MN men pick up bags full of 'lake litter,' urge anglers to do better

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 5:03 PM CST
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Ice fisherman have left their mark on Minnesota lakes this year, but not in a good way.

Two Minnesota men took to Facebook Friday morning after they say they picked up four full bags of trash on Gull Lake this week —Pleading with anglers to pick up after themselves.

Gull Lake is a happy place for friends Travis Tank and Jacob Stephani, and say they fish there at least five times a week.

However, they say lately they've been seeing more and more trash pile up on the ice.

"Beer cans, pop cans, bottles, trash bags. People that had bags of trash, but they just decided to leave them there," Stephani said.

And that made Tank think the two could spend their time on the lake a little differently Wednesday afternoon.

"I just thought we should just go out there and spend the day just picking up garbage," Tank said.

Beyond bottles and cans, Tank and Stephani say they also found human waste and used feminine products on the ice.

"I mean, you couldn't pick it up just because it was so disgusting," Tank said.

They say the most difficult and abundant problem was cigarette butts.

"You can't see it, and these are the tricky ones because I have to find a way to dig all of that stuff out!" Tank exclaimed in a video taken during Wednesday's trash pick up.

The two say despite their four large bags of trash, there's still a lot left buried in ice.

"Two guys can't do it. We can't clean up an entire lake by ourselves. We need help," Stephani said.

The friends are now urging anglers to be more mindful of what is left behind when packing up.

"It's that easy. You carry out what you brought in," Stephani said.

"It's a limited resource and the fact that people aren't taking care of it, it's just mind blowing. So if we all get in the mentality of just picking up your trash it's so easy!" Tank said.

Tank and Stephani say they do plan to get out and pick up trash again soon, and encourage others to do the same before it's too late.

"Our lakes are going to start dying. I mean, we gotta do everything we can to help," Stephani said.

"It's so disappointing! So disappointing! What are people thinking?!" Tank said.

The Minnesota DNR says it's difficult to actually catch those who litter, but say if you are caught you could be facing fines up to $200.