Bill Lott developed a keen interest in fishing at an early age growing up in New Jersey. He began saltwater fishing near his family’s vacation home on an island, and from time to time would try his hand in the creeks and ponds near his home. There were stocked trout in a creek near his home, and he would bowfish for carp in local ponds.
Bill loved to fly fish on family vacations in upstate New York. He especially enjoyed trying to catch the big Northern pickerel. His “one that got away” occurred during one of these outings as he stripped in a fly towards his boat. He had nearly stripped a fly to the gunwale when, just as he picked up his fly on the backcast, a large pike jumped out of the water to attack! Unfortunately that’s the closest Bill has yet come to hooking one of those toothy fish.
In high school, fly fishing began to take a back seat to sports and Bill earned a football scholarship to the College of William & Mary. There he played with Dan Henning, future coach of the Atlanta Falcons, and was coached by Marv Levy and Lou Holtz. While in school, Bill began his career with Coca Cola and came to Atlanta with his family in 1992. It was then that he became involved with Trout Unlimited.
When asked what appealed to him about UCCTU, Bill answered, “I really liked the emphasis on conservation as well as fishing.” Three years ago he joined the Adopt-A-Stream program as a volunteer stream tester, sampling water quality on Ball Mill Creek. The last time he went there to test, he saw four good-sized trout in the tributary that he has been monitoring over the past three years, and sees it as a testament to the efforts of those involved in the program.
Bill explains that we need to monitor all the tributary streams of the Chattahoochee so that we have data collected over time. If a problem arises in one of these tributaries or downstream, we are better able to help find solutions if we understand what is normal for these stretches. An Adopt-A-Stream volunteer visits his particular stream site, checks water pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen content. His team takes samples for bacteria to place into a special oven set for 35 degrees Celsius. 24 hours later you can read the bacteria numbers, scan the plates and share the data with other testers and load into the database.
One of Bill’s goals with Adopt-A-Stream is trying to build the program up to 7 testing sites from 2 sites that are currently being monitored. He just received supplies for 4 additional kits, and would like to have other UCCTU members become certified and create teams of 3. That way, volunteers can spread out site visits for testing and work with their friends to make sure that they can have coverage when needed. Bill works with teammates Jim Williams and Ed Sullivan to make sure that Ball Mill Creek is tested at regular intervals.
When Bill isn’t testing water quality, his favorite activity is teaching his 2 grandsons and granddaughter to fish. He also enjoys tying San Juan Worms, Y2Ks and other flies on his Renzetti vice. Next time you see him at a meeting or streamside with his testing kit, please give Bill a hearty “hello”!