Saturday Shoutout / America’s Most Un-Wanted

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

It’s official, the most endangered American river runs right by my house.

“The basin that includes the Chattahoochee, Apalachicola and Flint rivers is the country’s most endangered, according to a study released today by the conservation nonprofit American Rivers.

The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers report says chronic mismanagement of the rivers, coupled with legal jockeying between Florida, Alabama and Georgia over water control has “put the basin at a breaking point.”

Excessive water use, mishandling by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and political gridlock have caused disastrous consequences for Florida’s Apalachicola Bay, the report says. Oyster, crab, shrimp and other species in the bay — where the rivers deposit into the Gulf of Mexico — were “decimated in 2012 and have scarcely recovered since,” the report states.” – Lagrange Daily News

Most of our readers will not even recognize the name Chattahoochee River. It has never and will never be known as one of America’s great rivers but it has been a very special place to me. This beautiful river was the first place I ever had a 100 fish day or saw a blizzard hatch. Unfortunately, those are but distant memories. I have watched this river die right before my eyes.

Yes, there are still trout in the Chattahoochee and there are big trout in places but every year the river becomes dryer, hotter, filthier and less productive. Sadly, it gets very little support from the  community. There is no hope for help from the local governments of GA and Atlanta, which could not be worse, and the local fishing community does not want to admit there is a problem. It wouldn’t be news if Florida and Alabama weren’t suing Georgia for ruining the river.

On a positive note, I’d like to personally thank Orvis for their efforts. Their Quality Hooch program is doing a lot of good and raising a lot of money for water quality monitoring and improvement on the Chattahoochee. Please support them. And Atlanta Fly Tying is helping in the effort as well with a great tying event featuring Pat Cohen. Proceeds go to the Quality Hooch. G&G is a proud sponsor.

For more info and ways you can help, take a minute to read this ARTICLE FROM THE LAGRANGE DAILY NEWS.

For more information about the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report, visit

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “Saturday Shoutout / America’s Most Un-Wanted

  1. Right now the Governor has issued a State of Emergency in St Lucie, Martin and Lee Counties Fl. where blue/green algae runoff from Lake Okeechobee has devastated the estuaries discharging from the Lake. Surrounding waterways are also becoming impacted. I have been speaking about clean water for decades and how it impacts our fisheries. Many guides and fisheries experts have been predicting the impending doom unless something is done about the Okeechobee discharges. This isn’t global warming, this is real stuff happening right now. It could be the Chattahoochee, Apalachicola and Flint rivers, or it could be the river you fish. This is not a political diatribe, this is real and it will eventually affect everyone of us if we don’t become more proactive to protect our fisheries. You can’t have great fishing without clean water or as a very close friend and guide who’s been on ESPN once said, “Water Quality Rules”.

  2. What? The Army Corp of Engineers screwed something up? Say it isn’t so. Actually I would be interested in any project that haven’t screwed up. Foresight is not one of their strengths.

  3. This is heartbreaking! I grew up in Atlanta and begin fly fishing with trips to the Hooch. I even caught my first fish on a fly on that river (Rainbow on a #10 bead headed prince). That was in 1995 and people were always surprised that you could catch trout there. Its sad how the city treats that resource. Of course, its not the Madison or the Au Sable or the Dean but it has offered trout fishing in a truly urban environment and that is rare – and should be protected. Thanks for this story, Louis.

  4. I did follow the LaGrange link, but I didnt see much in the way of “how can I help”. Aside from donating to CRK, any other options to help?

  5. I live about a half mile from the Hudson River and I almost never fish it because of PCB pollution from decades of contamination by General Electric Corp. The Hudson is considered a Super Fund contamination site that is the victim of political football tactics between G.E. and the politicians. After many years of legal tactics and evasions by GE they finally spent about $30 million using clamshell backhoes on barges to root around in the most contaminated areas and move the contamination to other barges so they can contaminate another area.

    We fought to get GE to use suctioning technology to clean the contamination but ultimately they used the backhoes. Anyone who has seen a backhoe digging in water knows how ridiculous this method is. On paper we won, but in reality most of the contaminants were mixed in the water and carried down stream by the tide and runoff .

    The really scary part of the whole situation is that the cities of Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck and Port Ewen get their drinking water from the Hudson.

    Good luck Louis in your efforts to save your river, I hope you have better results than we did.

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