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Trash, trout and leadership on the South River in Waynesboro

By Beau Beasley

An angler casts his fly near some downed trees, while Eric Harvey and his team work on cleaning the South River. Photo by Beau Beasley.

“Be sure to check behind the church, because sometimes that area’s overlooked,” said Tommy Lawhorn, co-owner of South River Fly Shop in Waynesboro, into his cell phone while his eager customers waited in line to make their purchases. “Call me back,” he continued, “if you can think of anywhere else.”

An eavesdropper would be forgiven for assuming that Lawhorn was talking to an angling buddy about a secret honey hole on the South River, which is home to a healthy trout population and runs right through downtown Waynesboro within view of the South River Fly Shop. After all, few know the South River as well as Lawhorn, who has the guide bookings to prove it. Instead, however, he was coordinating with local fly angler Eric Harvey, and they were after a very different quarry altogether: This fine April morning, the anglers had swapped trout for trash.

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