Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Don't litter that spent fishing line

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Doug Helmers of Janesville snapped the photo accompanying this blog. He noticed this fishing line repository while enjoying lunch near a fishing pier in Sarasota, Fla., this spring.

Safely disposing of old line is a timely reminder, he noted, given that Wisconsin's game fishing season starts Saturday.

“I was taught long ago not to leave tangles of fishing line where wildlife might become entangled,” Helmers wrote me in an email. “Many fishing piers in public areas in Florida have these convenient containers, which make it easier for a sportsman to do the right thing.

“My Walter Mitty imagination would love to see this sort of repository installed along fishing venues and boat launches/ramps all over Wisconsin. Easy to build; low cost; convenient; effective; easy to maintain.”

Helmers suggested they might be placed at Lions Pond and Kiwanis Pond in Janesville and at boat launches throughout the county. Helmers wrote that a wildlife rehabilitation center in Punta Gorda, Fla., where he vacationed, has rescued birds in its “collection” that arrived there due to being tangled in fishing line.

He has a good point. The Saturday of Easter weekend, I took my grandkids for a short fishing outing at Kiwanis Pond in Janesville, only to find a sizable snarl of fishing line next to a bench. Lots of waterfowl were plying the water or roaming the shoreline and could have easily become entangled. I scooped up the spent line and tossed it in my trash when I got home.

I'm not sure why so many people do a disservice to the sport and give all anglers a bad reputation by leaving behind these snarls, empty bait boxes and food containers and other litter.

Gazette outdoors columnist Ted Peck—a far better fisherman than I am but no relation to me, by the way—emailed to tell me Berkley has been making these PVC line recycling receptacles available to sports clubs and others free of charge for years. He said he used one just last week up on the Menominee River.

Ted added: “These recycling tools are a wonderful reminder for folks who might be inclined to leave a tangle of line on the shore to do the right thing. When (I'm) fishing, hooking up with somebody else's tangle of line happens on just about every trip. Removing this line from the water and disposing of it properly is simply the right thing to do. We are all stewards of the natural resource.”

This fishing season, let's all get on board.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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