Club spruces up Clinton Lake

Fishermen collect trash at spillway

Rick Laughlin, a member of Free State Fly Fishers, walks carefully among the rocks on the face of the dam at Clinton Lake picking up trash Wednesday. Laughlin and other members of the fly fishing group and Yager’s Flies spent part of the evening cleaning up debris along the eastern side of the lake.

Fish at Clinton Lake lived to swim another day after a few fishermen traded their hooks for sharp sticks and trash bags Wednesday evening.

The Free State Fly Fishers were out at the spillway trying to do their part to beautify their favorite fishing hole.

“One thing that we focus on is leaving things better than you found them, and this is the first part of some public awareness to get people to think about their surroundings,” explained Jeff Frye, club president.

Club members were tired of wading through discarded items while trying to enjoy recreational fishing time, and think that others probably feel the same way.

“I just hope that people become more aware that they’re going to want to come out here and fish again, and the next time they come, they don’t want to come and go through all the trash to get to their favorite fishing spot,” said club member Ronn Johnson.

Frye compared fishing at the lake to “recreating in a garbage dump.” He said this is the first step in a campaign to end the pollution. “We’re working with the state and the Corps of Engineers on some signage making people aware that there’s a $500 fine for littering here in Kansas,” Frye said.

He also explained how easy it can be to make sure you are avoiding that hefty fine and beautifying the lake in the process. “Most of these folks (club members) will carry a grocery bag with their fishing gear and pick up a little trash that was there when they got there and take that along with them when they leave,” Frye said.