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Anglers Take Note: New Lead Law Will Take Effect in 2016

Laura Ryder, NHFG Aquatic Education: (603) 271-3212
Emily Preston, NHFG Wildlife Division: (603) 271-2461
Harry Vogel, Loon Preservation Committee: (603) 476-5666

December 30, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. – A new law goes into effect in New Hampshire on June 1, 2016, banning the sale and freshwater use of lead fishing sinkers and jigs (lead-weighted hooks) weighing one ounce or less. The new law does not apply to lead core line, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, spoons, poppers, plugs or flies.


State law already prohibits the use of certain size lead sinkers and jigs in all fresh waters of New Hampshire. The new ban will prohibit the use and sale of lead sinkers and jigs weighing 1 ounce or less, regardless of length.


Anglers are encouraged to make the transition to non-lead tackle alternatives as soon as possible. “It’s the right thing to do, not just for loons, but for all wildlife that may ingest lead sinkers and jigs,” says NH Fish and Game Department Fisheries Division Chief Jason Smith.


Loons and other water birds can die from lead poisoning after swallowing lead fishing sinkers and jigs lost by anglers. Biologists have studied the effects of lead sinkers and jigs on water birds like loons and swans since the 1970s. Ongoing research has documented that, in the northeastern U.S. and Canada, where loons breed, lead sinkers or jigs can account for up to half of dead adult loons found by researchers. A loon will die from lead poisoning approximately two to four weeks after ingesting lead tackle.


What You Can Do:


  • Switch to non-lead sinkers and jigs.
  • Spread the word. Tell other anglers about the problem with lead.
  • Dispose of old lead sinkers and jigs properly. Drop-off locations include all NH Fish and Game offices and the Loon Preservation Center in Moultonborough.
  • Learn more at, a regional initiative providing resources and information across New England to motivate all anglers to stop using lead tackle.


Many safe, effective alternatives to lead tackle are available, including tackle made of steel, tungsten, tin, bismuth and many other materials. Learn more tips and tactics for fishing lead-free at

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