Clarification on New Lead Sinker Law
IFW has received several questions about the new law, P.L.c. 372 (LD 730) and lately the questions are specific to sounders. Many are asking if sounders are also considered lead sinkers and therefore ILLEGAL to use if they are less than one ounce OR less than 2.5 inches in length.
Sounders are typically utilized to attach to your fishing line to find the depth of the water prior to baiting your hook or lure.
Here are three important points to remember when interpreting this new law that bans the use and sale of lead sinkers:
- Lead sinkers are LEGAL as long as they are more than 1 ounce OR more than 2.5 inches in length.
- Technically the law’s definition of lead sinkers would include a sounder as a lead sinker. This seems to be an unintentional consequence of the law and because the Legislative Committee did not intend to make sounders illegal, the Department is going to interpret the law as it relates to sounders in the following way:
- As long as a sounder is painted it will be considered LEGAL regardless of the length or weight.
- A painted piece of lead should help to reduce lead absorption in fish or loon’s digestive systems until they may be able to pass it.
The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is in hopes that the Legislature will be able to address this issue soon and make the necessary clarifications to the law. Warden Service will be taking an educational approach with fishermen while addressing this new law, as they normally do with other new laws.
To read the law in its entirety please go to this link: P.L.c. 372 (LD 730)
We hope this helps to answer some questions related to ice-fishing and the use of lead sinkers and sounders.