New Minnesota Bills Would Also Affect Fishing Tackle, Walleye Limits, and Deer Hunts

by Will Shepard

In St. Paul, Minnesota, there is new legislation being proposed to deal with natural resources. These new bills are specifically targeting fishing, which is a staple of Minnesotans’ leisure activities.

Minnesota lawmakers are introducing a bill to ban the sale of lead tackle smaller than one ounce. But, there are two kinds of split-shot fishing sinkers. One is made of tin, while the other is made out of lead. The tin sinkers are non-toxic for waterfowl, but the lead sinkers are toxic.

The lead-free sinkers, however, have to be bigger and bulkier to match the weight of lead fishing split-shot. But, this is not the only fishing bill being brought forward by lawmakers.

Minnesota lawmakers are also trying to ban the use of small lead fishing jigs and sinkers. Most importantly for fishermen, state legislators are trying to lower the walleye bag limit to four fish. As of now, people are allowed to take six walleyes per day.

Even though lawmakers are working to put these bills into law, there is a long way to go. First, the bills have to pass both the state Senate and House. Afterward, the governor must agree to sign them into law. This process will likely take a long time. So, if these bills do come to fruition, it will probably not be until late spring or early summer.

Moreover, this is not the first time that lead tackle bans have been introduced. But, regulating lead in fishing has all failed to pass. This new legislation is addressing the lead poisoning of loons and other waterfowl that ingest the lead from fishing tackle.

Minnesota Lawmakers Changing Fishing and Hunting Legislation

There is a big problem of birds eating sinkers, jigs, and even leaders that are lost. This lead can kill the birds that eat it really quickly. Lead is also dangerous to humans.

For many years, lead in gasoline and paint has been banned. It is also banned in waterfowl hunting. Even the tiniest amount of lead can kill a loon or other waterfowl. Diving ducks eat a lot of pebbles to help digest their food. Consequently, these birds will often eat the lead laying on the bottom of lakes and rivers.

Again, the bills will ban the use, manufacture, and sales of lead tackle smaller than one ounce or smaller than 2.5 inches long. This is a big proposition that will most likely change the fishing for everyday people.

However, even if it passes, there is still a big chunk of time before the law is completely enacted. In fact, stores and manufacturers will have until July 1, 2024, to phase out of lead tackle.

Several other states have been banning lead fishing tackle. But, in Minnesota, the ban only applies to the use of small lead tackle and won’t apply to bigger items.

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[H/T Bemidji Pioneer]