Thank You, Clean Water Act, for Our Fishable Waters!

Forty years ago, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River was in flames and Lake Erie was a biological wasteland. Many of the nation’s rivers were little more than open sewers.  On October 18, 1972, a bi-partisan Congress, voting the will of the people, enacted the 1972 Clean Water Act and set us on a course to clean water for all. The vision and goal of the Clean Water Act was to ensure that the nation’s waters would be fishable, swimmable, and drinkable.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the National Wildlife Federation asked you to share your ‘fishable’ photos and your stories about why clean water and fishing matter to you and your family. We had a wonderful response – a testament to the joy of being on the water. Here we celebrate our fishable waters by sharing with you just a few of the highlights.

You can peruse all of the NWF “fish-tales” photos here

Our celebration also spawned a few more in-depth and inspiring fish tales: Montana Sushi Girl, Fishing the Nottoway: A Clean Water Blessing, Hunters and Anglers Favor Restoring Clean Water Act Protections for Wetlands and Streams, and The Clean Water Act: Up Close and Personal.

The River Runs Through It

“Fish On!” shared this classic “River Runs Through It” fish pic capturing the serenity of fishing Alaska’s Russian River…

and his nice Russian River “Sockeye Salmon” catch! He inspires us with his call: “Let’s keep our waters clean and streams and rivers protected with a strong Clean Water Act so my son’s children can also enjoy the bounty our fresh water resources have to offer!”

Bass are Big in the Heartland!

Kristi Pupak, 23, grew up outside of Milwaukee and moved to Jamestown, Kentucky to work at a national fish hatchery. Working to educate others about how natural environments function, fishing has been the one constant in her life that has kept her balanced. “I’m passionate about fish, their habitat, behavior, and how to catch them. I’ve had this obsession all my life.” Fishing in Wisconsin waters for most of her life, and as a recent resident of Kentucky, has taught her a few things about different fishing techniques. A visit to Wisconsin this past summer led to an 18” largemouth bass caught in Washington County.


G-lyn’s neice caught this largemouth bass while fishing by herself at her uncle’s farm in Oklahoma. It was the biggest freshwater fish she had ever caught and she was so excited. She called her dad out to help her take it off the hook and got some great pictures. She would not have been able to have this experience without the clean water necessary for fish to thrive.

Fishing the Waccamaw, River to Bay

Thanks to the Waccamaw Riverkeeper for these Waccamaw fish tales from river to bay. “Fishing from the Bank” by Bill Gobbel shows an angler fishing from the banks of the Waccamaw River near Conway, South Carolina for redbreast to take home to the family. Redbreast is a local favorite.


Downstream, the Waccamaw flows into Winyah Bay near Georgetown, South Carolina, where Jay Preslar captured a mighty big tarpon in his “Tarpon Tales” photo. Tarpon fishing in Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina’s Grand Strand is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Keeping our water clean and healthy supports healthy fish populations, fun recreation and a healthy economy.

Fishable Waters for the Kids!

Fishing is great fun for kids, and we need to “hook ‘em” young so that they learn to love the waters and protect them for generations to come!

“K fishing” shows the West Branch of Perkiomen Creek in southeast PA — the first place this handsome man ever fished! It’s certainly not fit for boating at this point, but there’s no question that it’s an important water worth protecting, just like the even smaller streams that feed it and the nearby wetlands that keep pollution from getting into it.


And, from “Swamp Doc”…you gotta love it: Little Hank immersed in the fishing experience from head to toe!

So, Happy 40th Birthday, Clean Water Act! Here’s to 40 more years of clean water and great fish tales!