Keep it Classy, Never Trashy
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
We've all had the disappointing experience of coming across some form of trash by a stream or lake that definitely didn't belong there. At one point during my last summer in Colorado, within two weeks on three separate occasions I sadly came across multiple clumps of heavy fishing line filled with split shots and rusty hooks. Once I needed to get to the other side of a river and halfway across found my foot tangled up in 10 feet of blue tinted monofilament. Whether you spin or fly fish, we share these rivers with not just each other but the creatures who inhabit the rivers and surrounding areas. It's always good to be conscious of ourselves and our trash when heading out on a fishing expedition. Here's a few easy tips to take into consideration with regards to helping to keep our waterways safe and clean!
1. Anglers Leftovers:
Yes, it's true. Most of us are guilty of getting snagged on a log that we for sure thought was a fish and have lost a fly or two in the process. It's also true that we can't always retrieve our lost rigs but remember to be aware when walking the river banks and lake shores for leftover or lost lines, trace, and weights. Sadly, the riverside won't be the only place you'll find free flies. On some occasions, trout and other fish can have hooks or rigs lodged somewhere on their bodies from previous encounters with anglers. One way of minimizing this is to fish with barbless hooks because in the unfortunate event of busting off, it'll give the fish a better chance of getting rid of the offending hooks and a higher chance of survival. If you do land a fish that's wrapped up in old tippet or hooks, please take the time to wet your hands, gently remove the tangle with forceps and release the creature back into the water as soon as possible.
2. Troutbum Fuel:
Try to limit the amount of trash you take on your trips, ESPECIALLY PLASTIC!
When sorting your drink of choice for the days adventures, try carrying reusable water bottles such as Hydro Flasks or Klean Kanteens instead of plastic ones. Even carrying a Lifestraw could help reduce one-use water bottles. When it comes to packing lunch, minimize garbage by choosing food that doesn't create packaging waste such as bananas or apples, and try storing food in reusable containers instead of plastic packets.
3. Waste Management
Ok so we've covered the basics on what to look for when out fishing and have picked up our trash, now what do we do with it? There are some great fishing products out there on the market that are specifically made to help keep things clean. First, the Smith Creek Spent Line tool is designed to make your old and used lines are properly stowed away and stay put in your pocket while you fish. I've also attached a link below that shows you step-by-step how to use it. Next, the well-known company Fishpond released a product called the Piopod Microtrash Container that's designed to carry small bits of trash that are commonly found on the riverbank such as cigarette butts or pieces of tippet. For the people who always find themselves stumbling upon unwanted items near and around their favorite fishing spots, it's always a good idea to carry around a trash bag or some sort of empty container for the larger tasks.
Again, these are all just a few tips and advice I wanted to share from my own personal experiences. We should always do our part in helping protect our fisheries and even the smallest of acts such as cutting out plastic or picking up someone else's mess can make a world of a difference.