Senators from Kentucky and Tennessee have introduced legislation to preserve tailwater fishing in the dams of the Cumberland River. The legislation, called the Freedom to Fish Act, would prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from installing barriers along portions of the river that would block fishing access to tailwaters.
Dams are popular fishing spots because small fish get trapped and attract larger ones like catfish and bass. Corp officials say boating too close to the spillways at the dams is a safety risk and that barriers will go up this year. Anglers in both states have been voicing outrage over the plan.
Kentucky’s first district congressman Ed Whitfield demands that the Army Corps of Engineers consider solutions other than permanently closing areas around Cumberland River dams to fishing. Corps officials announced in December they would restrict access 700 feet downstream and 400 feet upstream of the dams because the area is dangerous.