Crystal Schick/Yukon News Max Zimmermann, one of the three F.H. Collins Secondary School students that created a fishing line receptacle in hopes of reducing fishing line litter, finds a bundle of fishing line falling out of a garbage bin at Hidden Lakes in Whitehorse on June 22.

Reeling in used fishing line

Project will see four collection receptacles put in place around Whitehorse lakes

Tangled balls of fishing line are a common find around waterways in the Yukon and a group of F.H. Collins Secondary School students may have a solution to reduce that drastically.

Sara Charlton, Aleix Toews, and Max Zimmermann are continuing with a project they started during the school year that will see their fishing line receptacles placed at four lakes in the Whitehorse area, at least to start.

“We may expand (on that) later,” Zimmermann said, describing the initial four as a bit of a pilot project.

The receptacles are made out of PVC pipe with a covering on the end that prevents wildlife from getting in while still allowing a small opening where discarded fishing line can be dropped in. Signs will be placed on each, letting fishers know how they work and the impact they may have.

As the three students explained during an interview in the Hidden Lakes area of Whitehorse June 22, the project came about after a presentation by the 3% Project at their school. The 3% Project is an organization challenging youth to take local action on climate change.

All members of F.H.’s social justice committee, Charlton, Toews and Zimmermann worked to come up with a project that would make a difference in the territory. Zimmermann recalled his dad Dennis’ work with fish and the issue of errant fishing line in and around water bodies in the territory.

The trio pointed out not only does the errant fishing line contribute to more plastic being left in the water, but wildlife can become tangled in the fishing line wherever it is left. Even if it is discarded into the trash, if it is not cut into small pieces, birds can end up getting tangled in it at the landfill.

With that, the group started looking at better ways of collecting discarded fishing line, eventually coming up with the idea of using the pipe pieces.

A small test run of a unit on a small creek near Little Atlin Lake revealed the receptacle could have the potential to divert discarded fishing line from the water or nearby shore with tangled discarded lines thrown into the unit with some visitors opting to discard their used fishing line in the receptacle.

The group also ran a survey during the school year, which showed support for the initiative.

“I think a lot (of people) would use them,” Toews said.

Their initial efforts secured interest in making more with funding support and in-kind help from Respect for Fish (Dennis Zimmermann’s consulting firm), the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund, EDI (which has provided professional graphic designs for the stickers to be placed on the units and posters) as well as the Kwanlin Dün First Nation which has provided permission for units to be placed nearby some of its lakes and Hougen’s Sportslodge, which is set to have a receptacle on display.

The project was also selected among the top 50 from across the country submitted to the 3% project. That position would have meant a trip to a Skill Up Summit May 11 to 14 in Toronto had COVID-19 not cancelled those plans. Each of the 50 projects selected would have been presented there.

“It would have been a good learning experience,” Charlton said citing mentorship opportunities. Zimmermann adding he would have liked to learn more about what others were doing to take action on climate change.

He also said the group was pretty proud to have their work selected for the final summit.

Despite the summit not happening at this time due to COVID-19 and the school year being officially wrapped up, the trio is pleased to continue their work on it through the summer.

As Charlton said, knowing just how big the problem is and having a means to make a difference makes her want to continue the effort.

“All three of us definitely like being outside,” Toews said, adding that wildlife is important to him so he wants to do something to help.

Four receptacles will be placed at some of the more popular fishing lakes around the city in the coming weeks with another set to be on display at Hougen’s Sportslodge.

The three students said if it proves successful, receptacles may be placed at more Yukon waterways in the future.

As they get set to install the receptacles, they are also looking at ways to make use of the discarded fishing line they collect. Zimmermann cited art work — jewelry perhaps — as one way to put the discarded fishing line to use.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

fishingPlastic waste

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Crystal Schick/Yukon News Signage that the students plan to attach to their fishing line receptacles in Whitehorse.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media after delivering the budget in the legislature in Whitehorse on March 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Territorial budget predicts deficit of $12.7 million, reduced pandemic spending in 2021-2022

If recovery goes well, the territory could end up with a very small surplus.

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Most Read