Main content

Get the Lead Out and Protect the Loons!

Posted Thursday, July 27, 2023

The LIA has mounted a tube at the fishing access for anglers to dispose of their lead tackle. Please don’t discard lead tackle or monofilament line in the lake or near the shoreline. We need your help to protect the Lake Iroquois loon family. 

Here is more information from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE):

Every year lead tackle and discarded monofilament line kills aquatic wildlife including loons, eagles, swans, geese, mammals, and other waterbirds. The smallest lead sinker will kill a loon. Even a small lead split shot is 100 percent fatal if swallowed.

Nearly 50% of loon deaths from 1989-2022 in Vermont were caused by lead fishing gear, monofilament, and ingestion of hooks.

How do loons ingest lead tackle?

  • Loons need to consume small stones to grind food in their gizzards. Loons mistake small lead sinkers for stones.
  • Loons catch slower moving fish that have been impaired by lead tackle and fishing line, and eat the fish that have lead tackle in them.
  • Loons might chase tackle when anglers are fishing nearby. They can swallow the lead tackle and hook and become entangled in the monofilament line as well.

What can you do?

  • Dispose of lead fishing gear in the collection tube at the Lake Iroquois fishing access or municipal solid waste station. Other disposal sites can be found here.
  • Properly dispose of or recycle your monofilament line so wildlife will not become entangled. Monofilament line is not biodegradable and will last hundreds of years in the environment. Often discarded near the shoreline, monofilament line is a serious hazard to birds and other wildlife.
  • Use non-toxic tackle when fishing. Find a list of non-lead manufacturers and retailers here:
  • Reel-in when loons are diving nearby. Loons will take live bait and lures. Use the 200 foot rule.
  • Encourage your family, friends, and local tackle shop to use and carry non-lead tackle (tin, steel, bismuth, ceramic, glass, tungsten and composites of these materials). Many of these choices are available at a similar or slightly higher price compared to lead.

Didn’t the Vermont Lead Sinker Law Work? Yes and no

As of January 2007, it is illegal to use and sell lead sinkers weighing 1/2 ounce or less to fish within Vermont. VCE documented a threefold decrease in loon mortalities from lead tackle from 2008 to 2018. The law worked. However, from 2019-2022, at least 10 loons have ingested lead fishing gear and died. That’s almost 3% of Vermont’s loon population. Lead is still in anglers’ tackle boxes and being used. Help us remove lead fishing gear from our lakes and ponds.

For more information:  Vermont Center for Ecostudies:

                                        Fish Lead Free VT: