Wildlife experts urge anglers to 'get the lead out'

Lead-based fishing tackle killing eagles and other birds
Fishing Tackle
Minnesota is asking you to drop the lead fishing tackle to protect birds, including Bald Eagles and Loons, across the state. Photo credit Getty Images

With fishing on the minds of many this weekend, a plea from wildlife experts to avoid using lead-based tackle.

Ed Hahn with the National Eagle Center in Wabasha tells WCCO's Susie Jones lead exposure - even from a little sinker - is big problem in the eagle population.

"A piece of lead the size of Abe Lincoln's nose on a penny is enough lead to fatally poison a bald eagle in about four to five days," says Hahn.

He says replacing lead-based sinkers and tackle is easy.

"The simplest thing that people can do is if you're buying new sinkers and tackle for your tackle box, make sure that what you're buying is lead-free tackle, which is pretty common on the market now," says Hahn.

Hahn says lead exposure in eagles and other wild birds including Loons is a big problem, with a recent study showing nearly half of more than a thousand bald eagles sampled had lead in their systems.

You can learn more about lead fishing tackle and its effects on Minnesota's birds on the DNR website here.