Lead Free Fishing

National Loon Center Joins Lindy to Launch the Loons & Lakes Legacy Pledge for Lead-Free Angling
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National Loon Center

The National Loon Center is joining a first-of-its-kind coalition to take the Loons & Lakes Legacy Pledge, a commitment to lead free angling and leaving a legacy that protects our beloved wildlife and shared waters for generations. Working in concert with tackle designer, Jeff Zernov, and Lindy Fishing Tackle, the coalition is organizing a kickoff event on the morning of Wednesday, May 8 at Baker Park Reserve Lake Independence, prior to Minnesota’s fishing opener.

In The News

  • MSN.com. Fishing tackle company pledges to go lead-free within three years to help save loons
  • KSTP.com. The Loons and Lakes Legacy pledge for lead free angling
  • KARE11.com. Fishing tackle company pledges to go lead-free within three years to help save loons
Fishing tackle company pledges to go lead-free within three years to help save loons
The Loons and Lakes Legacy pledge for lead free angling

“As another fishing opener approaches, we are thrilled to support Lindy’s commitment to designing lead-free tackle that guides Minnesota’s storied angling tradition toward a more responsible future,” said National Loon Center Executive Director Jon Mobeck. “Removing lead from our lakes improves our valuable freshwater resource and protects loons from an unnecessary and lethal toxin.”

As the first tackle company to sign the Loons & Lakes Legacy Pledge, Lindy will launch a new line of products under Lindy-Lead Free, providing 4 different styles of lead-free fishing jigs available in 144 different variations. Under the pledge, Lindy is committing to make their entire product line lead-free and loon-friendly by 2027. The company is working with fishing innovator, Zernov, to grow its line of Lindy-Lead Free products. Zernov has specially designed the tackle to have high performance and be safer for people, wildlife, and the environment.

Scientific research has shown that lead used for fishing and hunting is threatening both wildlife and people, especially children, at a significant rate. Lead can enter an ecosystem through tackle and bullet fragments. It is a lethal toxin to wildlife, including our national bird, the Bald Eagle and Minnesota’s state bird, the Common Loon, both iconic symbols of pristine northern waters. The national estimate, via the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is 25 percent of adult Common Loon deaths are due to lead poisoning. The National Loon Center is facilitating research to reduce loon mortality, including those from lead poisoning, by examining “why loons die” through necropsies. This research and similar data make it imperative for changes to be made in how fishing tackle is manufactured.

Zernov, a fishing innovator, who was inducted into the Minnesota Fishing Museum Hall of Fame in 2004, has developed the formula that makes tackle that plays like lead tackle but is safe for humans and animals.

“This is a very big moment for the fishing industry,” said Zernov. “With this product, there is no need to use lead tackle again. Our goal is to spread the word and get people to change their ways before it is too late.”

Historically, it has been difficult to find a lead-free option with the same feel as lead tackle and at a comparable cost. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Get the Lead Out Program, has helped anglers find alternatives through an online directory of current manufacturers and retailers offering lead-free tackle across the country. As a leader in the fishing tackle industry, Lindy is proud to work with the National Loon Center to encourage more companies to similarly commit to the protection of our natural resources and further grow the list of lead-free manufacturers.

“This unique blend of materials is a true game changer in the fishing tackle industry,” said Ron Kiffmeyer of Lindy. “We have made the commitment to go 100 percent lead free because we can and it is the right thing to do, period.”

To promote and educate the public, the National Loon Center and Lindy, along with other outdoors stakeholders will converge upon the shores of Lake Independence to sign the Loons & Lakes Legacy Pledge and to inform the public about lead-free tackle.

“We are hopeful this timely event encourages others in the fishing industry to consider lead free policies,” said Mobeck. “We are determined to get the word out that fishing lead free is possible, affordable and the absolute right thing to do to protect our state’s precious resources.”

About the National Loon Center:
The National Loon Center aims to restore and protect loon breeding habitats, enhance responsible recreation, and serve as a national leader in advancing loon and freshwater research. The NLC’s world-class facility is slated to open to the public in 2025 and will be an interactive and family-friendly educational destination. To support the National Loon Center’s mission, please visit www.nationallooncenter.org

Lead Free Sinkers

Lead is a toxic substance that can harm wildlife and contaminate water sources. When lead sinkers are lost or left behind in bodies of water, they can poison aquatic organisms and disrupt ecosystems. Using lead-free fishing weights helps to mitigate this environmental damage.

Many regions have regulations or outright bans on the use of lead fishing weights in fishing due to environmental and health concerns. Using lead-free fishing weights ensures compliance with these regulations and helps protect natural habitats.

Lead Free Jigs

Lead jigs can also pose a risk to anglers themselves, especially if they handle them frequently or accidentally ingest or inhale lead dust. Lead-free jigs eliminate this risk, providing a safer fishing experience.

Lead Free Fishing Reference Material

Here is some additional information on lead free fishing.

Metals for Fishing Lures

Working under the pledge of “do no harm”, Dragon Hunter, located in Brainerd, Minnesota has been supplying lead free alternatives (mostly tungsten) to the fishing industry for over 2-decades.  The addition of our new bismuth formula expands our offering with a lower cost option than tungsten which is harder than lead and similar in size.

Tungsten.  The hardest metal in the world with a very high melt point make this an expensive option.  Additionally, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) lists tungsten as a toxic metal.  Not all metal lures need the high density and high cost of tungsten.  Lures that require good bottom contact and are often fished in water deeper than 20 feet are best done in tungsten, examples are walking or Carolina rig sinker, small ice jigs and FFS lures. Tungsten is particularly well suited for vertical fishing ice jig and drop shot where the baits are small and often fished in deep water.  Additionally in bass fishing a heavy weight, tungsten “punch jig” can get through the vegetation better than other metals.

Bismuth. Although it is less dense than tungsten and lead, it is harder than lead and gives better bottom feel. Our specific bismuth formula is the best lead-free alternative because it is truly non-toxic. (Bismuth is a key ingredient in Pepto-Bismal.)  Lures fished under a float or casted like swim jigs, crappie jigs and live bait jigs don’t need the density-expense of tungsten and are all ideal for bismuth.

Lead.  For over 100 years the USA has recognized the danger of lead and removed it from our gasoline, our paint and most all other applications. The evidence is overwhelming that lead fishing lures kill loons, swans, eagles and more.  The fishing industry needs to stop denying the truth, pull their head out of the sand and promote lead free fishing.

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