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.
This weekend I was supposed to be down on the White River, with Brent McClane and Evan Muskopf; but a basement remodel, a crazy work week, and generally needing to be responsible kept me at home this weekend (and Evan was running in to many of the same issues as I was), so the trip was rescheduled. Sensing that I still needed to get out, even if just for a few hours, Brent got me to skip going into the office this Saturday and run down to Trout & Sons Marine in St. James to look at a new jet boat, check out the put-in and take-out on the Meramac, and maybe if time allowed pick up a few fish for the smoker at the trout park. And with that, the plan was solid.
We met at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and caught up on personal stuff and hit the road by 7am. By 9am we were done at the boat place and on our way over to the trout park for some fishing. Man was that place packed. We almost just took off for the river, but no one was fishing the skinny water up near the cable so we fished for a bit, I picked up 3 or 4 fish pretty quickly and Brent soon followed with 3 or 4 of his own. Mine were not big enough to keep, but I swear that I caught one with par marks and white tips, but Brent caught one that would go about 15″ or so and the others were standard trout park slime rockets; nothing exciting to write home about.
It was a good day to get back to our roots and do some people watching and the sort; and definitely reminded us both of why we like the solitude of the rivers and the winter; people are just plain crazy during the Catch & Keep season. For me, the most enjoyable part was playing with a new piece of photography equipment that I got and hadn’t put to the test yet. I had purchased an underwater bag for my digital slr, but was pretty hesitant in using up to this point; but something was different today and I threw my backup camera in it (Nikon D70 w/ 18-70), sealed it properly and started to snap a few frames. It will take some getting used to, and definitely need to modify a few things with it; but I was pleased with the results for a first effort. You can see the results in the gallery below. Hope everyone else got out this weekend, even if only for an hour or two like I did, it is good for the soul.