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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Missouri Bans Felt Soles

Beginning March 1, 2012 trout fishermen in Missouri will no longer be allowed to use felt soled, or other porous soled waders.  Pending public comment, The Missouri Conservation Commission has approved a regulation change banning the use of porous-soled waders or footwear incorporating or having attached a porous sole of felted, matted, or woven fibrous material when fishing in trout parks and other specific trout waters.

Their hope is to prevent the introduction of  Didymosphenia geminata, aka, didymo or rock snot.  Right now the state is free from the scourge but with didymo reported in the White River just south of the Missouri-Arkansas border, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to do what they can to prevent its introduction.

Didymo forms large, thick mats on the bottoms of cold-water streams and rivers.  In extreme cases, it can interfere with fishing tackle making fishing nearly impossible. All in all, not goor for the environment or the economy.

Didymo is native to the northern parts of North America and Europe.  MDC Fisheries Biologist Mark VanPatten says that didymo is kept in check naturally in other places by lower pH levels in the water. Missouri has many  limestone waters that create higher pH levels.  These higher pH levels can allow didymo to spread unchecked.

VanPatten warns, “There is no way to control or eradicate didymo once it gets established in the state.”

“Adapting waders is not a cure,” VanPatten warns. “It is just one step in prevention. It is still vital to check and clean or dry all waders and all other gear that have had contact with the water.”

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