10, 2014

Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A new law now protects the right to fish in the tailwaters of dams on the Cumberland River, thanks to work from Kentucky and Tennessee federal lawmakers.

Last summer, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell successfully delayed for two years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ restrictions on fishing below Barkley and Wolf Creek dams. President Barack Obama signed the "Freedom to Fish" provision into law Tuesday, permanently banning the Corps’ from restricting fishing access.

The provision was included as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, which passed the U.S. Senate and House last month.

McConnell called the law "outstanding news" for Kentucky fishing enthusiasts in a news release. He said it should be up to the states to regulate these public areas, not the federal government.

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield and Tennessee U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander also worked against the Corps' restrictions.