The ice will thaw, days will lengthen, and anglers will find good late-winter and early-spring fishing. Walleye will make spawning runs, the spoonbill snagging season will begin.
As fishing picks up, the Missouri Department of Conservation reminds anglers to properly discard used or broken off fishing line. Besides preventing unsightly litter, careful anglers will also be protecting wildlife.
A recent case of a hawk entangled in fishing line is a reminder of why keeping old line out of Missouri’s waters is important. The hawk was spotted by a citizen entangled by fishing line snagged on a limb high in a tree on the bank of the Osage River at MDC’s Taberville Access, north of El Dorado Springs. The injured hawk could not be rescued and had to be euthanized.
“This is a sad reminder that even a small strand of line, when used improperly, can cause a large impact on the health of the fish and wildlife in the area,” said Michael Allen, MDC fisheries management biologist.
Monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines do not degrade readily. They can pose hazards long after they are left in the water.
The line that entangled the hawk at the Taberville Access may have washed high into the tree during a flood, Allen said. Or the line may have originated from an errant cast and hang up, or perhaps a bird lifted it into the tree as nest material. Sometimes retrieving lost line after a snag is difficult. But whenever possible, old line should be retrieved and properly discarded in trash bins. Never change line and leave the old monofilament bankside.
Fishing line disposal bins are available at many of the state’s boat ramps and popular fishing spots. Missouri Stream Teams and conservation partners provide the bins. The line is recycled in a partnership with Berkeley Pure Fishing.
For more information, visit the Monofilament Recovery Recycling Program section at the Missouri Stream Team web site, http://www.mostreamteam.org/activities.html.
Information about Missouri’s abundant fishing opportunities is available at http://mdc.mo.gov.