Rising to A New Challenge

We’re getting pretty good at clearing the shoreline of line and litter that might hook or entrap birds and wildlife. But an awful lot of the fishing line that is lost in the lake is lost beneath the water level. And it takes its toll, too. Grebes and cormorants are two types of bird that live full time at Lake Hodges. Both types of birds dive under water to catch the fish that they eat. Both types are vulnerable to underwater fishing line. We have found a number of grebes in this situation. One survived it, the rest died. Here are photos of the latest, found by volunteers Mark and Karen. (Below)

So our big challenge now is how to find and remove line that is underwater. It’s hard enough to find up in the brush, but this takes the challenge to a whole new level.

We have been reaching down into the water to feel for it at the base of stumps and dead brush for a few months. Our hands are vulnerable, but are far more sensitive than dragging a rake or hook through the shallows. Now we are experimenting with using Velcro to entangle underwater line. So far the results are “inconclusive.” Meaning that we have only found one or two bits of line with it and we were already pretty sure where they were. If it does work out, we are hoping to figure out a way to “troll” it up and down the lake. We will continue to work on it, but we really could use help and ideas.

Two grebes who drowned after becoming entangled in fishing line.

If anyone reading this has any good ideas about how to find and retrieve underwater fishing line (no swimming or diving is allowed in this lake) then please leave a comment or contact us directly. I’d especially like to hear if any other organization has figured out how to do this.

Here is the sad photo: two grebes entangled in one piece of line. Found on 11-14-2019.

For those who are grossed out by this, just think how we feel; having to disentangle these dead birds from the line when we put so many hundreds of hours into trying to save them from this kind of fate. If this distresses you, do what we do: try to prevent more of it from happening.