Conservation is a key component to fly fishing, and few things are more important to conservation than clean water and healthy fish and wildlife.
For fly fishing, there are a variety of materials and products on the market that work great, and will also improve your catch rate. Tungsten weights, bead heads, tungsten putty, tin split shot, brass beads and eyes, and more all work great as lead substitutes for fly fishing.
Many lead alternative materials are in use today for fly tying. Tungsten beads, brass beads and eyes, lead alternative wire, copper wire, and more all have their use. When weighting a fly, tungsten has an advantage over lead because it is heavier and denser. This means that a smaller bead can be used on nymphs and other wet flies to help sink them to the strike zone. Tungsten beads also come in a variety of fish attracting colors.
Lead alternative wire is great for streamers and nymphs that require extra weight and is completely non toxic. Simply replace your old lead wire with a selection of different size non toxic lead alternative wire to keep on hand when tying your flies. Not only is this better for the eco systems that you fish, but it’s safer for you and your family. Lead free wire means no lead dust or residue left over contaminating your hands and anything you touch after a busy session at the tying table.
On the water fly fishing uses for lead free weights
Many lead alternative weights can be attached to the leader, much like traditional split shot, to help sink the fly to the bottom. Tin split shot, Steel split shot and soft tungsten putties all work great when extra weight is needed to sink your nymph or egg pattern to the bottom.
Tungsten putty is particularly useful as the amount of weight can be fine tuned to your needs. Simply add a little, or remove a little to get the right amount. Most often, soft putties like these will soften when warmed slightly between the fingers. This allows the fly angler to attach and remove the putty from the leader easily. Once the putty is formed on the leader, the coolness of the water will harden it so that it will not fall off while fishing. After fishing, the putty can be completely removed from the line with no mess.
Tin split shot comes in the same form as old lead split shot, and can be reused many times. The handy thing about tin, or other lead alternative split shot, is that is won’t foul up the waterways and your hands. Have you ever eaten a snack while fishing after handling lead split shot? With lead alternatives like tin, steel, or other alternatives, you don’t have to worry about ingesting lead residue.
Other advantages to lead alternative weights
There are many advantages to fly fishing with lead alternative weights. Besides the practical reasons, like tungsten being heaver and denser than lead, there are the environmental and safety issues to think about. Our waterways are fragile, and if we don’t take steps to safeguard them for future generations, we may lose out.
Wildlife and birds, like Loons, can oftentimes ingest lead weights that have been lost or left in the stream or along the banks of the lake. By using a lead alternative you eliminate the risk.
Lead free weights are vital in keeping our waterways clean, and our fish healthy.