Missouri Considers Ban on Felt Wading Boots

2010-10-16pic010(edited)(resized)An article posted to the Columbia Missourian web site says the State of Missouri is considering a ban on felt wading boots; largely to follow what other states out West are doing.  On first thought, I want to applaud the state for some forward thinking as it relates to the Didymo issue.  But if we stop and think about it, felt soles aren’t the only issue contributing to this “rock snot” issue.  What is going to stop the algae from adhering to all the nooks and crannies that are in our wading shoes, or our waders around our gravel guards, or our nets.  The issue isn’t as simple as banning felt bottoms and the problem goes away.  The issue is angler education and how to rid a system of didymo once it is present and how to avoid incidental transfer on all the other items us fisherman take to the water with us.

I fish the Arkansas tailwaters quite a bit as well as Missouri waters, so I am one of the anglers that most probably has spread Didymo to a Missouri trout stream.  That doesn’t mean I did it on purpose.  I am actually really anal about cleaning my boots after I fish Arkansas and let them dry out (even have worn a different pair of boots in Missouri than in Arkansas on one particular trip when the two states overlapped).  All that being said, to me, banning felt isn’t the answer (I do think it will help, but my point is that it should stop there).  I didn’t wait for my waders to dry, I didn’t head to the nearest car wash and power wash the drift boat when I went from the White River to the 11pt river.  I simply didn’t think about it.  The article, however, is proof that we all need to.

I would love to know your thoughts on the topic; is banning felt the savior to the Didymo issue?  Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.  You can a PDF version of the article by clicking here.

10 thoughts on “Missouri Considers Ban on Felt Wading Boots

  1. Hey Matt,

    I’ve seen in Indiana and some other states, water millfoil warning signs posted at infected lakes. They say something like “warning – purge boat bilge and clean hull after boating in this lake”. You might have seen these signs. I don’t know how effective they are, but they spread awareness and I’m sure you could check with the DNR of Indiana or another state that has tried them out to see how effective they have been. Maybe it would be a good tool for preventing Didymo spread?

  2. as a casual fishing guy I probably would not know a river is infected in Mo unless there was lots of publicity about it online and signs like the Indiana ones. that might work somewhat once a river is infected, to get people to clean up their equipment after being on the river, but wouldn’t help much to prevent infections of the rock snot if you did not do something to get rid of it on your equipment if you were in infected waters.

  3. I know one thing : My ass and the rod companys will sure hate to see felt banned.
    How long has Didymo been in Arkansas, and why do we not have it everywhere already ? I haven’t heard of any yet on Taney or any other Mo. trout streams and I can’t help but feel that if we are going to get it we’ll get it regardless. If nothing else the waterfowl will bring it.
    So although banning felt and religious power washing of watercraft may feed the feel-good image that “we did all we could reasonably do”, it isn’t going to noticably alter the spread of it.
    Neither, I’m afraid, will the education/awareness efforts, which (for instance) haven’t slowed the spread of zebra mussels one bit, and they are far less resilient and fewer in number than spores of algae.
    All of us here commenting on this blog could probably retire fat on what has been spent on Zebra mussel studies and the assorted “educational” stuff (public service messages, signs, stickers, ect.).

    • Glenn:

      I agree with what you are saying; I guess my point is banning felt isn’t going to solve it and education isn’t going to solve it. But why do either one without the other?

      –tucker

  4. If you really want the public to scrub and disinfect their gear, spend those educational dollars convincing them that Didymo causes erectile disfunction. Guys will be scubbing and baking the hell out of those boots and waders then. LOL

  5. Spent a bunch of time researching this subject matter and my view is simply this. Banning felt or posting notices is not going to stop the spread of this invasive algae or any other invasive species. It would be impossible in the first place to get 100% complience.

    What is little understood is why it chooses to become extablished in one water shed and not another.
    The white has it but not the Norfork. And we know for a fact that both anglers and boat traffic has frequently on the same day moved from the white to the Norfork.
    I know for sure that didymo is present in Bull shoals lake, so far as l am aware not in Norfork, l would suspect same for MO lake systems, which is why apparently there is no presence of it in the tailwater systems or other.

    Evidently there has to be issues related to the chemistry of a given body of water for it to become established.
    Percentage wise here in the US it is tailwaters that are more so subject to its presence, while in NZ many of the rivers infected are not tailwaters.
    It is also present in UK systems.

    What seems to be apparent here on the white is the massive blooms we saw here some years ago which largely reduced since have as yet not developed to that extent again, all be it is still present.
    The theory is high water has something to do with this, possible, on the other hand it may be related to a change in the water chemisty in the lakes.

    Davy.

  6. Just came across this post doing research for many of the guides/outfitters here in Montana. Currently there is a bill in our Montana legislation that might ban felt in 2012. While I agree with Davy Wotton/MattTucker on the impossibility of 100% complience, as anglers we shouldn’t dismiss a ban just because it might not work. Aside from didymo we felt is notorious for transmission of hydrilla, zebra mussel, NZ mud snail, whirling disease and the list goes on.
    Don’t you think the felt ban is just the start of a larger piece by piece solution?

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