Felt-Soled Waders and Wading Shoes Are On the Way Out – Effective March 21
Didymo, also known as Rock Snot, is an invasive, non-native alga of cold flowing waters.
Individual didymo organisms are microscopic, but infestations include enormous numbers. Each individual produces a long stalk from the stream bottom resulting in a yellow-brown slime layer, which can dominate a once beautiful cold water stream.
Didymo is gross, and it can obstruct fishing to the point of being insufferable.
Didymo has also caused destructive changes in stream biology in some of the finest cold fishing waters on the planet.
Resource managers in North America and New Zealand suspected early on that the felt-soled waders and boots of traveling fly fishermen were the pathway for its spread. Subsequent field and laboratory research has confirmed that the felt used for waders is an ideal medium for collecting and transporting microscopic organisms.
DNR scientists and anglers have found seasonal infestations of Didymo in the Gunpowder River and traces of the organism in the Savage River.
Other diseases and injurious species such as Whirling Disease, which is fatal to trout, may be carried on felt soles.
Felt has been banned from New Zealand streams since 2008.
Alaska and Vermont have moved to prohibit felt soles.
Maryland is doing the same.
Maryland’s proposed regulation to prohibit felt soles in all waters is scheduled to become effective in March 2011. DNR welcomes public comment until February 28 via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or mail, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service, ATTN: Felt-Soled Wader Ban Regulation, 580 Taylor Ave., B-2, Annapolis, MD 21401.