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Discarded fishing line dangerous to wildlife

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Fishing line can help you reel in the big one, but when monofilament is left carelessly along a lake or river it can be harmful to wildlife.

In early August, Colorado Parks and Wildlife received a call about a dead osprey on the banks of Trout Creek in the Routt National Forest in northwest Colorado. The person who made the report said it looked like the bird had been shot. When CPW Wildlife Officer Andrea Sponseller investigated she found that the bird had become entangled in fishing line.

"The line was wrapped around the osprey's feet and neck," Sponseller said. "Anglers should never discard fishing line, hooks or bait along a water way. All of these can be harmful to wildlife."

Every year throughout the state CPW receives reports from people who have found birds ensnared by fishing line.

"I've seen quite a few birds tangled and killed by fishing line in the last few years. Anglers should just put unneeded line in their pocket or tackle box and then throw it away properly," Sponseller said.

Some anglers also clean their catch next to the water and then leave the guts on the bank. That can attract bears and other wildlife. Fish should be cleaned well away from a lake or river and the entrails disposed of in a dumpster or garbage can.

"If you see discarded line or other fishing gear, please pick it up. You'll help keep fishing areas clean and remove a hazard that could kill Colorado's wildlife," Sponseller said.

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Fishing, wildlife
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