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Around Our Town...Game and Fish

Fishing Line Danger

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05/01/2006 - The same qualities that make nylon monofilament fishing line popular with anglers – its strength and transparency – can make it deadly to wildlife that encounter lost or discarded strands.

On a recent patrol of the North Platte River, Game Warden Dave Avey discovered a mallard hen that died after becoming entangled in used fishing line. "This happens more often than it should," Avey said. "For every animal you see tangled up in fishing line, there are probably a bunch you don't see."

Monofilament line, the type used by most anglers, is a strong, flexible plastic line that is manufactured as a single strand. Most monofilament is non-biodegradable and can last many years. Ultra-violet rays can cause exposed fishing line to become brittle over time, however the sun's rays cannot penetrate very far into the water so line that is underwater or in the shade will not be broken down.

Because it is thin and often clear, it is also very difficult for birds and animals to see, making it easy for them to become entangled.

Animals entangled in monofilament fishing line suffer from a variety of problems; the restricted ability to move can lead to drowning or starvation, vulnerability to predators, infections and even limb amputation as the animal struggles against the line.

"It's an ugly death for these animals, a terrible way to go," Avey said.

Discarded fishing line is common around any popular fishing spot, "and anglers need to beware of the unintended impacts they cause when wild animals become entangled in it," said Robin Kepple, Casper Region information specialist for the Game and Fish Department.

Unfortunately, monofilament line is not the only hazard to wild animals. Hooks, lures and weights are often left behind at fishing sites and consumed by fish and wildlife, causing serious injury or illness.

To prevent injuring wild animals don't leave used fishing line behind; store it until it can be disposed of properly. Cut the line into strands no more than six inches long and deposit it in your home trash. Used monofilament line can also be recycled. Call the Berkley Pure Fishing Co. toll-free at (800) 237-5539 for details.

Other tips:

Don't leave fishing rods unattended.

Cast with care. Avoid trees, utility

lines, bridges, etc.

Make every effort to retrieve

snagged lines.

Collect discarded line when

encountered – even if it's not your


Develop your skills so gear is not


If you fish from a boat make it rule

not to throw any trash overboard,

especially monofilament line.

Report any entangled wildlife to

the Game and Fish Department,


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