Angler Advocacy

How we work to protect the fishing community and advocate for their ability to safely catch fish from the Coosa 

Cookin’ Your Catch

Cast in the Coosa

Fish Advisories

We work to protect anglers and their families. There are many barriers that exist- whether it be technological, language, or literacy, that keep people from accessing important public health information like fish consumption advisories. We are working to address this issue at the watershed and state levels. 

Angler Surveys

Our team has been conducting angler surveys since 2013 to better understand angler’s fishing habits, understanding of the fish consumption advisories, and demographic information. We publish these reports regularly and use the data to inform our education and outreach efforts.

Free Fishing Clinics

We want to educate the next generation of anglers on how to fish safely, be a good steward of the river, and develop an appreciation for the Coosa River. In our clinics kids are taught the basics of casting, equipment, cooking, and water safety.

Monofilament Recycling

Check out our volunteer map to see where there are monofilament recycling receptables at boat ramps near you. Let us know if you’d like to help us monitor them as a volunteer!

Legislative & Advocacy

Our team is actively working to pass the Safe & Healthy Outdoor Recreation Act, a bill that will codify the fish consumption advisory into law and require signs at boat ramps. Learn more about this bill at

Public Notification

Our team has installed over 50 signs at popular boat ramps across the Coosa basin and hosts the only statewide fish consumption advisory hotline. We know there are many barriers that keep people from understanding or knowing about fish consumption advisories.

Reel in The Coosa River Game Fish Guide, your source to all things about fish in the Coosa…

Temperate Bass

Temperate bass are sometimes referred to as “true” or “sea” basses. They are also a popular game fish on the Coosa River. All species of temperate bass are school fish, which means they travel and feed in groups. Temperate bass are deep bodied when viewed from the side and quite compressed when viewed from the front. There are a total of six species of temperate bass, of which three exist in the Coosa River.


Freshwater catfish are widely known for their delicious meat. Demand for catfish has grown so much that they are now farmed and available in supermarkets. While they range across every continent except Antarctica, catfish in Alabama are known to be monster mega-fish. Catfish are bottom feeders that naturally sink down into water due to their heavy head. They are known for their great sense of smell and taste, but that does not stop them from eating everything they can! Most species will feed on living and dead things found along the river bottom.


Bream is a catch-all term for a wide variety of sunfish. In Alabama, there are more than 20 species of bream. According to Alabama’s Chief of Fisheries, Nick Nichols, “From our standpoint, anything that is not in the bass family, a crappie, or in the catfish family is considered a sunfish.” These fish exist in a rainbow of colors, shapes, and patterns, so telling them apart can be a bit of a challenge. In general, bream have white and flaky meat, and some consider the skin and tail to be a delicacy — just be sure to check for PCB advisories in the region it was caught!


Crappie are popular game fishing throughout the United States with Alabama being home to some of the top crappie fishing spots. In fact, Weiss Lake is known as the “Crappie Capital of the USA.” The best crappie fishing is in early spring when crappie school in deep waters to feed, and a bit later in March when schools break up to move into the shallows for breeding. They go by a variety of pseudonyms such as specks, papermouths, white perch, calicos, sac-a-lait, and lamplight. Crappie tend to be small, with the record for both black and white crappie being under six pounds, but they are quite delicious.

Non-Game Fish

Check out our quick collection of other fish commonly spotted in the Coosa River that are not considered game fish. This list is by no means exhaustive but is meant to give a bit more info about what else is out there is our waters!

Black Bass

The Coosa River is known for having some of the fiercest black bass fishing around the world! Around these parts, we love bass fishing so much there are usually tournaments everyday of the week in the summer. Black bass are definitely the most sought after game fish as they tend to be aggressive fighters and attack bait explosively. Surprisingly, black bass are actually not a member of the true bass family and are more closely related to sunfish. Their meat is tasty and firm, but many have existing fish consumption advisories that should be taken into consideration.

Fishing is not just a sport or hobby – it’s a way of life for folks in the Coosa River basin, but it can be a costly and intimidating to start fishing when you are a kid. We think there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to feed yourself (and your family). One of our main goals is to ensure families understands how to protect the river, and current and future generations, who rely on it for recreation, supper, and fun!

Learn about the origin of our work to protect the rights of anglers in this short award-winning documentary from Southern Exposure Film Fellowship that explains “A Fishers Right to Know” through the lens of families who rely on the Coosa for food.