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Bans on Felt Soled Wading Boots Gathering Steam: How Long Until You're Wearing Rubber (And Practicing Safe Wading)?

Posted by Tom Chandler 2/26/2010 5 minutes

The power's flickering on and off like a damn pinball game today, so you're reading a draft of what could have been another brilliant post. Damn.

Felt-soled wading boots for fly fishermen may be the sport's latest endangered species; bans on felt soles seem to be picking up steam. What will fly fishermen be wearing five years from now?

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The latest ban has appeared in Alaska's southeast region - a ban that could easily be extended to cover the entire state (from the Juneau Empire):

A new ban on felt-soled wading shoes is set to take place next year as Juneau fishermen take to freshwater streams with fly rods in hand.

The ban is meant to keep nasty fish diseases from creeping into waters on the waders of traveling fishermen.

A proposal to expand the ban from the Southeast region statewide will be considered by the state Board of Fisheries at its March meeting in Anchorage.

...

Whirling disease is just one communicable fish disease of concern. Didymo, an algae also called rock snot, mud snails and zebra mussels are others that can kill all the fish in a stream.

"The waters where fly fishermen tend to fish and wade have become a map of the spread of these problems," Vinsel said.

Ouch. Fly fishermen seem to bearing the brunt of the criticism over the spread of invasives - as are felt soles.

The extent of the blame that can be laid on felt soles isn't really all that clear, and one of the cruel ironies of a felt sole ban is that fly fishermen - thinking their rubber-soled wading boots and waders were now "safe" - might actually become less vigilant about cleaning.

These bans are aimed traveling fly fishermen, which only makes sense; the stuff already in the river isn't the problem.

The stuff from someone else's river is.

You'll Be Practicing Safe Wading Sooner Rather Than Later

Regardless of the science for or against, felt soles probably will be banned in many locations, which is one of the reasons I fired up last year's rubber-soled wading boot test (the biggest reason was my own desire for long-lived soles, which makes me cheap as well as green).

I'm generally happy with the grip provided by rubber soles, but a lot of commentors on the Underground weren't - and several wrote to say they were sticking with felt.

Your choice, and it's possible you'll enjoy the felt option for years to come. And it's also possible you won't.

Anglers who are fly fishing in Alaska - a popular destination - may find themselves scrambling for a felt replacement sooner than they think.

Fortunately, I'm only a pair of fishing trips away from wrapping up wading boot test, though few surprises seem to loom.

I really like the sticky rubber Patagonia Riverwalkers on small streams - and even on the Upper Sacramento River (where others have been less than enthralled).

Overall, the Simms, Korker and Patagonia rubber soles offer advantages, but seem unsuited from anything tougher than the Rouge or Upper Sac - and they're real deathtraps on the McCloud or Pit.

My unanswered questions remain around the rubber soles with studs screwed in, which represent the unfinished part of the test.

I screwed a dozen studs into one sole of the Simms Headwater wading boots, and yes - it gripped better than the plain sole.

Better enough? More testing is needed.

Plus, Orvis has hinted at the arrival of a fabulous new pair of studded rubber soles, and we'll take a look at those as soon as we see them.

For now, those who tend toward indecision might want to consider a pair of the Korkers Guide Boots, which offer interchangeable soles in everything from studded felt to studded rubber, and plain varieties too.

They might be just the ticket for the traveling fly fisherman - who's in a restricted area on day, a drift boat the next, and hiking into the backcountry the next.

Baby needs a new pair of boots, Tom Chandler
Destinations
Calgary is a modern, cosmopolitan city that has succeeded in maintaining some of its old world charm while blending contemporary architecture and amenities to its urban vocabulary. ... moreRanked as the third largest municipality in Canada, it is also home to the second highest number of corporate headquarters of the country’s 800 largest companies. Among its many distinctions, the Elbow River and the Bow River join together downtown at the site of Fort Calgary, forming an integral part of the city’s history and character.

No stranger to the outdoor life, Calgary was the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympic Games, an honor achieved in 1988. An affinity for outdoor sports and living may possibly be attributed to the fact that the city rests in a transition zone between the Canadian Rockies foothills and the Canadian Prairies. The city itself actually lies within the foothills of the Alberta Parkland Natural Region and the Grasslands Natural Region, habitat areas protected by the government.

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Strategically positioned between two mountain ranges, the Livingstone River is considered one of Alberta’s top cutthroat streams. It’s only 25 miles long but fishing is accessible ... moreand high quality for most of its run. Guides tend to favor the scenic canyon section that is known for its amazing deep green pools. Regulated as a catch-and-release-only river, fish are very abundant, most notably cutthroat trout.

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Game Fish Opportunities:
Famous for its rainbow trout, the Crowsnest River begins at Crowsnest Lake in the Canadian Rockies near the border with British Columbia. It weaves past Crowsnest Mountain and through ... moreseveral towns before cascading over Lundbreck Falls and flowing into the Oldman Reservoir. The upper river above Blairmore meanders through beautiful alpine meadows with solid, grassy banks and predictable flows.

Below Blairmore there is a short stint of Stillwater created by what was to be a “temporary” blockage built in 1903. Anglers here will spot highly educated, big fish that tease you with a glance and disappear between Turtle Mountain boulders the size of trucks.

The most prized water on this blue ribbon, spring fed, freestone river, is between the towns of Bellvue and Lundbreck Falls. Here the river lies in a valley walled off by tall stands of evergreen, aspen and willow trees. From Lundbreck Falls to the Oldman Reservoir the landscape opens, the river widens and strong winds from the Crowsnest Pass register their mark on misshapen trees. In addition to rainbows, large numbers of cutthroat and bull trout appear on this stretch.

Observers and guides account for the river’s productivity by its proliferous hatches. Especially worth noting is the Salmon fly hatch in the last week of May. Named for their orange colored throats, these salmon flies migrate to the river before entering dry land, creating a wonderful opportunity for anglers.
Makhabn is a Peigan tribal name meaning “river where the bow reeds grow.” When settlers began to arrive in the area the river became known as the Bow, although Big Fish River may have ... morebeen a more appropriate name since this is the reason why the Bow is so famous. Anglers in pursuit of 20+ inch trout need to put this on their bucket list, for the wild rainbows and browns in this river have one of the fastest growing rates to be found on any river system in today’s world.

The Bow rises in the Canadian Rockies inside Banff National Park near the foot of Mount Gordon and flows from glacial Bow Lake southeastward through lush mountain terrain. After passing past the towns of Lake Louise and Banff, the river exits the park and heads eastward and flows through Calgary. Its journey continues for a total of 365 miles before joining the Oldman River and forming the South Saskatchewan River. 

While the river is open year-round for fishing, the optimal time to fish is after the spring runoff from mountain snowmelt. Runoff usually occurs in late May or early June, and in a typical year the river is ready to fish by late June. Most guides agree that the months of July, August, September and October are prime for catching trophy trout.

Downstream from Calgary are 40, highly coveted river miles of great trout fishing. This blue ribbon water is where the really big trout are concentrated and where snagging a trophy is most probable. Most parts of the river are not easily waded, so most guides suggest floating or drifting. If you hanker for a wilderness experience and decide to wade or fish from the banks, tread softly. Wildlife is abundant and active; bear spray is highly recommended.
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Fly Fishing the American River will leave even the most advanced fly fisherman wanting more. That is why a knowledgable American River Fly Fishing Guide will not only educate you on ... morethe river sytem and its species, but show you the ins and outs, when, where, why, how and with what. Whether you are swinging for steelhead on the Lower American River or dry fly fishing the South Fork American River, you will be pleasantly pleased with the results.

The American River system is where you can start out fishing the Lower American River for shad, striper or steelhead while wet wading on a summer morning, then go eat lunch, get back on the road shoot up hwy 50 and within 45 minutes, have 30 fish on the South Fork American River fishing drys. Fishing the American River is one that can satisfy any fly fishing crave. The Lower American River is known for its shad, striper, steelhead and salmon runs. Shad start to enter the river in late spring, with some entering as early as April, the fishing starts to pick up in late May and early June, with July being the best. Even though the migration has ended the fishing can be great on those late July summer nights. If you have never fought a shad on a fly rod, I highly suggest it, they don’t call it the poor man’s tarpon for nothing. There are two methods used when shad fishing, one is swinging flys specifically tied for shad, the other is drifting flies under an indicator. Either technique is productive when used properly.

As far as stripers go, there are some resident fish in the river system year round, but can be extremely hard to catch due to the lack of numbers. When the weather warms so does the water as well as the Striper migration. The stripers start entering the river in early April and they are in the river system through September. Your best numbers in the lower part of the river is between April and May. June is a little slower due to the amount of shad that are in the river system and the stripers actively feeding on them, but once the shad are gone the fishing really heats up from late July through August, September and sometimes even October depending on the weather and water conditions. The best technique used for stripers is by stripping or swinging clousers with sink tips, full sinks and shoot head lines.

Now for the Steelhead, half pounders can be year round, but are mostly caught from late summer to spring. They can be caught using many techniques, from swinging to nymphing and even throwing drys. The best months to be on the water for half pounders are August through October along with March April and May. Don’t be discouraged by the word half pounder, this was the original run before the Eel and Mad river strain (winter run steelhead) was introduced in the 70's. These guys can put up a real fight for their size and most half pounders are wild fish ranging from 16-22" some even pushing 5 pounds and they are always full of spunk. The winter run doesn’t start showing up until the beginning of October, this is also peak time for the salmon run. The winter run steelhead that are on the American came from the Eel and Mad River systems, that was introduce by DFG to protect the steelhead population after the dams where e rected. These fish can be caught throughout the length of river from mid October all the way through March, sometimes even April. These fish range anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds. As far as fishing techniques goes, these big boys can be caught with the same techniques used on their half brothers, just scaled up a bit. If you want to get into steelhead and don't want to travel severals hours and possibly get a big goose egg, the American River is where its at. Not only is it our back yard, but we have 30+ years fishing this river system and we know where these fish hold throughout the year. Come enjoy some backyard fishing on a great river like the American river.

-Brian-
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Trouts N' at Outfitters is based in southwest Montana. They offer trips on the Madison, Big Hole, Jeferson, Missouri, Ruby and Yellowstone rivers.
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AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

50 comments
I am new to flyfishing and have been listening about the felt issue. why not just nuke your boots in a micro wave for 15 sec if they'll fit...
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[...] Banning felt soled-wading boots from our waters isn’t the clear-cut concept some would suggest, or at least you’d believe so given the storm of comments spawned by my last post on the subject (See: Bans on Felt Soled Wading Boots Gathering Steam: How Long Until You're Wearing Rubber (And Pr...) [...]
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[...] topic of felt soles and bans led to a spirited debate on the Underground, and while the necessity of anti-felt legislation is debatable, the future will likely include bans [...]
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The most recent invasives protocol was developed by Oregon State in conjunction with the USFWS. They published a PSA about 6 weeks ago http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs/g10001.pdf Freezing, drying, or soaking in quaternary ammonia compounds (active ingredient in Formula 409 degreaser/disinfectant) are the three suggestions. "QUATS" seem to be effective against most, if not all invasives ... more found to date. CA Fish and Game requires all their contractors to freeze their gear when possible, or in the field soak their gear with SPARQUAT 265. Sparquat and it's relative, Quat 128 are the "net dip" that has become the gold standard in the aquaculture industry. You can order the stuff through industrial cleaning supply outlets. I've been using the stuff for 3 years and have noticed tiny fissures and checks in the hard rubber on my boot counters. Nothing worse than you get when wading the Umpqua.
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Sadly, it's nowhere near that simple. The product that kills one invasive (like Didymo) can prove ineffective against another. Some - like New Zealand Mud Snails - are very hard to kill with liquids (they can stay closed tight for weeks). Then there's the matter of everyone soaking their felt soles in something toxic (let's say bleach) and then wandering into the river, so suddenly you've got a fair ... more amount of deadly new crap chewing up the river. I've seen news of a didymo treatment from New Zealand, but cleaning/drying [or freezing] seems to be the ticket right now - tough to do when you're on a road trip.
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This topic is a bit like the Noise from model aircraft worries (we added a muffler). Solution why not simply spray the boots etc with a disinfectant/ fungaside problem over. Surely some smart dude could come up with a simple mix?
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On Friday, March 19th, the Alaska Board of Fisheries voted unanimously to adopt a statewide ban on the use of felt soled waders and boots by anglers beginning in 2012. The Southeast Alaska ban set for 2011 has been delayed to coincide with the statewide ban.
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Dave, As with most legal prohibitions, those who are unaffected by denial of use often heartily endorse such legislation. According to the original article "Felt-soled waders provide good traction for standing on wet river stones. They are not that popular in Juneau because they still slip on the glacial silt and slick mud prevalent here. " So, felt soles are not that popular, nor considered necessary ... more to safe-footing in Alaska. An easy sell. However, I have a certain belief that your attempts to prohibit felt soles will meet tremendous opposition in those areas where felt soles are important to wading safety. Some of us will still demand logic behind our laws. You mention a War of which this is but one battle. I assume that the next battle will be to make wading in the rivers illegal, as that would be far more effective than either a felt ban or your inspect/clean/dry campaign. You haven't mentioned who the enemy is in your war but I can assume that since the attacks are made upon anglers, that you consider us the enemy. Please, therefore, don't take umbrage if many fishermen view you (i.e., Trout Unlimited) in the same light.
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Up in Anchorage at the AK Board of Fish meeting where they are considering Proposal 184, an expansion of the SE AK felt sole wader ban to the entire state. So far, the testimony has largely been in favor of this action. There have been some comments opposing the ban, but even the opposition recognizes the threat of aquatic invasive species to their unparalleled trout, salmon, and steelhead fisheries. ... more Most opposers suggest that more needs to be done than just eliminate felt. VERY true. Felt is is just the beginning. Wars are won a battle at a time, and the elimination of felt and the adoption of inspect, clean, and dry clean angling techniques is a fight we CAN and SHOULD win.
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Bob, You seem miffed. Hey, we are all on the same side re: Didymo... humans vs plants. Your statement that the entire pledge is one line ignores the page defining the terms, such as "Dry." (see http://www.stopans.org/PLEDGE/index.htm ) [quote] "DRY - a thorough drying of your equipment will kill any live invaders you may have picked up. If you are counting on drying to eliminate any hitchhikers you ... more must make sure that every bit of hidden moisture is gone before you can feel that you are safe."[/quote] In NZ they understand that during wet weather drying takes a long time. In some climates, e.g., Pacific Northwest rainforest, drying to ambient moisture is still too wet. Moisture meters are not expensive, but don't stick the pins in anything that should be waterproof : ) http://www.amazon.com/HQRP-2-pin-Firewood-Moisture-Meter/dp/B000MHQZV4 So the Pledge advocates "thorough drying" and removing "every bit of hidden moisture" and to dry “to the best of their ability”. Well, waiting forty-eight hours is not beyond the ability of anyone - you don't need to babysit the boots, just wait. If you wish to rewrite the pledge to say "whatever is convenient to you" then that is another matter. As the pledge is currently written and the verbs defined, my statements are accurate. Again, by saying people should not travel with boots and waders you may save us some money in purchasing, though we still incur costs in renting. However, we would also need to rent daily different fly reels, line, backing, rods, nets, vests, wading staff, and flies under the simple real-life fishing trip I envisioned. You draw an interesting parallel with Catch and Release. Yes, Catch and Release was initiated for the profit of the lodge/fishing/guiding/flyshop industry and pushed by a Madison Avenue ex-pat lodge owner. Are you suggesting that the felt sole ban is also being promoted for the profit of the fly fishing industry and also, as in C&R, using the fishery as a "cover?" Very interesting...
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Overmywaders, I would really like to know what your problem is that you purposely mislead people as to what the Clean Angling Pledge is? For the sake of those who have not read or taken the pledge, let me provide the full pledge: I pledge to Inspect, Clean and Dry my equipment to the best of my ability after every use. That is it, the entire pledge. We are asking people to voluntarily clean their ... more gear "to the best of their ability". Yet you accuse me of demanding that people follow the New Zealand protocols, ignoring the actual cleaning advice that we publish at http://www.stopans.org/How_Clean.htm. Of course, the pledge is a personal statement of support that is given on personal terms. If you consider strictly following the New Zealand recommendations as being what you personally believe is to the best of your ability then you would expect yourself to do so. Me, on the other hand, I ask people to learn about the risks and take the actions they consider to be appropriate. I have already posted that I believe that we should never travel with our boots and waders so if you want to beat me up over the cost of renting boots have at it. However, to accuse me of demanding things that you dream up shows that you have some agenda that does not include the truth. We believe that most anglers want to protect the resource and will take action to do so. If you do not believe that it is reasonable to ask fishermen to clean their gear "to the best of their ability" then it is obvious that we have little in common and that neither of us will ever convince the other. This whole argument is starting to sound like another one that took place about 30 years ago. Fishery managers began making recommendations that most fly fishers recognized to be sound for the future of the sport. However, others cried "No Science" or "You are destroying my opportunity to enjoy fishing". Those in opposition made up all kinds of stories and called people lots of names. They tried everything to stop the movement including law suits. What was this divisive issue that would ruin fishing? Catch & Release. Who says that history does not repeat itself? Bob
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Amen to that “Until the issues of wading shoe uppers and entrapment within the boot are resolved, there is no reason to make a switch to a slippery soled SOB that spreads as much as felt.”I have heard that argument before and it's getting old. The interior and uppers dry much quicker than felt. Within 24-48 hours after cleaning, my boots are completely dry. However felt soles can take up to month ... more to dry. If you can't wait to 24-48 hours before fishing different piece of water, buy a second pair of boots, it is not huge investment considering the value our streams. If we don't take proper care of our streams who will? (Quote)
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Bob, I checked your http://stopans.org site and read the pledge. Quite inspiring. Now let's look at the financial cost of someone honoring that pledge. A hypothetical fly fisherman from Cortland, NY, has taken your pledge. Now he takes a week's vacation to fly to Montana and fish his way around the West Yellowstone area. He has determined to fish a different stream each day but believes he can get ... more by with his usual gear and use a medium-action six weight rod, with appropriate reel and line on all the varied water. However, the angler finds that after his first day of fishing his gear isn't dry, and if he goes by the New Zealand recommendations he will need to wait for forty-eight hours AFTER the gear is dry before using it again. So, he goes out and buys a new set of waders, new wading boots, new net, new fly line/reel/backing, fly rod (the cork got soaked), fishing vest (which got wet when he waded deep) and a new wading staff (folding, the bungee cord got soaked), plus a new batch of flies. The third day he has to make a similar purchase because the original forty-eight hours still have twelve hours to go. So, for a five day trip, the honest "Inspect/Clean/Dry pledge" fisherman has bought two additional complete fly outfits and flies and now must have them shipped home at great expense. How many of us can afford this? And yet, anything less would violate the pledge and possibly spread Didymo. And you are concerned with mandating the soles of our boots!? If we sign your pledge we won't be able to afford boots. : )
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I grew up fishing in waders before felt soles, or any awareness of aquatic invasive species (AIS) of the kind that very likely cause Didymo, whirling disease et al. Yet, being aware of the potential correlation, I'm mystified by the concern expressed at banning the use of any potentially harmful technology. I'm not a big fan of regulation either, yet, sometimes you just have to regulate people into ... more doing the right thing. Felt soles... are, face it, a very small thing, but enough small things add up to an effect. Anything that shows potential to reduce the spread of disease should be mandated. If this is an economic issue, it's a poor one. If it's a safety issue... quite honestly, balance (which is reduced... unless we engage in balance strengthening exercises as we grow older) is a bigger factor to your safety in a stream, than your felt soled wader. To play in the fields (& streams) of the Lord, the lesson's always been... do so responsibly, or pay the price. Its a steep... if your wrong wouldn't you say?
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Dave, I feel, as does KB, that good science should be the handmaiden of any fishery efforts, especially when the balance is between the safety of the fishery and that of fishermen. Being often unbalanced myself, especially on smooth rocks midstream, this is an issue of great gravity to me. I wish the gravity was less, it would allow me to be upright more often, but there you have it. We don't have ... more the ability to regulate common courtesy, common decency, or common sense. Does that mean that we should ignore the impact the many players, most fishermen - lacking one of the aforementioned - will have on the spread of Didymo? By removing my felted feet, will you concurrently be able to magically disinfect the army of fishermen in a rush to get to the pool before their buddies; who leave their neoprene waders inside-out, damp, in the trunk of their car between fishing trips; who decide suddenly that the water level is too high at the river they fished last night, so they will go a few miles away to another watershed - without drying their gear for 48 hours - just this once? Those are a few of the millions of seemingly harmless scenarios that could, and do, spread Didymo. There is nothing you can do about it. Choosing one garment as the culprit when the real villain is just plain old human nature is tremendously shortsighted. Didymo will spread. It will probably spread more slowly if we all do our part in practical cleanliness. However, it is inexorably on the move and life will out. Consider it just another boreal migrant like the coyote - Didymo started in British Columbia, it is not a newcomer here. Armadillos are heading North, possums are almost to Canada. As the poet said "The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it. " TU's (the other TU) manipulation of science may ingratiate them for a time with Simms, et al, and make them appear heroically concerned - at the un-felt expense of stumbling fools like me - but it will not alter the outcome. Do you seriously wish the likes of poor KB to flounder and founder in his septic river with feckless, feltless feet simply to gloss the mantle of TU and bring in a few more dollars to TU Washington headquarters? Oh, the humanity! You are asking sacrifices only of the aged and infirm - true believers in felt soles. Usually the casualties of war are the young and able, so this is a new twist. Why not share the sacrifice? Have all FFing guides sign a pledge that they will never take a sport out without ensuring that all the sport's gear has been properly disinfected. Perhaps the executives of TU could offer 10% of their entertainment expense budget to Didymo research? Other ideas?
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For some reason, my comments don't want to post, but I'll try again, and if they don't, I'll ask Tom to put them up for me. Regarding the Utah DWR request to TU to seek the elimination of felt soled waders and boots, this was a letter and didn't cite specific studies. It was from an experienced fish health professional who has worked on whirling disease and other fish health issues for over 30 years, ... more and it was based on the evidence that felt traps and carries all sort of sediment, plants, and critters. Now, I'll say something heretical here, and state that I don't think eliminating felt is that big of a deal. I will state, too, that I am not personally in favor of regulatory action. I would prefer the angler/user/consumer to drive the market which, by the way, is exactly what is going on now. The selection of alternative soled boots is much larger today than even just a couple of years ago, and more models are being added all the time. Eliminating felt is certainly not going to solve this AIS problem, and there is a lot more to do, but it is a positive step in the right direction.
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Bob, We're not at all far apart - in spirit you and I are on the same page. My concern is that a felt ban is a drastic action, and I want to be reassured that some thought went into this decision. Science is never neat. It's a series of small steps forward, where conclusions are drawn after extensive analysis. In reviewing the body of evidence that I've found on the subject, and the additional materials ... more you've provided, I don't see us being anywhere near the conclusive stage of the science. I'm not comfortable with the board of Director's at TU inserting themselves into the scientific process, just as I'm not comfortable with Senator Diane Fienstein or the Bush administration rewritting NOAA opinions on California salmon. The entire subject is completely fascinating to me. Once you get down to the single cell organism there's absolutely no defense possible short of closing the fishery. Even then it may still spread via the damp feet of some moose or Osprey. So us anglers take what steps we can and hope for the best. The questions raised in the research are also completely baffling. New Zealand scientists scratch their heads as to why Didymo can completely choke the main stem of a river, and leave tributaries untouched, in Canada massive and unexplained blooms - and then sudden die offs - leaving small traces in areas previously infested, but no where like the scale of the previous carpet. When you have so much diversity and so many unanswered questions, I don't percieve that it's prudent to ban graphite fishing rods - or make the duck season year round - just because they're potential vectors of infestation. Banning felt is a drastic course of action befitting hard empirical data, I feel if you lack that data you're premature in its ban. Even as we speak, those precious lock doors into the Great Lakes are held open while litigants from seven or eight states protest or defend their possible closure. They are up against it - with a similar problem, and it doesn't appear that anything good will come of it. The federal government is glacial in action - and will act much too late to help the Great Lakes. While TU and yourself do excellent work, none of these inconsistencies were in your hard copy. It was presented as "if you care about fish do this now" - and we trusted you. I think you have plenty of hard evidence that anglers are bad and transmit all kinds of invasives doing what we love. I think that Didymo and Whirling disease can - and is transmitted by wading anglers. None of this is under debate. What I'm debating is whether you had enough science to ban felt, and whether it's ban will have any measurable impact on the spread of invasives. Because you cannot quantify how much benefit there will be (because the scientists don't even know yet) you're content making a significant decision on my behalf without having any numbers to back it up. ... and as I peel back the layers of that decision process, I find the same quasi-science that PETA uses or the tree spiking Earth First movement, and dammit - we're supposed to serious about conservation and stewardship of precious resources - you have weakened our credibility and it'll be exposed in any significant litigation or legislation that we require from the general public. ... because they get wet too.
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KBarton10, Thanks for taking the time to read the papers I posted links to. I encourage you to continue to investigate the issue and continue to advocate your opinions. Good debate can only help us all and you can only debate well when you are fully informed. It's interesting to hear your response to the papers. Since I do not see any value in picking nits with you about someone else's research I ... more am not going to get into any of the specifics. Rather, a couple of general comments. It seems to me that your stance is that until we have 100% certainty of how every invasive is transported to every new water we should do nothing. It would sure be great to have all of the answers to every potential scenario that is imagined by anyone but that is not realistic. One thing I have always believed is that a significant outcome of most research is a new set of questions and there are always going to be things that we can question about anything. Unfortunately, it is very rare when we ever have the resources to answer anything fully so we are left in a place where we can learn enough that the vast preponderance of data and expertise says we know enough to take action. I believe we are past that point with felt and you believe we are not yet there. This is they type of argument that takes place constantly among scientists and is rarely observed by the public. Looking at the specifics of this issue, at the 2006 International Didymo Symposium there was considerable debate among the researchers about what the significant unanswered questions were about boots. The official papers from the conference reference boot studies that all recognized needed more work. Subsequently, the New Zealand research was done to fill in some of the gaps. After this work was completed, the research community collectively decided that they were convinced that felt is a particular problem. Currently, the scientific and management communities believe that the information available is conclusive and I don't know of any additional research in these areas. So I guess that I will continue to say the research is adequate and you will say it is lacking. Just a quick sidebar, If you (or anyone else) believes that more research is needed please speak loudly to the political leaders who are not providing adequate financial resources for this effort. It is almost impossible to get funding for research into the more practical aspects of invasive species management. There are lots of studies that researchers would like to do but there is no money. Back to my main points: I guess that what is really at play here is a vast difference between us in philosophies. I believe that I have a personal obligation to do everything I can to protect the resources that I love. I believe that if there is any chance that I might be the person spreading invasives I will do whatever it takes. If that means I have to miss on the chance to catch some fish because I cannot safely wade to a particular place I am willing to give up some fishing to protect the resource. For me it does not matter at all if birds or wildlife can spread the problem. I have no control over them but I do control my own actions. I know, without a doubt, that it is possible for me to spread invasives on my gear so I will do whatever I can to reduce that risk. I feel that I owe too much to the resource, the conservationists and anglers who have protected the resources we enjoy and to future generations for me to risk damage just for my convenience or pleasure. I also want to come clean and say that I am not a big advocate for felt bans because I do not believe they go far enough. As stated earlier, I advocate for a return to boot footed waders that are specifically designed to shed invasives. I do believe that getting rid of felt is a good thing but I don't think it goes far enough. I readily admit that I am in the minority but I also believe that you should never travel with waders and should alway
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Now we're getting somewhere. Dave, If you're the catalyst behind the TU posture, it's plain that the Utah division of wildlife presented you with some mighty damning evidence - potentially quantifying how much of a risk felt soles presented ... Can you share that document, as it's become the Rosetta Stone that eludes me despite all my research - how much of the issue are due to felt soles, versus ... more wet waders, damp boots (of any sole type), migratory waterfowl, boaters, and all other pollination vectors. Despite all the learned treatises on the subject, and scientists from a half dozen continents studying the problem, none have hazarded a guess as to the degree that our shoe bottoms present, I can only guess that the paper that motivated you to such a drastic course of action - must have presented some hard facts ... Because if it didn't - and that research has not been completed, you've jumped the gun on your ban. As many scientists have cited migratory waterfowl as potential carriers of the Didymo diatome - and Whirling Disease spores can be eaten and fully digested - to emerge unscathed by an animals digestive tract, are you going to ask for a ban on Cul De Canard because a duck's bottom may be so afflicted? If you would be so kind, post a link to the document so we can all breathe easier.
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Here is a link to an older (Spaulding, 2007?) distribution map of Didymo in North America. - http://www.overmywaders.com/didymo.jpg The map is from this study: http://www.epa.gov/Region8/water/didymosphenia/White%20Paper%20Jan%202007.pdf Note the infestations seem to concentrate on well-known trout rivers, not boating rivers, not rabbit swamps, not duck puddles, nor boar wallows -- just pricey trout ... more streams. "We have met the enemy and they is us." - Pogo
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Although this thread was about rubber vs felt soles in terms of safety and functionality, the issue of Didymo spread is real. The only way to really combat the spread of Didymo is to eliminate all possible human sources of transmission. I am moving, therefore, for all clothing to be removed at least one hundred yards from a river before entering the water. Obviously human hair can transport a cell ... more of Didymo, therefore bikini waxing is not sufficient - all body hair to which a single cell of Didymo may cling must be shaven or depilated before fishing. Further, all body cavities/crevices must be examined and flushed before leaving the river. This can be demanded and/or performed by any fellow fisherman/woman who suspects another is harboring a cell of Didymo in some body cavity. Some might consider these policies onerous, but they are the logical extension of assigning discrete causation to any one element of clothing, e.g., felt soles, rather than the acts of the angler himself. What we haven't shared is how NZ expects fly fishermen to clean and dry their gear. [quote] All rods, reels, fishing lines, flies, tackle boxes, nets, clothing and other equipment should be thoroughly soaked in a decontamination solution. Alternatively, use the hot water treatment or freeze gear until solid. Allow longer time for absorbent items. After treatment, items may then be rinsed with water that has come from a town water supply. Drying is an acceptable alternative method, provided that all components (such as backing lines, nets and clothing) are completely dry to the touch, inside and out, and then left dry for at least another 48 hours before entering a different waterway. If you do not want to decontaminate your gear, you should restrict use to a single waterway. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests...ecific#fishing [emphasis theirs] [/quote] Now, for those who wish to point at felt soles - because they don't use/need them and can appear virtuous by denying them to others - I ask you - did you dry your fly line backing, nets, flies, and clothing, and then leave them dry for another 48 hours before going to a different river? Did you freeze all the flies you used, or all those which might have become wet? If not freezing, did you dump them in Chlorox? Did you disassemble your fly reel after letting it get in the water and spray it with disenfectant? How did your neoprene waders and stocking feet handle the Chlorox? Did you soak your $3500.00 vintage Payne 97 with disenfectant after each trip - how did that beautiful "orange-peel-scented" varnish like the decontaminating solution, what does the cork grip look like now? Fly fishermen are the primary vector of long-range Didymo spread, hands down. The problem then is not one article of safety clothing - felts - but the entire person. We can go even farther and determine, according to the maps and stats, that two "classes" of fly fishermen have been most effective in spreading Didymo - those with quite a bit of spare change who can afford to fly from one big-name trout stream to another thousands of miles away and... fly fishing guides who follow the seasons. Is it just coincidence that Didymo was first found in New England by a FFing guide just below his stretch of the Conn. River (prime trout water) and that the same guide regularly guided in NZ? If we are going to be cautious, cautious enough to endanger the life/health of those of us who need felt soles, then certainly also we should ban all inter-state travel by FFing guides and wealthy FFers for the purposes of trout fishing. Statistics don't lie! (They make lying a lot easier.)
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Tom, Thanks for taking the time to make the post for me. I've tried a new approach to the post deal, and we'll see if this works. I told Tom that I will be traveling to Anchorage on the 15th of March to participate in the AK Fish and Game Commission hearings re expanding the SE Alaska (Bristol Bay) felt sole ban to the entire state. It will be interesting, and I'll post something from AK. And yes, ... more I will go fishing while I am up there.....
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The following posted for Dave Kumlien of the Whirling Disease Foundation and TU - the Underground doesn't seem willing to accept his comments when posted directly (hell, I even tried). ******** Thanks to Bob W. for all the information and to all TU'ers for their thoughtful comments, both pro and con. I was the author of the Trout Unlimited (the other TU) policy on the elimination of felt soles. One ... more of the goals of this policy was to get the previously apathetic angling community engaged in the aquatic invasive species (AIS) issue which poses a serious threat to our trout, salmon, and steelhead. Arguments re the "strength" of the science behind the threat of felt aside, there IS scientific evidence that felts are capable of moving AIS, and the impetus for the decision to pursue the elimination of felt soles came from discussion and communication with numerous fish health professionals in state and federal agencies. The catalyst for the decision to pursue the policy was a letter and formal request from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources asking Trout Unlimited to pursue the elimination of felt soled waders and boots. It is encouraging to see the thoughtful debates about felt and the attention many anglers are now paying to the AIS issue. One of the key points to understand in this issue is that these policies and recommendations are aimed at REDUCING the risk of moving AIS, not eliminating it. Many folks are focused on risk elimination, and frankly, without curtailing the behavior or activity i.e. no fishing/no boating, risk elimination is NOT possible. Nobody, including me, suggests that we quit fishing and boating. So, we must do what we can, and one of things we can do is to quit using felts and to adopt the clean angling practices Bob Wiltshire and others have espoused in their comments. Doing nothing and waiting for some undefined and possibly unattainable, final, unequivocal "scientific" proof is a HIGH RISK position, and none of us want to put our precious cold water fisheries at risk. Finally, through my job with TU, my personal fishing, and as a 34 year Montana fly fishing outfitter, I spend as much time as anyone in the rivers in my waders, and I have spent as much, if not more, time than anyone testing out these new alternative soled boots under a variety of the most difficult wading conditions anywhere, and I will say that the "new" rubber soles with studs will provide traction equal to any felt soled boot. Also, I do a lot of drift boat fishing, and my accommodation for studs in my boat is to put some of that "horse trailer" reinforced rubber mat in the bottom of the boat in the fishing and rowing positions.
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Bob, Thanks for the links to the documents, I've had a chance to read through those I've not yet read, and particularly liked the Master's thesis as it dealt almost exclusively with waders, boots, and the issues with each. First, I'd like to compliment you on your persistence - and reiterate that I'm on your side. It's hard to imagine given my continued protests, but as I get to finally use all of ... more that science I snored through in college - this exercise has been most rewarding. The first document is a study of Whirling Disease and angler traffic in Montana. While many of the facts are new; grams of sediment carried by a typical angler on a boot and leg, etc - the extraction of whirling disease spores is apparently still in its infancy (soil-based spores) - so a great deal of really good evidence cannot be gathered. That's just fine - as diatomes can penetrate nearly everything - and I'd suspect that we're covered with the little SOB's. Quote: Although speculation exists that the parasite is transported among drainages in the environmentally resistant spore stage (Bartholomew et al. 2005), little is known about its dissemination (Kent et al. 2001). ... and therein lies my entire complaint. Your "proof positive" document contains wonderful science, only its author (the scientist) is the first to admit the science community ... well ... still isn't sure. But you are. Document Two is deflated somewhat by document Four. Document two explains how Didymo is native to Vancouver Island and has been for at least 100 years, talks about spikes in didymo mats in other rivers on the island, followed by their equally mysterious decline, and then summarizes. The graph of angler days versus Didymo outbreaks is flawed. After the author discusses the popularity of felt soled shoes and their rise on the rivers in the late 80's. Quote: However the pattern of didymo spread among rivers on Vancouver Island correlates with the activity of fishermen and the commercial introduction and widespread use of felt-soled waders in the late 1980s. To wit, the graph shows its meteoric climb occurred in 1982-83 - and the section marked "rise in popularity of felt soled waders" occurs six years later on a graph that spiked to that level (with no retreat) in 1982. Quote: All of the evidence suggesting that recreational fishermen have played a role in the movement of didymo regionally and globally is circumstantial. Document 4 reiterates that claim; Quote: Bothwell et al. (2006) presented circumstantial evidence linking the rise in popularity of felt-soled wading boots with the start of the expansion of D. geminata's global range in the early 1980s. Document 4 was the good doctors in New Zealand - who I have little issue with other than noting they couldn't scrub enough diatomes onto felt to permeate the sole, so they used a dye to simulate what the diatomes would do if stuffed into a crevasse. ... and by total cell count they recovered more live cells (not just Didymo, all algae) off the top of the boot then off the sole. Hmmm. This kind of science is my entire issue, it's incomplete - the author's say so in their documents, yet it's presented to the angling community as righteous fact. Document 4 from the NZ Government says, "migratory waterfowl should not be overlooked " - yet as evidenced by some of the other responses above, that message is not getting out at all. ...and document 3 only addressed how to kill the beasties, and lacks anything other than methods tried. http://singlebarbed.com/2009/08/10/singlebarbed-says-wheres-the-beef-in-the-absence-of-hard-science-are-we-being-railroaded-into-a-felt-sole-ban-that-may-be-negligible-factor/ The documents cited in last year's post describe disagreement within the scientific community and that additional study is warranted. I recognize the difficulty of appearing wishy-washy and how you'd be ignored if the threat doesn't appear conclusive and life threa
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It's simple; research shows that people are mostly likely the culprits responsible for transporting invasive species and diseases. People that fish are not the only candidates for spreading these pests, recreation boaters are highly suspect too. We CAN HELP by inspecting, cleaning, and drying our gear. Cleaning and drying our boats and fishing gear will kill whirling disease and didymo. Boaters need ... more to drain, clean, and dry their boats too. As for fishing public, your boots (uppers and laces included) waders, leaders, and flies if cleaned of mud & aquatic vegetation and left to COMPLETELY dry before the next use, will kill whirling disease and didymo. If you have a second pair of boots (even felts) it would go a long way in preventing transmission to our waters.
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KBarton10, Let me take your comments one at a time. KBarton10: The rubber proponents are attempting to ramrod the issue through the industry like religious zealots, and will not countenance anyone questioning their work or ambitions. That's a warning sign for the rest of us – because you lack the completed science to back this assertion. The problem with this statement is that the science does exist ... more and has been reviewed and accepted by scientists around the world. Just because you have not read the research papers does not mean that the science doesn't exist. Here are links to four science papers that deal with this issue. If you have read these papers and have problems with the science please provide me specific references and the basis on which you dispute the information. You claim the science is missing - don't just make the claim. Tell me what is wrong with the science. http://etd.lib.montana.edu/etd/2007/gates/GatesK0507.pdf http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/studies/didymo-blooms.pdf http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/didymo/didymo-decon-feb-05-rev-aug-06.pdf http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/didymo/didymo-survival-dec-06-rev-may-07.pdf KBarton10: You dismiss the issue of laces and tongues – and wading insoles like it doesn't exist. The California DFG study (which is the only significant work I've seen on waders and boots) found ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the boots containing insoles carried New Zealand Mud Snails. Why are you not insisting on their being banned as well? I have to ask how you got the notion that I am not calling for the elimination of these boot parts? I have always argued for eliminating separate waders and boots and have written editorials advocating the same. I just did not make that a focus of my post. The simple fact is that there are too many places to trap invasives in these systems and the best boots for preventing spread are smooth boot-foot waders with rubber feet. Unfortunately, the boot companies are not currently making this type of product but I continue to lobby them to do so and continue to speak publicly that we have to get rid of boots if we want to do our best. The main reason I addressed felt and not other boot parts in my comments is that the other boot materials can be disinfected but felt cannot (in any practical fashion). This is why felt is being singled out as a special problem. Will getting rid of felt stop the problem? Absolutely not, and that is why I continue to push for boot foot waders. The reason I speak up about felt is that there are too many people who make persuasive sounding arguments that there is no science to support a felt ban. That is just flat wrong and I try to correct the public record when I see people expounding on the supposed lack of science and the railroad job that anglers are facing. I have no problem with people advocating for the continued use of felt as long as they don't deny the scientific facts to make their case. KBarton10: Why are you not studying the erosion issues with studded cleated rubber soles on instream sediments and banks? Cleated soles with studs are going to rip hell out of the banks – sending sediment into the creeks. You seem to attribute a lot of things to me that I never intended to take responsibility for. Why would it be my responsibility to research this issue and where have you ever seen me advocate for studded boots? Leaving that aside, you make a strong statement, sounding like proven fact, that the new boots will cause habitat degradation. What basis do you have to state that rubber cleated boots will increase sedimentation? After all studded f
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Bob Wiltshire: I almost forgot to add that in Idaho and Oregon all boaters are now required to purchase annual permits that pay for the state invasive species program. The fees apply to both resident and non resident boaters so if you fish in both states you need to have two permits. And, as a resident of Idaho, I'm hoping that at some point in the near future, this additional step will add up to ... more more than just a sticker you have to buy and put on the side of your boat. So far, at least on my local waters, this sticker is meaningless. Either that, or this sticker has some miraculous power to sanitize boats that I'm not aware of...
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Judging from the length and breadth of response, this is an emotional and thought provoking issue. Like so many other issues linked to science, I hope that any and all research is well funded and expeditious. The insidious nature of these little beasties prompts all sorts of wild thoughts, but I am in awe of the power of a single cell. Let's hope that we can get it done.
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Bob, I think every angler recognizes his responsibility in this area, some insist on complete sterilization, some buy extra gear, and some dismiss it and do a lackluster job of cleaning their gear. I liken all this turmoil to something similar to the debate on a national Health Care initiative. I think most will admit that the costs for a traumatic injury or illness are hideous, but those of us who ... more do more than eat sound bites recognize the government can implement a really good plan just as easily as a really poor plan. The rubber proponents are attempting to ramrod the issue through the industry like religious zealots, and will not countenance anyone questioning their work or ambitions. That's a warning sign for the rest of us - because you lack the completed science to back this assertion. You dismiss the issue of laces and tongues - and wading insoles like it doesn't exist. The California DFG study (which is the only significant work I've seen on waders and boots) found ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the boots containing insoles carried New Zealand Mud Snails. Why are you not insisting on their being banned as well? Why are you not studying the erosion issues with studded cleated rubber soles on instream sediments and banks? Cleated soles with studs are going to rip hell out of the banks - sending sediment into the creeks. Where is the research on Whirling Disease? Whirling Disease spores can live in stream sediment for 25 years or more. Cleated and studded rubber soles will be biting deeper into the sediment than plain felt, disturbing spores and making them available to the worms that will infect the fish. This is a huge and complex issue - and anglers should step aside and let the Science determine the fate of our gear. While I whole-heartedly support the cleaning and sanitization of waders and boots, I do not believe that "angling forum scientists" are any better than FOX News - who at least ensures there's plenty of cleavage to look at while ramming some half baked quasi science down my throat.
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Exerpt from Quebec Atlantic Salmo Federation documentation, mentioning yet again that Didymo may have undergone some small evolution - making it able to tolerate the warmer waters of the US and Canada. Didymo is native to the US and Canada, and has been documented in Northeast US and Canada for more than 100 years. This theory has been espoused by US and Canadian scientists, yet is completely ignored ... more by the rubber promoters. If you would like to see the documentation, I think I can dig up the links to both Canadian and US science journals. --------------------------------------- The problem: Didymo has recently become invasive, both as an exotic species, and within its natural range. /i It is not clear why this is occurring, but it may be linked to a recent, yet-to-be documented genetic mutation./i In cases of severe invasions, 100% of the substrate of a stream can be coated with a Didymo mat to a depth of 2 cm or more. This coverage can destroy spawning habitat for salmonids, block access to refuges under rocks for juvenile salmonids, and stifle the production of freshwater insect larvae upon which juvenile salmonids depend. To date, New Zealand has suffered the most severe consequences of Didymo invasions, and agencies there are world leaders in knowledge of the species and its impacts. Control of Didymo's spread, and eradication: Control of the spread of the species will be very difficult. Measures can be implemented to stop humans from serving as vectors (e.g., disinfection of fishing gear as anglers move from watershed to watershed; closure of areas from any human access, etc.). However, a single cell could initiate an invasion in a new watershed, and it will be very easy for waterfowl to move the species throughout North America. No successful eradication of Didymo from any watershed has been accomplished, and ASF has no record of any ever having been attempted. Quebec government officials are presently developing an action plan.
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Ducks don't fly. At least the argument that ducks are an important vector of invasives such as NZMS doesn't fly. There are some pretty damning serial maps showing blooms of invasives and the bud of those blooms is almost always at high frequency human access points. You can duck the issue (or ostrich it) but in reality, keeping your gear clean isn't such a big deal. If your wife wouldn't let you wear ... more those muddy boots into your clean house, you probably shouldn't be wearing them into a clean river either. If you are willing to put in the extra time and diligence to clean felt, go for it. If you are a lazy slob like me, rubber only makes sense.
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JJP: What I won't except is all the blame! The regulators and functionaries should realize that fly fishers aren't the only ones using our precious water. I've watched Joe Sixpack-Flatsboat at the town landing once to often. Again, the truth is different than our impressions. In this case, motor boaters, whether fishing or pleasure, are facing far more costly and disruptive regulations than wading ... more fly anglers. In many places these boats have to have a full boat inspection before they launch. On a busy day this can delay their launch a lot anf they often have to pay for the inspection. As an example at Lake Tahoe boaters have to pay as much as $30 for an inspection every time they launch. In many other places launches have been closed to access. Many are only open when they are staffed by inspectors which has resulted in shortened boating hours and seasons. Other accesses have been totally closed to public boating. These boating restrictions are taking place nation wide so even though you might not see them on your local waters today the examples are all around and when the politicians decide they need to do something they will find a host of existing regulations they can copy. I almost forgot to add that in Idaho and Oregon all boaters are now required to purchase annual permits that pay for the state invasive species program. The fees apply to both resident and non resident boaters so if you fish in both states you need to have two permits. Other states are looking at similar fees and the day may soon be at hand when you will need both a fishing license and an invasive species sticker from each state you fish in. This problem is not going to go away and we are going to see increasing regulations on all of us as we try to get a handle on the problem. It does no good to try to deflect the blame to birds or other wildlife. The Invasive species community is aggressively working to identify every possible pathway in which these species might travel and plug the holes. Pet stores, biological supply houses, forest fire fighters, local fire departments, all types of commercial contractors, and many others have all had new restrictions placed on them and more are coming. There is no campaign, formal or otherwise, to paint fly fishers as being a primary cause of spread. However, biologists and researchers have reported that as a community fly fishers are far more dismissive of invasive species than other anglers. They report that the power boat anglers are mostly willing to accept their role in the problem while fly anglers tend to deny and blame others. I believe that the fishing and boating community is best served by all of us promoting voluntary cleaning behavior. Only by being actively engaged in a positive fashion can we hope to influence the politicians when they propose truly egregious regulations in the future. Bob
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"One thing we all need to do is follow the basic tenants of Inspect, Clean and Dry after every fishing trip." Sounds like a great goal but I barely remember to leave the car window open so the wet waders don't stink up my car between trips. Andy
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I have seen two of the best river systems affected by Didymo here on the east coast. The Gunpowder River and the Delaware River, both of the rivers are heavy traffic of anglers 9/12 months.
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It's all got a potential downside. I vote for rubber soles and cleats, then I wash and dry. And, multiple boots for different uses. Don't any of you remember that wonderful foot bath that was always at the shower at public pools? What I won't except is all the blame! The regulators and functionaries should realize that fly fishers aren't the only ones using our precious water. I've watched Joe Sixpack-Flatsboat ... more at the town landing once to often. So, don't forget what W.C. Fields said. "Ah, Yes. Water. Never touch the stuff. Fish f--- in it." That's probably a misquote, but...
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The science I've read says : 1) Felt soles bad 2) inside the boot and boots equipped with insoles just as bad as felt 3. Under the tongue of the upper, just as bad as felt 4. Attached to the wader, less bad – unless it's Didymo which is a diatome, then it's really bad too. In fact, the science is far different than what you are assuming. Felt has been scientifically proven to be significantly worse ... more than any other material used in boot construction. Rather than elaborate I will refer you to the paper "The Science of Felt" at http://stopans.org/Science_of_felt.php. The science is conclusive that felt is very bad - far, far worse than any other material. However, no one should think that eliminating felt is going to solve the invasive species problem. It's not even going to solve the boot problem. We all recognize that there are many other places for invasives to attach to boots and hopefully we will see new technologies that help address these problems as well. One thing we all need to do is follow the basic tenants of Inspect, Clean and Dry after every fishing trip. If we all commit to being Clean Anglers and encourage others to do the same we can all do the simple things that help to protect our waters. There is no doubt that anglers and boaters of all types are spreading invasives and we can all work to reduce that spread by being as clean as we can. If you would like to learn more about aquatic invasive species subscribe to the Clean Angling News at http://stopans.org/news_current.htm Bob
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I was going back to felt until I tried the new "studs" in my Simms G4xx23-d.... boots. Bob at Ted Fey hard sold me a $40 dollar set. They are more like a low profile set of teeth than an actual stud. Fished them in the K yesterday and they are awesome: hands down better than the studs in everyway. Andy
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The duck angle is most interesting - and one of the least researched. What they do know is that live mollusks have been found in their feathers and their feet - and that some diatomes can survive the entire gastrointestinal journey, and were crapped live some (insert distance here) hours later. My instinct is that they'll find all of the elements can act as pollination paths, and based on regional ... more uniqueness may find we're mostly the culprit - and in some other locales due to unique flora or fauna, we may only make the top ten worst.
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Didymo requires only one cell to propagate. That fly fishermen, especially well-heeled fly fishermen, are the primary vector of transfer over long distances is obvious. Look at a map of the affected areas in North America three years ago - every site was prime trout water and entire midwestern states were rock-snot-free. If we wish to blame the transfer on ducks, how did Donald fly all the way from ... more the infected western states to the White River in AR or the GSMNP, without getting his little webbed feet wet enroute? However, if fly fishermen are the primary long-range transfer vector, it may be as much the fault of a fly box full of wet nymphs that is never disinfected as the fisherman's felt soles. When did you last see a poster asking you to disinfect all your flies between outings? What about your line or backing? The "feel good" measure of castigating felt - which some of us need for safety - warms the heart of Simms salespeople but avoids some of the worst offenders --- your flies themselves. I propose that all rivers be dry-fly-only henceforth. And I mean Dry - roasted at 250 degrees between outings : )
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Tom, You and I are in complete agreement about the evil payload capabilities of felt. I'm a staunch believer that anglers carry all kinds of hideous things into and out of their creek. My issue is that the interior of the boots carry as many damaging things as the tongues and eyelets, and banning felt is banning only a fraction of the lethal payload a wader/wading boot carries. As you know, I used ... more welded boot foot rubber waders in the mud snail water. That's lugged sole solid rubber - no seams, no tongues, and the best anti-hitchhiker material available. If we're going to ban felt, we should ban the entire external boot - not some silly halfway measure that some well meaning and untrained TU director thinks is clever as hell. When science or the angling community can quantify the volume of nasty in the boot, under the tongue, stuck to the sole, and adhered to the wader leg - then we would know whether we're addressing a tiny bit of the problem - or all of it. The science I've read says : 1) Felt soles bad 2) inside the boot and boots equipped with insoles just as bad as felt 3. Under the tongue of the upper, just as bad as felt 4. Attached to the wader, less bad - unless it's Didymo which is a diatome, then it's really bad too.
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Is it contradictory to simultaneously support the industry move to non-felt solutions, while at the same time feeling like this is comparable to diligently taking your own, reusable shopping bag to the grocery store every time, and then not paying any attention to what you put in it? The felt soles of anglers are certainly a vector, but until we adequately address many other, more significant and ... more prevalent vectors of water-borne invasives (like strict cleaning of boats), it may be a well-intentioned step, but not a solution.
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KBarton10: When and if I see a thorough treatise on the subject that is broadly accepted by the scientific community (rather than piece meal studies that ignore aquatic birds and other pollination vectors) – I'll be happy to use rubber That's setting the bar higher than is reasonable. There are several studies which suggest felt soles transmit insaives like Didymo and whirling disease spores far more ... more readily than rubber soles, and that disinfecting them is problematic at best (especially when compared to rubber). I'm unwilling to ignore transmission through other vectors (like birds), but I'm even less willing to pretend that anglers aren't culpable in a lot of situations - especially given the studies that do suggest anglers move crap all the time (the F&G New Zealand Mud Snail study on Putah Creek is an eye opener). The problem is not one simply of felt soles - and shame on those vendors who are over-hyping the traction provided by their rubber soles and trying to score market points by flogging felt - but we can't pretend that felt disinfects as readily as rubber, or that decent (or even better) alternatives like studded rubber, or even sticky rubber for small streams aren't available.
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"I believe felts soles are a serious danger to spreading invasive species and diseases..." Why?
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I switched to Weinbrenner studded rubber boots many years ago, and though they didn't grip as well as studded felt in some situations (and nowhere near as well as the current crop of rubber boots), I said "good-bye" to felt also. FWIW, I'll be bringing an extra pair of "travel boots" on my Montana trip - something most anglers probably should do when they travel.
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Tod, As I fish infected water (New Zealand Mud Snails) I have a separate set of boots and waders just for that purpose. I also believe that rubber soles only marginally assist in proofing streams against invasives. (yes, I agree that felt carries bugs, we carry bugs, and ducks carry bugs) While the science on this topic is improving, I do not believe it is complete - and your average angler is completely ... more ignorant of the inconsistencies in the science of Whirling Disease and Didymo, which is never represented completely - nor ever discussed by angling organizations and "do gooder" vendors. When and if I see a thorough treatise on the subject that is broadly accepted by the scientific community (rather than piece meal studies that ignore aquatic birds and other pollination vectors) - I'll be happy to use rubber. Until then, I wear felt. It grips better, it's safer to wade in, and I'm quite happy with its longevity.
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"Until the issues of wading shoe uppers and entrapment within the boot are resolved, there is no reason to make a switch to a slippery soled SOB that spreads as much as felt." I have heard that argument before and it's getting old. The interior and uppers dry much quicker than felt. Within 24-48 hours after cleaning, my boots are completely dry. However felt soles can take up to month to dry. If you ... more can't wait to 24-48 hours before fishing different piece of water, buy a second pair of boots, it is not huge investment considering the value our streams. If we don't take proper care of our streams who will?
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As a representative of the environmentally subversive, I'll buy a new pair of felt soled wading boots as the vendors pump their remaining stock onto the market - ahead of the ban. Until the issues of wading shoe uppers and entrapment within the boot are resolved, there is no reason to make a switch to a slippery soled SOB that spreads as much as felt. QED.
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I have been wading with a pair of Simms Headwaters w/ rubbers soles and the screw- in studs for two seasons and have not looked back at felt boots. I have waded some of the most challenging trout streams to traverse (within a few hours of my home) and found them equal to felt. Sticky rubber + screw- in-studs+ a wading staff & good cleaning of gear= personal and environmental safety. I believe ... more felts soles are a serious danger to spreading invasive species and diseases, but boaters and kayakers need to take some share of the blame too. Every outdoor enthusiast that uses our lakes, rivers, and streams need to be educated on the dangers of transporting invasive species and diseases. More education is needed to remind all water goers to inspect, clean, and dry their equipment before moving to another body of water. Sadly there are too many weekend cowboys that just don't give a damn no matter how what they are told.
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After absolutely hating the Korkers boots I got years ago, I was pleasantly surprised at the new guide boots.A couple points tho. First, the soles don't change all that easily - you're not going to hike in, change the soles, fish, change the soles, then hike out again (as some have suggested on message boards). Changing them before a day's fishing is a possibility (though you have to buy the extra ... more soles, of course). Second, as far as invasives go, these things are probably worse than felt. Water would almost certain get under the interchangeable soles; it would stay damp a long time; and it would be damned hard to clearn without actually removing the soles.
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I've fancied a pair of Korkers Guide Boots for a while now. They remind me of my first choice the four seasons pizza (AKA the indecisive persons choice), unless I'm having the pasta, or maybe just a salad SBW
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