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Talking Tackle with the Fish Lead Free team

Maine Audubon’s Fish Lead Free project has been busy over the winter attending events and spreading the lead-free fishing word! Why lead-free? Because loons! Loons will mistake small lead sinkers on lake bottoms for gravel to help aid in digestion or will consume fish that have a piece of lead tackle in them. It only takes one small piece for loons to experience the deadly effects of lead poisoning.

Maine Audubon has been out at various events collecting lead tackle, educating people about the updates to the lead tackle law, and giving out lead-free tackle samples for anglers to test out for themselves.

Over the winter, we were happy to attend two events hosted by Trout Unlimited Sebago Chapter: an ice fishing event on Chaffin Pond in Windham and an educational presentation at Bissell Brothers in Portland. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife hosted a large event on Range Pond in Poland during free fishing weekend in February that was a huge success!

During sportsman show season, we talked to lots of people who stopped by our exhibition table at the Eastern Maine Sportsman Show in Orono that had around 8,000 attendees. Unfortunately, the Aroostook Sportsman Show in Presque Isle was postponed due to a winter storm so Maine Audubon had to sit that one out this year. And last weekend, we tabled at the State of Maine Sportsman Show in Augusta. The show saw more than 6000 attendees.

All in all, we were able to collect a total of 15 pounds of lead, roughly 1390 pieces of small sized lead tackle, and we interacted with more than 3,850 people!

We already have volunteers from our Look Out for Loons program lined up to host their own tackle exchange events this spring and fall. Groups will be targeting fishing derbies, lake association meetings, farmers markets, and local community events to help spread the fish lead-free word and collect any lead tackle that anglers no longer use.

If you or your lake group is interested in helping with some Fish Lead Free projects this summer, please email for more information.

More about Fish Lead Free >

Fish Lead Free Event