If you are planning to go fishing this spring or summer, now is a great time to clean out your tackle box. When you do, be sure to get the lead out. Not only will you be helping wildlife, you’ll also get ten dollars toward new tackle.
Lead poisoning is a leading cause of death for adult Common Loons in Maine. These deaths are completely preventable by using non-lead fishing tackle. Keeping lead sinkers and lead-headed jigs out of Maine waters will increase loon survival and allow the state’s population to thrive.
For many years, Maine Audubon has helped local groups host tackle exchanges and get non-lead tackle into anglers’ hands by providing lead-free tackle samples. Now, a new Lead Tackle Buyback Program takes a different approach by partnering with trusted local retailers—who know the products and the anglers better than anyone—to provide lead-free alternatives in different regions of the state. The program also gives anglers a wider variety of non-lead products to choose from, including tackle made from tungsten, bismuth, tin, steel, and even clay.
Maine Audubon and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are working with select retailers to provide $10 store vouchers to anglers who turn in at least one ounce of lead tackle at participating stores. Maine state law bans the use and sale of lead sinkers and lead-headed jigs weighing one ounce or less or measuring 2.5 inches or less.
The vouchers can be redeemed towards the purchase of non-lead tackle at Dag’s Bait Shop in Auburn, Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville, and BackWoods Bait and Tackle in Chesterville, and other retailers to be announced. The program will provide a no-cost way for people to try out lead-free alternatives and help protect loons and other wildlife.
Thanks to funding from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, this program will last until March 2021 or until all 318 vouchers have been claimed. Visit fishleadfree.org/me for the most up-to-date list of participating stores as well as a list of retailers who sell lead-free alternatives and be sure to check with these retailers to be sure they are open for business.