Anglers: Know the Law
Lead sinkers and bare (unpainted) lead-headed jigs 1 oz or less, as well as those that are 2 ½ inches long or less are banned in Maine.
Why Fish Lead Free?
Fishing lead free is better for our wildlife and the health of our lakes. 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 out of Maine waters will increase loon survival and allow the state’s population of around 4,500 adult loons to thrive.
Angler’s Guide to Lead-Free Fishing
Non-toxic tackle comes in many metal choices and modern metal alloys offer the angler a number of advantages:
- They are environmentally safe
- They have more sound producing qualities to call in those fish and up your catch
- Tungsten is denser and harder than lead, which allows the angler to “feel” the bait more effectively and, consequently, helps the angler feel the bite
- Tackle made from tin, bismuth, and steel alloys are lighter than lead, but many anglers have reported good success using lighter baits and lures because they have a more natural appearance and presentation.
- Any fishing tackle containing zinc is not recommended because it is also toxic to wildlife.
Where to Buy Lead-Free Tackle in Maine
- The Tackle Shop: (207) 773-3474, 61 India St, Portland, ME 04101
- Saco Bay Tackle Shop: (207) 284-4453, 977 Portland Rd, Saco, ME 04072
- Luke’s Reel Repair: (207) 985-2492, 737 Alewive Rd, Kennebunk, ME 04043
- Mainely Bait & Tackle: (207) 993-3031, 1340 N Palermo Rd, Palermo, ME 04354
- M.C.W. Bait & Tackle: (207) 642-3039, 60 Fort Hill Rd, Standish, Maine 04084
- Moosehead Bait and Tackle: (207) 534-226, Jackman Rd, Rockwood, ME 04478
- Cabela’s: (207) 883-7400, 100 Cabela’s Blvd. Scarborough, ME 04074
- LLBean Hunting and Fishing Store: 1-877-755-2326, 95 Main St. Freeport, ME 04032
For a list of Online Retailers please click here.
If you’d like to add your local Maine store to the list above, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
Lead Tackle Collection/Disposal Sites
Maine Audubon Centers
- Gilsland Farm*: 20 Gilsland Farm Rd, Falmouth, ME 04105; (207) 781-2330
- Fields Pond*: 216 Fields Pond Rd., Holden, ME 04429; (207) 989-2591
Maine IFW Offices
For a list of lead tackle collection and disposal sites, click here.
- Millinocket: 20 Cedar Street, Millinocket, ME 04462
- Sherman: 253 Extract Rd, Sherman, ME 04776, (207) 365-4879
- Bridgewater Town Hall: 11 Bootfoot Rd, Bridgewater, ME 04735
- Bridgewater Transfer Station, Corner Road, Bridgewater, ME 04735 , (207)-429-9856
- Skowhegan: Steward Hill Road, Skowhegan, ME 04976, (207)- 474-6918
- Biddeford Public Works: 371 Hill Street, Biddeford, ME 04005, (207) 282-1579
Additional Disposal Options
- Riverside Recycling Facility : 207-797-6200, 910 Riverside St, Portland ME 04103
- Perry Iron & Metal Co. : 207-775-3181, 115 Lancaster St, Portland ME 04101
- Schnitzer Northeast Scrapmetal Dealer: (207)- 772-8329, 568 Riverside Street, Portland, ME 04103 US
- Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust: PO Box 333, office: 3 Round Top Lane, Damariscotta, ME 04543 (207)-563-1393
- Pemaquid Pond Campgrounds
- Maine Lakes Resource Center: 137 Main St. Belgrade Lakes, ME 04918 (207) 495-3617
Tackle Exchange Events
Upcoming Lead Exchange Events
- On-going exchanges are taking place at many of the disposal locations listed above
- Stay tuned for dates regarding lead exchange events this summer
Would You Like to Host a Lead Exchange Opportunities in Your Community?
If you are attending a public event like a lake association meeting or civic group meeting, spend time at a local boat ramp, or if you have a location like a town office or library where fishermen can exchange lead tackle for lead-free samples, please contact us. We can provide you with everything you need to publicize the exchange event, collect lead tackle and distribute lead-free samples. Our lead-free kits come with an assortment of lead-free tackle, outreach materials (rack cards and posters), and stickers to attach to a container for lead tackle collection. We currently have funding to support lead tackle exchanges only in the following towns:
|Bucks Mills Rod & Gun Club||Jefferson||Penobscot||Unity|
|Bucksport||Knox||Penobscot County Conservation Assoc.||Vassalboro|
|Burnham||Knox County Fish & Game||Plymouth||Waldo|
Would You Like to Set Up a Lead Tackle Collection Site in your Town?
We currently have funding to support lead tackle collection at a number of Maine lakes and ponds. Please contact us if you are interested in setting up a lead tackle collection site at a boat ramp located on one of the following lakes or ponds, or let us know if you have an organization or business in mind in one of the towns listed above which might be interested in serving as an ongoing lead tackle collection site. Ongoing collection sites, versus on-time exchange events, require someone to make and install a collection bin, check regularly for deposited tackle, and dispose of the lead tackle at a designated lead collection facility (or it can be mailed to us at Maine Audubon, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth, ME 04105.
Boat Launches within our 2019 Fish Lead Free Project Area
|Lake||Boat Launch Coordinates||Town||Trailerable or Hand Carry|
|Unity Pond||44.682, -69.3426||Unity||T|
|China Lake||44.4457, -69.6054||Vassalboro||T|
|China Lake||44.4791, -69.5111||China||T|
|Sheepscot Pond||44.37758, -69.43285||Palermo||T|
|Lake Saint George||44.39442, -69.35031||Liberty||T|
|Stevens Pond||44.38197, -69.29759||Liberty||T|
|Trues Pond||44.39075, -69.29099||Liberty||HC|
|Sandy Pond||44.5236, -69.2931||Freedom||T|
|Swan Lake||44.5256, -68.9998||Swanville||T|
|Megunticook Lake||44.2349, -69.10872||Camden||T|
|Megunticook Lake||44.24756, -69.08977||Camden||T|
|Washington Pond||44.27477, -69.38973||Washington||HC|
|Alford Lake||44.23808, -69.22743||Hope||T|
|Belfast Bay||44.42866, -69.0038||Belfast||T|
|Silver Lake||44.60142, -68.79369||Bucksport||T|
|Silver Lake||44.59942, -68.79151||Bucksport||HC|
|Jacob Buck Pond||44.64207, -68.74422||Bucksport||T|
|Seven Tree Pond||44.20322, -69.27575||Union||T|
|South Pond||44.109482, -69.278024||Warren||T|
|Chickawaukie Pond||44.1366, -69.12||Rockland||T|
|Crystal Pond||44.29573, -69.39552||Washington||HC|
About Lead Exchange Presentations:
This year, Maine Audubon will also be offering presentations about common loons and the Fish Lead Free Initiative to a number of Maine towns. Presentations are 30-50 minutes long and include a multimedia slide show about loon natural history, as well as an overview of current threats, including lead tackle. Lead-free tackle and outreach materials will also be available. For more information or to schedule a presentation for your organization, please email Tracy Hart from Maine Audubon Society at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are available to provide presentations in the following towns:
For more information or to schedule a presentation for your organization, please email Hannah Young from Maine Audubon.
If You Find a Dead Loon
- If you find a dead loon, please call Maine Audubon at (207)-781- 6180 ext. 219.
- If you can’t reach someone immediately, please double bag the loon and place in a freezer right away to stop any further decomposition and call the number above.
If you’d like to add your local Maine store to the list above, please fill out the form: