MISSOURI FELT SOLE BAN GOES INTO EFFECT MARCH 1, 2012
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
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
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"
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
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