Steve Perry: (603) 271-2501
Sandra Falicon: (603) 271-3511
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
July 5, 2005

Get the Lead Out BrochureAnglers: Get the Lead Out

CONCORD, N.H. -- For the sake of the loons -- and because it's the law -- the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is advising anglers to safely dispose of their lead sinkers and jigs and replace them with non-lead alternatives. As of 2005, the use of certain lead sinkers and jigs is prohibited on all fresh waters in New Hampshire. The sale of this tackle will be illegal statewide beginning January 1, 2006.

For years, Fish and Game staff have encouraged anglers to safely dispose of lead sinkers and jigs and replace them with nonlead alternatives because of the hazard lead tackle presents for loons and other wildlife. Loons that ingest lead sinkers or jigs typically die within a matter of weeks. To protect wildlife from this toxic substance, in 2000, New Hampshire became the first state to ban the use of lead sinkers weighing one ounce or less and jigs measuring less than one inch in length on freshwater lakes and ponds. A new law in effect since January 1, 2005, extended that ban to rivers and streams, effectively making the tackle illegal to use on any fresh water in the state.

Mark Beauchesne, coordinator of Fish and Game's Let's Go Fishing program, points out that luckily, today, you can find a vast array of inexpensive alternatives to lead tackle that actually offer technical benefits to the angler while keeping our waterways lead-free. "Many nontoxic materials like steel, brass and bismuth are harder than lead and less likely to get hung up on rocks," says Beauchesne. "And many nonlead tackle choices also make a real racket underwater - a huge benefit to anglers because fish use sound vibrations to locate their prey."

One of Beauchesne's top noisemaking choices is a "brass-and-glass" combination - a glass or plastic bead between a swivel and a sinker. Click here to learn more about nonlead tackle alternatives.

Everyone intending to go freshwater fishing in New Hampshire this year should take a few minutes to check over their tackle boxes and remove any lead sinkers and jigs. Do not throw them in the trash; dispose of them safely at one of the following locations:

  • N.H. Fish and Game offices (Concord, Durham, Keene, Lancaster and New Hampton) and state fish hatcheries (for locations, call 603-271-3211).

  • Household Hazardous Waste Collections, held throughout the state. Call the N.H. Department of Environmental Services at (603) 271-2047, or click here to visit:

  • The Loon Preservation Committee's visitor center on Lee's Mills Road in Moultonborough; click here to visit

Click here for more information on loons and lead. Download the U.S. Fish and Wildlife/N.H. Fish and Game Department brochure Let's Get the Lead Out by clicking on the cover image above, or order free copies by calling (603) 271-3212.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's marine, fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.

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