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A great blue heron, freed from being tangled in fishing line, rests in Mikel Ollech’s boat. Photo courtesy of Mikel Ollech.

Miles of fishing line collected in recycling effort

August 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The State Journal-Register

Mikel Ollech has collected almost two miles of old fishing line since he established line-recycling receptacles two months ago.

“I am happy to say that it has been successful in that a lot of line has been collected,” he said. “But I was reminded (recently) though that a constant effort must be made to succeed at a tangle free environment.”

Fishing along the shoreline of Lake Springfield, Ollech hooked what he thought was a log beneath a willow tree.

“As I got closer to retrieve my lure, I was stunned to discover that it was a blue heron that I was pulling on which was still alive trying to stay afloat in the water,” he said. “Within five or so feet of the heron, I could see that my lure was attached to someone else’s fishing line that was wrapped around the herons wings.

“I quickly attempted to set the heron free by cutting the line that was attached to the willow tree only to realize that the line was wrapped around the entire body of the heron especially the legs.”
Ollech lifted the bird into his boat, and flagged down a passing CWLP security boat.

Another fisherman and his son arrived to help Ollech and the security officer in untangling the bird.

“About five yards of line had to be removed from the bird,” he said. “We then put the bird in a secure location only to come to the realization that the bird was most likely not going to make it.”
Ollech said the experience tells him more work is needed.

“Herons have always been special to me,” he said. “They enjoy fishing just as much as I do.

“Interacting with a heron tonight made me realize I have to actively continue my endeavor on collecting and recycling fishing line,” Ollech said. “Seeing that bird tonight only pushes me to do more.”

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him at

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