Photo: Darren Handchuh
Anyone who has visited a fishing lake in British Columbia has likely encountered a tangled mass of fishing lines at some point.
All that plastic is dangerous to wildlife and can take hundreds of years to break down.
And responsible anglers who don’t throw their line in the water have no choice but to throw the unwanted line in the trash.
So far, that is.
Kalamalka Fly Fishing Club member Ron Reitsma spearheads a program to recycle used fishing line.
“In the United States, fishing line recycling is very important,” said Reitsma, who spent 33 years in the Canadian military and spent time deployed in America.
“When I came back to Canada, I was a bit surprised that we didn’t have anything here.”
In 2016, clearyougear.ca began operations in Winnipeg.
“They have since traveled to all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territories,” Reitsma said. “I thought for the Kalamalka Fly Fishers it would be a great project for us. One of our founding pillars is conservation.
Fishing line recycling depots will be set up at various area lakes where anglers can leave their unwanted fishing line.
“They will be placed in the main fishing lakes,” he said.
It is then collected by club members and sent for recycling.
“It takes hundreds of years to degrade. Bears get tangled in it, turtles, birds, fish all get tangled in it,” he said. Line can also get caught in boat propellers and he even knows of cases where dogs get tangled while swimming in a lake.
“Even if we throw it in the trash and it goes to landfill, it’s still in the environment,” Reitsma said.
Collected plastic fishing line is sent to a facility in the United States where it is melted down and turned into pellets, which are then used to make tackle boxes, fish habitats, toys and a variety of other items .
Reitsma is in the process of obtaining permission to install the collection tubes in lakes in the region.
For more information, visit the Kalamalka Fly Fishers website or Facebook page.