The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance and DNR are partnering with retailers, lake associations and outdoors groups in offering lead tackle exchanges across Minnesota.
More than 30 exchange events are scheduled to begin this month and run through August. The exchanges give anglers a chance to try the growing variety of non-toxic tackle and compare it to lead versions. There is no charge to exchange tackle.
Locally, a lead tackle exchange is scheduled for July 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Paul Bunyan Nature Learning Center in Baxter.
Depending on what's turned in, lead tackle will be swapped for non-lead jigs, split-shot, walking sinkers, bullet/worm slip and bell swivel weights in various sizes and colors. Anglers who swap lead tackle will also receive a sample packet of the new Dr. Drop tungsten composite weights, as well as Bullet Weights stainless steel tackle.
Minnesota has not banned the sale or use of lead weights and jigs. Canada is considering a nationwide proposal to ban the manufacture, import, and use of lead sinkers and jigs.
The OEA will offer a "Get the Lead Out" tool kit to more than 550 individual lake associations in Minnesota. Non-lead tackle continues to drop in price and is increasingly competitive with lead counterparts. For example, the new tungsten composite weights by Gravity Heikkila are comparatively priced to lead split shot and offer superior performance. These new weights snap on, an innovative feature drawing interest from anglers. Another promising new product is the tungsten composite sinkers produced by Eagan-based Dr Drop, Inc. The weights, introduced earlier this year, feature an exclusive "friction grip" process that allows for fast attachment and retrieval.
Lead is toxic and has adverse effects on the nervous and reproductive systems of mammals and birds. It has been found to poison loons and eagles that inadvertently swallow tackle made from lead.
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