Lead-free fishing tackle: Get the lead out

Man holding a perch

Lead is toxic

Lead poisons loons when they swallow lead tackle that anglers lost. One-in-four loons die a slow and painful death of lead poisoning from fishing tackle. 

Lead-free alternatives

Anglers can choose lead-free tackle when shopping for fishing tackle. Lead-free alternatives are available, and perform as well as traditional tackle.

What you can do

  • Find lead-free fishing tackle in our manufacturer's directory.
  • Don't throw old fishing gear into the water or shore.
  • Properly dispose of old lead sinkers and jigs
  • Don't put a lead sinker in your mouth. Use pliers to attach sinkers to your fishing line.
  • Wash your hands after handling lead sinkers or cleaning out your tackle box.
  • Spread the word. Tell your friends about the problem. Encourage them to switch to lead-free sinkers and jigs.
  • Ask your favorite retailers to stock lead-free fishing tackle.

Get involved

  • Partner with us to host a tackle exchange in your neighborhood.
  • Invite us to present at a school or community organization.


Project funding

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill directly affected between 600 and 1,000 common loons and indirectly affected more loons in the years after the disaster. Through a process known as Natural Resource Damage Assessment, the Deepwater Horizon Trustees assessed natural resources injuries that resulted from the 2010 oil spill and entered into a settlement agreement with BP.  The MPCA was awarded $1.27 million by the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Technical Implementation Group to implement the Get the Lead Out! campaign to help restore the loon population. The Gulf of Mexico is a primary wintering area for common loons from Minnesota. Learn more about Minnesota's common loon on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web site.