Fishermen severely mistreat Souris River

The waters at the bottom of the dam just east of Souris have long been a fishing hotspot where amateur fishermen from all over the area angle for Pickerel and Jack. But garbage and debris left behind at the popular fishing spot has some Souris residents upset.

Mandy Landers is a town council member and has lived in Souris for years. "It's disgusting," she says about the litter. "It's really disheartening to see." Landers has spoken to the RCMP, the RM of Glenwood and at council meetings about the trash problem - but to no avail. It seems that no one wants to take responsibility for keeping the fishing spot down by the dam clean. "I put it out there; 'everybody clean up your garbage,' but it is just so hard to catch people.

Conservation is responsible for monitoring this, but they have only five people for our entire area. While they have handed out a fair share of tickets, they can't do it alone. The town collects garbage from the bins at the dam regularly but people need to actually put their garbage in the bins for the system to work. Either that, or take it home with them."

Neil Longbottom is an angler from Brandon who enjoys fishing at the Souris dam on his days off. "I like fishing because it gets me away from the city. It's relaxing, it clears my mind and it makes good supper," he laughs. "I like coming here on my days off because it's close to Brandon."

Longbottom also fishes other rivers and lakes in the area and is disappointed when he sees all of the litter and trash people leave behind. "There's lots of garbage here," he says. "Plastic bags, excess fishing line, worm and minnow containers, coffee cups, gloves, towels, rags, a little bit of everything. 'It's the same thing but worse in Brandon," he goes on. "I went to [fish] the Assiniboine twice and the litter was so bad that I just said, 'nah, I'm not coming back.' There's even been a couple posts about it on eBrandon."

"I think some people are too lazy to use the garbage bins provided," he continues. "Everything I bring, I take back with me when I leave," he says. It's annoying to see all that trash lying around. I mean, you like to get outdoors where it's nice, clean, outdoorsy and then you get down to the shore and it's like you're stepping on all sorts of stuff."

Unfortunately fishermen like Neil seem to be in the minority as the trash at the dam indicates. The volume of litter riverside is mind boggling and, sadly, makes Souris appear more like a dump than the beautiful natural space it deserves to be.

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