Bassmaster Clean-Up Challenge Volunteers Haul In Nearly 4,500 Pounds Of Trash At Pickwick Lake
COUNCE, Tenn. —

Before Semifinal Saturday at the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake, 66 volunteers spread out along the shores and ramps near Pickwick Landing State Park to collect trash as part of the Lake Clean-Up Challenge sponsored by AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters™.

The volunteers, who represented organizations from across West Tennessee and North Alabama, gathered 4,476 pounds of garbage, including tires, scrap lumber and even a navigational buoy. Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful along with Aspell Recovery of Hardin County, Belgreen Bass Club, Mount Pleasant Junior Bass Club, the Pickwick ParrotHeads and the Savannah Moose Lodge worked alongside Bassmaster Elite Series pro Chad Pipkens during the Lake Clean-Up Challenge at Pickwick Lake.

Legendary angler and Tennessee native Bill Dance joined the group as they weighed in their haul of debris, pleading with every angler and boater to carry a trash bag with them on outings and pick up whatever trash they find, “Leaving it cleaner than you found it.”

According to statistics from Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, 80% of trash pulled from waterways originated on land, making clean-up efforts at ramps and parks adjacent to waterways even more critical for the long-term health of American fisheries.

“Our mission is to rally communities to keep the river beautiful for generations to come, and the most important part of the goal are the words ‘future generations,’” said Kathleen Gibi, executive director of Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, who was also part of a previous Lake Clean-up Challenge on Chickamauga Lake. “This is a physical example of what can happen when we come together, and we’re grateful to AFTCO, Yamaha Rightwaters, B.A.S.S. and all of these people from the community for coming together to clean up the Tennessee River.”

Participants received a gift package from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. Plus, registered volunteer organizations are eligible for conservation grants from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. The brands will select the conservation grants — totaling over $25,000 across the 2022 challenges — based on their participation in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges and the group’s overall conservation or public service mission.

As the groups brought in trash, their haul was weighed on an industrial scale donated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division.

The next Lake Clean-Up Challenge will be held July 9 in New York as part of the St. Croix Bassmaster Northern Open at Oneida Lake presented by Mossy Oak Fishing. The final event will be August 27 at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wis.

In order to participate, volunteers and groups must preregister by contacting Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director, at

“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 trash is welcome to join us lakeside for these events,” said Gilliland.

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