MDC Says Proper Tending and Disposal of Fishing Lines Protects People and Wildlife

MDC conservation agents commonly pick up discarded monofilament fishing line. Monofilament and fluorocarbon line does not readily degrade. Wildlife can get entangled in old lines and killed. Some lost or improperly maintained trot lines and jug lines can also create hazards.

For example, a kayak paddler was recently exploring a small island at Smithville Lake with her two small dogs. One of the dogs ate a dead fish it found on shore, and it also swallowed a hook and partially swallowed a long section of heavy monofilament line. The veterinarian who performed surgery to remove them said the hook was dangerous in the animal’s stomach. But the ingested fishing line also posed serious dangers to the digestive system. Wildlife faces the same hazard.

This was a rare and unusual case. But it shows what hazards are possible, and agents say it likely occurs with wildlife. The heavy line and 1½-inch hook the dog ingested likely came from a fish that broke the line for a pole and line angler, or it came from a floating or anchored jug line.

Rod and reel anglers commonly need to remove tangles or change line. They should dispose it in a trash sack, not on the ground or in the water. Anglers picking up and disposing old line or hooks they encounter on shore is helpful, too. Otherwise, shore birds and mammals could become entangled.

Volunteers with Missouri Stream Teams have installed PVC pipe bins for recycling monofilament line at some popular fishing spots or boat ramps. Anglers can place discarded line in the bins. The line will be sent to a recycling program.

For more information, visit the Monofilament Recovery Recycling Program section at the Missouri Stream Team website,