Soft Plastics Giving Trout Indigestion

June 3, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

A news release from Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) is asking anglers to stop using soft plastic lures, because trout and salmon are swallowing the lures and failing to regurgitate them, leading to weight loss and other health problems. “‘We strongly encourage anglers to voluntarily purchase biodegradable and food-based lures rather than soft plastic ones,’ [IF&W Pathologist Dr. Russ] Danner said. ‘Also, we are asking anglers not to discard plastic lures into any waters, and also to attempt to retrieve any soft plastic lures that have become unhooked.”
What is a viable alternative?, you may wonder. Companies like FoodSource Lures are already making lures made of protein (Field & Stream has called their FoodSource Minnow among its “50 Best Lures of All Time”).
Meanwhile, L.L. Bean, who this year already began testing new angling boundaries with their Helix Waders, says that their retail stores will begin offering only biodegradable alternatives to plastic lures beginning in August, with the Web and catalog soon to follow. According to Bean’s Mac McKeever, “We began making plans to do this back in Fall 2008, but the study really reiterated the importance of doing it as quickly as possible.”