On his fifty-fourth birthday, in 2018, Alvin Dedeaux and his wife took a celebratory float trip on the Lower Colorado River south of Austin, Texas, intending to pick up a bit of trash along the way. A former lead singer for the Texas funk band Bad Mutha Goose & the Brothers Grimm, Dedeaux had spent the previous quarter century in decidedly calmer auditory conditions: He’s a fishing guide who plumbs Hill Country streams and rivers for Guadalupe bass and Texas coast marshes for redfish. Within fifteen minutes, he and his wife filled a sixteen-foot Hog Island skiff with plastic bottles, cans, miscellaneous garbage, and, unbelievably, a blue kiddie pool complete with a slide. “When we looked up and saw that,” he says, “we knew we had a problem.” The next year, Dedeaux kicked off the LoCo Trash Bash, a now-annual river-cleanup-meets-river-party that has since pulled nearly fifty tons of tires, sofas, and other indignities from the Lower Colorado.
For Dedeaux, the trash cleanup serves as a soft-sell approach to broader issues such as climate change and its effect on fisheries, and that easy-does-it approach is the point. “We’re exposing more people to the river and to what’s happening down there—both the good and the bad,” Dedeaux says. “They come out to pick up trash and realize that there is this amazing, underutilized resource right in their backyard, but it needs people to care for it.” After the cleanup, he puts on a riverside bash with beer, prizes, and music. “It’s Austin,” Dedeaux says with a grin. “So, any excuse for a party.”
Dedeaux serves as an advisory board member of Tomorrow’s Fish, a climate-action campaign of the American Fly Fish- ing Trade Association that highlights the challenges faced by recreational fishing as well as solutions. An outfitter who might have a dozen guides booked on the water on a good day, Dedeaux is on the front lines of the nexus between a warming climate and the economics of everyday life. “Summer is typically a bit slower here,” he says, “but this summer was brutal. Even the inner tubers were staying home. A warming climate is now a financial issue for guides and outfitters.”
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On-the-ground effort: Loco Trash Bash
Location: Austin, Texas
Fishing guide since: Mid-1990s
Favorite fly: The Dedeaux Popper, a next-gen version of his Flip Flop Popper. “I was loading the raft after fishing the Llano River one day, and this sparkly chartreuse flip-flop came floating down the river,” he says. “I fished it out, took it home, and carved it up for popper bodies. And I caught the hell out of the fish with them.”