Loon caught in fishing line, word of caution to anglers

As the summer angling season continues, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding anglers to be mindful of their fishing line.

In mid-June, DNR Nongame Wildlife staff received a call about a loon tangled in fishing line on a lake north of Grand Rapids, according to a post on Facebook. The DNR said in this case, they believed they would have the most success if they returned to the loon’s nest at night and use a bright spotlight to immobilize the bird. The agency says catching wildlife is not an easy task, and sometimes the risk of injury to the animal outweighs the value of a rescue attempt.

DNR staff located the nest, and were able to remove the line that was wrapped numerous times around the male loon’s beak and throughout its wings.

“This story ended well because experienced staff were available in the right location with the right knowledge and tools,” said the DNR in a Facebook post. “While our core work does not include rescue or rehabilitation of individual animals, staff do try to help or advise whenever possible and we greatly appreciate the work of volunteers who transport animals to rehab facilities when needed and the licensed rehabbers who care for wildlife.”

The agency says fishing line can pose a significant threat to wildlife, and acknowledge that even the most careful anglers will occasionally lose line due to a lure snag or a battle with a fish that broke the line. Whenever possible, they ask anglers to make an attempt to retrieve broken fishing line and never discard line in the water.

More information on the DNR’s Loon Monitoring Program can be found here.