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.