BOARD VOTES: Riverwalk Fishing Off Limits

A plan to shut down some of the Des Moines’ most popular fishing spots is moving forward.

From litter to fish carcasses and empty beer cans, people have been complaining about the mess that anglers leave on the banks of the Des Moines River, downtown.

The Des Moines Parks and Recreation board voted Tuesday to make fishing off-limits in certain areas including the Principal Riverwalk Trail, the Center Street pedestrian bridge and the MLK Street bridge. The proposal will now go to the Des Moines City Council on June 9th, where they can vote on the proposal as is or make changes.

Those who love to fish hoped the board would consider other options.

“I think it’s preposterous,” Curtis Faizon said.

Jen fletcher, a marketing supervisor for the parks and rec department said the restrictions are needed to keep these well-traveled public areas free of filth.

“Fish remnants, general trash. What we’re trying to do is ask people to clean up after themselves. It’s a brand new facility, a $30 million facility that’s new to Des Moines and we want to keep it as nice as possible,” Jen Fletcher said.

The board also considered installing signage encouraging clean-up and forming volunteer committees to assist with keeping fishing spots clean.

The Iowa DNR was on board with the signage and volunteer clean-up teams but prior to the vote said those ideas need a chance to work before limiting places to fish.

“Let’s try this first and see if there are any conflicts. I’d rather not restrict at the beginning anticipating conflict. Let’s work together in being better and cleaning up after ourselves,” Fisheries Bureau Chief Joe Larscheid said.

If a volunteer clean up team is formed, Faizon says sign him up.

“People figure trash will blow in the water. That’s not the right thing to do,” Faizon said.

Many anglers say if there were more trash cans, they would clean up more of their mess.

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