Maine

Anglers: Know the Law

Maine law bans the sale and use of bare (unpainted) lead jigs and sinkers containing any amount of lead that weigh 1 ounce or less and measure 2 1/2 inches long or less. Click here to link to MDIFW Lead Tackle Law.

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 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.

Tackle Exchange Events

Would You Like to Host a Lead Exchange in Your Community?

Please contact us if you are attending a public event, like a lake association or civic group meeting, if you spend time at a local boat ramp, or if you have a location where fisherman can exchange lead tackle for lead-free samples.

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 such as rack cards, posters, stickers and business cards outlining the lead law.

Maine Lead Tackle Buy-Back Program

Make the switch to lead-free tackle, it’s on us!

Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) have partnered with local tackle shops* to provide a $10 store voucher to any person who turns in one ounce or more of lead fishing tackle (including lead jigs and sinkers containing any amount of lead).

* Participating Retailers Subject to change.
1. Indian Hill Trading Post (Moosehead Lake)
2. Dag’s Bait Shop (Auburn)
3. BackWoods Bait and Tackle (Chesterville)
4. Willey’s Sport Center (Auburn)

Tackle Buyback Poster

Lead Tackle & Monofilament Line Collection Bins

Would You Like to Set Up a Lead Tackle Collection Site in Your Town?

We currently have funding to support lead tackle and monofilament line collection bins at a number of Maine lakes and ponds. Please contact us if you are interested in setting up a lead tackle collection bin at a boat ramp, public beach, or lake access area. Let us know if you have an organization or business in mind which might be interested in serving as an ongoing lead tackle collection site. Unlike one-time exchange events, ongoing collection sites require someone to construct and install a colection 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. If you want to set up a collection bin at a state launch be sure to contact MDIFW first before doing so – unsure whether your launch is state or private, click here.

How to make PVC collection bins for lead tackle and monofilament line – see our construction plans on how to build your own tackle collection bin! We can also provide you with stickers to label each bin:

tackle collection sticker 5_ oval ReelIn & Reclycle sticker 5 oval

Contact Us!

If you want more information on Fish Lead Free, host a tackle exchange, post a collection bin, or become one of our tackle buy-back participating retailers, please email us as Maine Audubon.

Where to Buy Lead-Free Tackle in Maine

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

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

Saco Bay Tackle Shop: (207) 284-4453, 977 Portland Rd, Saco, ME 04072

           Whitney’s Outfitters: 207-403-8000, 274 W Broadway, Lincoln, ME 04457

The Tackle Shop: (207) 773-3474, 61 India St, Portland, ME 04101

For a list of Online Retailers please click here.

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

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) offices accept lead tackle. For a list of lead tackle collection and disposal sites, click here.

Transfer Stations

  • 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

If You Find a Dead Loon

  • Should you ever find a dead loon, please report the loon to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) at 207-287-8000. Click here for more information on what to do if you find a dead adult loon or loon chick.

To learn more about Maine Audubon’s Fish Lead Free efforts click here.

If you’d like your local Maine store to take part in our Tackle Buy-Back program, please fill out the form:

3 thoughts on “Maine

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