Felt-soled waders have been banned from Missouri trout fishing areas effective March 1, 2012 due to an immediate and serious threat from the invasive alga commonly known as didymo.  This ban includes all four trout parks, including Bennett Spring, Maramec Spring, Montauk, and Roaring River.  The felt sole ban also includes Lake Taneycomo and all other coldwater areas in Missouri containing trout.  It does not apply to Missouri waters that are too warm for trout, so felt will still be permitted while fishing for smallmouth bass in streams not containing trout.  Didymo is rapidly spreading around the country, and is currently found in the Beaver Tailwater in Arkansas.  It is not currently in Missouri.  The ban is a pro-active action to prevent an invasion that would have most likely been inevitable had the ban not been put in place. 

Felt-soled waders and wading boots have been worn in the past by only a small percentage of the anglers fishing the Missouri trout parks, because the stream beds in the trout parks are primarily gravel.  Felt does not offer any advantages on gravel, and hard rubber lug soles perform well in the trout parks. 

Hard rubber lug soles do not work well on algae-covered bedrock, however.  If you fish areas such as the North Fork River or Roaring River downstream from Roaring River State Park, you may want to look into some of the alternatives to felt soles that are currently on the market.  There are a number of waders available with soles made from Vibram and other sticky-type rubber materials.  Some are available have metal studs that significantly improve the traction provided.  Most of these can be removed when you are fishing from a drift boat. 

It is possible to treat felt soles to make them non-porous, but it is essentially just a stop-gap measure that not many anglers will want to go with on a long-term basis.  Information about how to do this is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_udcfZqA_w

The Missouri felt sole ban is strongly supported by informed anglers, and was proposed over a year ago by the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the highly respected grassroots conservation group made up of thousands of Missouri citizens. 

For the latest information about the Missouri felt sole ban, listen to Rick Coffman's recent interview of Mark Van Patten by going to http://liv2flyfish.com/id47.htm.  This podcast, called "Didymo - How Much Is Your Trout Stream Worth To You?" was very well done and contains answers to all the many questions that people have been asking about the didymo issue and the porous sole ban in Missouri.  Mark is a long-time Missouri Department of Conservation employee, has been a trout fisherman his whole life, and has hosted the syndicated PBS fly tying show, The Tying Bench for the last 14 years.  Mark Van Patten is highly respected by Missouri trout fishermen, and is a source of information who is trustworthy and reliable. 

If you are interested in the history behind didymo, be sure to see the article called "Why Felt Soles Are Being Banned" online at http://therockyriver.com/why-felt-soles-are-being-banned/.  In addition, the following links contain a great deal of information that you will want to check out:





Missouri bans porous-soled waders to help protect trout waters from invasive algae

JEFFERSON CITY Mo 09/30/11  – In anticipation of upcoming winter trout fishing, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages trout anglers to help prevent the spread of a new threat to Missouri’s cold-water streams and rivers. Called “didymo” (Didymosphenia geminata) or “rock snot,” this invasive alga forms large, thick mats on the bottoms of cold-water streams and rivers, reducing the quality and quantity of food vital to fish such as trout. Didymo also clogs water intakes and boat motors. It interferes with fishing gear and eventually makes fishing nearly impossible, with devastating economic and environmental consequences.  For more information, visit http://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/mdc-bans-porous-soled-waders-help-protect-trout-waters-invasive-algae


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