Fishing Tackle and Monofilament Article
Many conscience folks cut the rings from their six-packs so the plastic will not get caught around necks of sea turtles if the trash makes it out to sea. However, fewer folks are conscious about inland lakes and the threats of plastic to the local wildlife. Fishing line and tackle can pose a serious hazard to wildlife in Big Bear Valley. The fishing line and tackle comes from careless anglers who do not dispose of used line properly or who do not take the time to properly remove hooks from fish they have caught. Line accidently makes its way into Big Bear Lake and the shoreline as well; often fishing line can become entangled in lake weeds and rocks and break free from the reel. Line can also go astray when cut by a passing vessel’s propeller.
Birds of prey unknowingly bring monofilament line to their nests from fish who have a hook and line still attached, from sticks entangled in lines when nest building, or from mistaking the line for suitable bedding when nest building. Conservative estimates indicate that 5-10% of raptor nests have fishing line present (US Fish and Wildlife). It can take monofilament line 500 to 600 years to biodegrade and it can stay very strong for hundreds of years. Arizona Department of Game and Fish had 96 occurrences of monofilament and tackle found in bald eagle nests between 1986 and 2010 — and this only relates to bald eagles that were being studied. These statistics rise when accounting for all other species and non- study bald eagles.
Birds are not the only ones who suffer. Line and hooks can also tangle or embed in local deer, raccoons, coyotes, squirrels, etc. Any creature who ventures near or in the lake can become a victim of stray monofilament line or a discarded hook – – even people! This results in loss of limbs, cuts and infections, drowning, and starvation.
Please help reduce the risk to our local birds and other wildlife by keeping Big Bear Lake clear of stray monofilament line and hooks. All unwanted and used fishing tackle items should be disposed of in a proper trash container. At the Big Bear Municipal Water District Ramps there are monofilament recycling receptacles located at the convenience docks at each launch ramps. The recycled monofilament line is used to make fish habitat, tackle boxes, toys, and spools for line.