Des Moines to ban fishing in some parts of city’s river

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Des Moines, IA, United States (4E Sports) – The City of Des Moines is planning to ban fishing in about three blocks of shoreline along the Des Moines River.

The proposal, now being considered by the city’s park and recreation board, will ban fishing on the Principal Riverwalk multi-use trail between Walnut Street and an area south of the Center Street Dam.

Fishing immediately below the dam would still be allowed under the proposal, which was approved by an ad hoc committee of city staff and representatives from groups including the Izaak Walton League of America and Central Iowa Anglers.

The newest proposal is a scaled-back version of a plan first discussed by the board in March that would have prohibited fishing from the riverwalk on both sides of the river between University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, except a small portion below the Center Street Dam.

Jen Fletcher, marketing supervisor for the park and recreation department, said the new plan, is a compromise that will keep as much of the river open to fishing as possible.

“There’s basically 93 miles of shoreline along the river in Des Moines. There’s only three blocks where you cannot fish,” she said. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s a great compromise.”

The park department first introduced the plan as a way to increase safety for people using the riverwalk, as well to cut down on problems with litter and trash. The $60 million Principal Riverwalk project was completed in 2013.

At the March meeting, anglers contested the notion that people fishing are responsible for litter found along the riverwalk. John Yaw, who for years has fished for carp below the Center Street Dam, said Friday that blame for trash shouldn’t be pointed at anglers.

“We don’t leave no mess, never leave a pop can, never left anything,” he said. “It’s not the people that are fishing that’s deliberately tearing it up.” Yaw said he was glad to hear the city had moved away from the original proposal.

The proposal being considered Tuesday night also includes a ban on fishing from the Center Street pedestrian bridge and the pedestrian bridge south of Court Avenue, as well as from the vehicle bridge crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

The proposal would also ban fishing in three areas at Gray’s Lake Park: the pedestrian bridge, swimming beach and boat rental docks.

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