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Groups want anglers to stop using lead sinkers

If you go fishing, leave the lead at home.

That request comes from wildlife enthusiasts who partially blame lead-sinkers for the poisoning deaths of trumpeter swans, geese, and other birds.

They say it's something to keep in mind as the fishing season opens Saturday on Wisconsin's inland waters.

The lead problem was highlighted in March, when a man in West Bend found a sick bald eagle in his yard and rehabilitation workers said it might have been caused by lead poisoning.

Marge Gibson of the Raptor Education Group in Antigo says it only takes one lead-sinker to kill an endangered swan or eagle.

It's why the use of lead-shot by waterfoul hunters was banned nationwide 16 years ago. Vermont banned lead sinkers this spring and four other Northeast states passed laws against other lead fishing gear.

No such law has been proposed in Wisconsin and some anglers complain that it costs more to buy sinkers without lead.

However Owen Boyle of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it's only a tiny part of the total cost of going fishing.