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Ramsey County Parks and Recreation officials will not close Sucker Lake Channel in Vadnais Heights to fishing — at least for now.

Instead, county officials propose focusing on educating anglers about the harms of lead tackle in efforts to reduce the number of swans who die of lead poisoning.

The channel, located on the north side of Sucker Lake in Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park, is a waterfowl hangout. Residents have reported seeing hundreds of swans at one time in the channel. It's also a popular place for fishing, and therein lies the problem: Swans eat lead fishing tackle, like jigs and sinkers, become poisoned and die. As of March, at least 26 swans had been found dead along the channel since 2019. All the dead swans tested for lead had positive results.

Earlier this year, Parks and Recreation held a forum and surveyed community members to solicit suggestions to mitigate swan deaths. Previous efforts, including signage, a drop box to collect lead tackle and pop-up events to hand out lead-free tackle have shown some success, but swan deaths persist.

Based on feedback, Parks and Recreation announced last week it would not close the channel to fishing, but left the option on the table if swan deaths continue.

Instead, the department is recommending restoring shoreline on the east side of the channel and containing fishing to three spots on the west side, exploring a ban on lead tackle in the area, installing clear signage in multiple languages, having staff educate anglers about lead tackle at peak times, looking for partners to distribute non-lead tackle, dredging, and considering other fishing areas.