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Loons and Lead

Lead poisoning from ingested lead fishing tackle is the leading known cause of adult loon mortality in New Hampshire, accounting for 44% of all documented adult loon deaths between 1989 and 2015.  The loss of these loons, which do not reproduce until their sixth year of life on average, has had a large negative impact on our state’s small loon population.  It has slowed the recovery of the species in New Hampshire and together with other increasing challenges it may even jeopardize the future viability of New Hampshire’s threatened population.

Loons and Lead

It’s the law!  Please Use Non-Lead Fishing Tackle

New Hampshire State Law prohibits the sale and freshwater use of lead fishing sinkers and lead jigs weighing one ounce or less in New Hampshire. A “lead jig” is a weighted hook and is prohibited regardless of whether it is painted, coated, covered by some other substance, or has attached skirts. 

Non-lead tackle protects loons and other wildlife from poisoning and is available in a wide variety of styles and sizes to meet the needs of anglers.  The most common alternative materials are tungsten, bismuth-tin, and steel, although other materials are also available (e.g. ceramics, stone, composite materials).  Bismuth-tin and steel tackle are comparably priced to equivalent lead tackle items, while tungsten tackle costs $1-2 more than equivalent lead tackle.  Tungsten, however, performs better than other tackle and is favored by anglers on professional fishing circuits. Click here to read an article about the Non-lead Tackle Advantage from NH Wildlife Journal, published by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

Click here for a list of non-lead fishing tackle suppliers.