Fishing line discarded along waterways can harm animals, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials urge anglers to dispose of line properly.
Every year dozens of birds and small mammals in Colorado get tangled up in fishing line along rivers, creeks and reservoirs.
“Fishing line left on the bank is dangerous,” said Scott Gilmore, statewide angler education coordinator for Parks and Wildlife. “An animal can’t untangle itself from fishing line so it is often fatal.
Earlier this summer, a kingfisher — a bird that lives along riparian areas — was found hanging dead in a tree along the Uncompahgre River in Montrose, hopelessly tangled in fishing line. During his career, Gilmore has seen lots of birds that have died in the same way. When a bird becomes tangled, it can’t fly, run or protect itself from predators.
“There’s no reason to toss line on the ground,” Gilmore said. “Just stuff it in your pocket and throw it away at home.”
Some birds use fishing line to build nests. The result is that chicks and young waterfowl end up tangled in the mess.
Fishing line also cuts into the tender legs and feet of birds, waterfowl and other wildlife. Those cuts then can become infected and result in an agonizing death for the animals. Pets can also get tangled in fishing line with a potential to cause injury.
Monofilament line is very strong and can remain hazardous for years. Unfortunately, line can be found along reservoirs and stream banks throughout the state.
Anglers who see line should pick it up. Also, tell youngsters and inexperienced anglers about the dangers.
“It’s easy to perform this small service for the environment and wildlife,” Gilmore said. “Carry out your own line and pick up line and other trash you see in the places you fish.”
If you want to recycle your old fishing line, it can be sent to: Berkley Recycling, 1900 18th Street, Spirit Lake, IA, 51360. Fishing and sport shops that would like to offer recycling to customers can contact Berkley at (800) 237-5539. Berkley is a fishing products company.
For more information about fishing in Colorado, see: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing.