DES MOINES – Littering is not only an eyesore, it shows a lack of respect someone demonstrates by leaving their trash behind for others to clean up. And there may be no group of litterbugs worse than those among the fishing community.
“Anglers are the worst of the worst of the outdoor groups for cleaning up after ourselves,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“It is very frustrating from my perspective because it seems our constituency is infected with more than our fare share of litterbugs and that’s unfortunate. We are using a lot of energy and resources to get people fishing and when they come out to a lake they see all this trash on shore. That’s pretty disappointing.”
A number of civic and conservation groups spend countless hours volunteering their time to clean the shorelines of the empty bait containers, old fishing line, pop and beer cans, chips and candy wrappers and so on.
“Just about anything you can carry with you fishing, we’ve probably cleaned it up,” Larscheid said.
The solution, he said, is not that difficult. Anglers should tuck a few plastic grocery sacks in their tackle bag and use it for trash.
“When you’re done fishing, carry the sack out with you. Pretty simple,” Larscheid said. “It’s our resource and we need to do a better job of keeping it clean, and that includes not throwing rough fish on shore. That leaves a terrible, smelly mess.
“If you don’t want to eat the fish, give them to someone who does, or bury them in the garden, or put them in the trash. Don’t leave them to rot on the bank,” he said.