MA Lead Law

Posted December 16, 2012

Loons, Lead Sinkers & Jigs

January 1, 2012The use of any lead fishing sinkers and lead jigs weighing less than 1 ounce is now prohibited in all inland waters (fresh water) of the Commonwealth.

In terms of this regulation, “lead sinker” or “lead weight” is defined as any sinker or weight made from lead that weighs less than 1 ounce. A “lead jig” is defined as any lead-weighted hook weighing less than 1 ounce. Prohibited tackle includes lead sinkers and jigs weighing less than an ounce regardless of whether they are painted, coated with rubber, covered by attached “skirts” or some other material. See the questions below for more details.

Which lead sinkers and jigs are illegal to use when fishing in Massachusetts?

The use of any lead fishing sinkers and lead jigs weighing less than 1 ounce is now prohibited in all Massachusetts inland waters (freshwater). Examples of prohibited tackle weighing less than 1 ounce include but are not limited to: split shot, bottom-bumping jigs, bullet weights, lead sinkers, or jigs which are painted, “skirted”, or otherwise covered with rubber or other substance.

What equipment can I use legally when freshwater fishing?

You may use lead sinkers and jigs weighing 1 oz or more. Other examples of hooks and lures which anglers may continue to use include artificial lures such as:

  • buzz baits,
  • rooster tails,
  • metals and spoons,
  • spinners and spinner-baits,
  • jerk or stick baits,
  • swim baits,
  • lead-core fishing line,
  • and weighted flies.

Is there alternative equipment available?

Ecologically safe alternatives to lead sinkers and lead jigs (such as steel, tungsten, bismuth, copper, brass, and tin) are readily available from many sources and come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, weights, and sizes to meet every type of fishing need.