Keeping your fishing area clean

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Now that we're finally seeing some warmer temperatures, fishermen all across the Ozarks are taking advantage of it.

William Welch, a fisherman who frequently comes to Lake Springfield, said, "Anything that'll bite right now. I caught a crappie here yesterday and a bass about that big right here, it's what I'm trying again for."

But it's not just fish that are being reeled in.

"The trash around here is terrible," Welch said.

"The fishing line is a big problem that we need to keep pounding home because by the number of birds and things we find tangled up in fishing line, obviously some people are not getting that message."

The Missouri Department of Conservation has noticed that trash is a problem and reminds people that it can be avoided.

"You think it's just a little bit of fishing line or it's just a thin bit of line, well animals get wound up in it. Every year we find instances of it around the state where wildlife got killed or injured by getting tangled up in fishing line. If you fish, you will get hung up. You will have to tie on new line to new lures. A lot of the time that involves cutting off a piece of line, but don't throw that line away."

So, what should you do with this trash?

Francis: "Just keep it, and a lot of places you can recycke that line. But the big thing you're not doing is throwing into the wild where wildlife can get harmed by it."

Fisherman: "All the way down there there's trash cans on each dock lilned up. It's just no trouble at all, just reach over and drop it in there."

That way you can focus on the important things, like the secret to catching some of the really big fish.

"when some of the kids are here, I tell them where the fish are, how far down deep I go, I tell them to go down deep, and they come up just a few inches, just off the bottom of the ground there."

While it may sound like common sense to pick up after yourself, remember that even the smallest amount of trash builds up quickly. This trash can not only hurt the beauty of the lakes but creates a hazard of the animals in and around the water.