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Ban Approved for Lead Fishing Tackle on WA Loon Nesting Lakes

Your letters and phone calls made a difference! Thank you for speaking out. As of May 1, 2011, loons will be protected from being poisoned by lead fishing tackle in Washington's loon nesting lakes.

According to the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, "Ingestion of small lead fishing tackle is a leading cause of known mortalities of the common loon, a sensitive species in Washington that is likely to become threatened or endangered without improved survival.

"Managing use of lead fishing tackle at the 13 lakes in Washington where loons breed and rear young is intended to improve loon survival by keeping loons from being poisoned by ingesting small lead fishing gear lost by anglers.

"The new rules prohibit the use of lead weights and jigs that measure 1 ½ inches or less along the longest axis at 12 lakes – Ferry and Swan lakes in Ferry County; Calligan and Hancock lakes in King County; Bonaparte, Blue and Lost lakes in Okanogan County; Big Meadow, South Skookum and Yocum lakes in Pend Oreille County; Pierre Lake in Stevens County; and Hozomeen Lake in Whatcom County. In addition, the Commission banned the use of flies containing lead at Long Lake in Ferry County." A summary of the new lead fishing tackle management can be found at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/loons

The 2010 loon chicks at Lost Lake successfully grew to full size. In 2011, the two chicks were both taken by a bald eagle. (Photo by Nancy Warner)


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NEWS RELEASE
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
December 6, 2010
Contact: Susan Galloway, (360) 902-2267 or Fish Program, (360) 902-2700
 
Commission restricts the use of lead fishing tackle on lakes with loons

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved restrictions on the use of lead fishing tackle at 13 lakes with nesting common loons during its Dec. 2-4 meeting in Olympia.
 
The commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), adopted a proposal that prohibits the use of lead weights and jigs that measure 1 ½ inches or less along the longest axis at 12 lakes.
 
Those 12 lakes include Ferry and Swan lakes in Ferry County; Calligan and Hancock lakes in King County; Bonaparte, Blue and Lost lakes in Okanogan County; Big Meadow, South Skookum and Yocum lakes in Pend Oreille County; Pierre Lake in Stevens County; and Hozomeen Lake in Whatcom County.
 
In addition, the commission banned the use of flies containing lead at Long Lake in Ferry County.
 
The restrictions, which take effect May 1, are designed to protect loons from being poisoned by ingesting small lead fishing gear lost by anglers.
 
The commission held a public hearing on the issue in October, when it reviewed the findings of a WDFW advisory group established to assess scientific studies on risks posed to loons that ingest lead fishing tackle and recommend ways to minimize those risks.
 
Additional information on loons and lead tackle is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/loons.
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Please email julie@okanoganhighlands.org if you have questions. Thank you for helping to protect Washington State loons!


Photo by Ginger and Dan Poleschook
A few years ago, the father in this Lost Lake loon family died from lead toxicosis after swallowing a lead sinker. The less protected chick was predated a couple of days later by a bald eagle. Please use lead-free fishing tackle.

Photo and information courtesy of: Daniel Poleschook, Jr and Virginia R. Gumm, Loon Lake Loon Association