Yellowstone Felt

#16
That's why you have to clean and dry your equipment. It's just that felt is almost impossible to clean, and it stays wet and can harbor invasives for days. As for "creating dangerous wading situations for anglers," no one creates a dangerous wading situation for you except you. Wade within the limits of your skill and gear.
Exactly! That is my argument, banning felt does NOTHING for stopping aquatic invasives. There are too many other modes for introduction, many which are much more likely, to think that a felt ban is going to be effective
 

Tmik

Active Member
#17
I looked at the Patagucci boots, but decided I wanted a viable option when I was using my raft.

What do people with boots like these do when they get in a raft or driftboat?
That's definitely an issue. When I go in my buddies drift boat he sometimes throws in a rubber floor mat that protects the boat. Just as often I throw on an old/spare pair of boots for float trips though.
 

Troutnut

Active Member
#18
There simply is nothing better than felt. There is no rubber soled boot by any manufacturer that provides the same traction.
No rubber boot provides the same traction, but there IS something better than felt. The ones people are mentioning with aluminum bars from Patagonia and Korkers grip better than anything else. After Alaska banned felt I had pain in my left wrist for six months from landing too hard on a boulder after a slip in rubber soles. Then I discovered the metal-barred ones that easily outperform felt.
 
#19
There are plenty of options for replacing felt soled shoes that are nearly as good, as good, or better, than felt. Preserving our environment sometimes requires that we give up some things. I haven't used felt for years and at age 67 I'm not as stable a wader as I used to be, but I am capable of learning my limits.

Timbow, and others who use the argument that just because pathogens can also be transmitted on other gear, just quit it. Felt has been identified as the most serious problem. Whether you know it or not, using the argument that because we can't entirely prevent the problem, we shouldn't do anything, even the one thing that has been most strongly identified with that problem, is an argument for doing nothing. Our environment (health, safety, whatever other arena you want to identify) would be immeasurably worse following that line of reasoning.

D
 
#20
There are plenty of options for replacing felt soled shoes that are nearly as good, as good, or better, than felt. Preserving our environment sometimes requires that we give up some things. I haven't used felt for years and at age 67 I'm not as stable a wader as I used to be, but I am capable of learning my limits.

Timbow, and others who use the argument that just because pathogens can also be transmitted on other gear, just quit it. Felt has been identified as the most serious problem. Whether you know it or not, using the argument that because we can't entirely prevent the problem, we shouldn't do anything, even the one thing that has been most strongly identified with that problem, is an argument for doing nothing. Our environment (health, safety, whatever other arena you want to identify) would be immeasurably worse following that line of reasoning.

D
Well said Richard! Sometimes we have to compromise a little.

Like others, I went to the Patagonia boots with the aluminum bars a few years back and find them as good as felt. A little heavy and clunkier than I'd like, but they've kept my 65 year old body upright so far.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#21
I bought a cheap pair of lug sole wading boots in anticipation of using them in YNP. I never used them as is, but added kold kutter screws to the lugs and waded in the Gallatan and Madison last week without issue. Can't use them in the boat or raft, however.
 
#22
No rubber boot provides the same traction, but there IS something better than felt. The ones people are mentioning with aluminum bars from Patagonia and Korkers grip better than anything else. After Alaska banned felt I had pain in my left wrist for six months from landing too hard on a boulder after a slip in rubber soles. Then I discovered the metal-barred ones that easily outperform felt.
There are plenty of options for replacing felt soled shoes that are nearly as good, as good, or better, than felt. Preserving our environment sometimes requires that we give up some things. I haven't used felt for years and at age 67 I'm not as stable a wader as I used to be, but I am capable of learning my limits.

Timbow, and others who use the argument that just because pathogens can also be transmitted on other gear, just quit it. Felt has been identified as the most serious problem. Whether you know it or not, using the argument that because we can't entirely prevent the problem, we shouldn't do anything, even the one thing that has been most strongly identified with that problem, is an argument for doing nothing. Our environment (health, safety, whatever other arena you want to identify) would be immeasurably worse following that line of reasoning.

D
The 2011 study that I assume you are referring to which identified felt as the culprit has been proven faulty. Specifically, the spread of didymo has been linked to other environmental factors and it seems that didymo has always been present in waterbodies but is now able to thrive under these new environmental conditions. Vermont, which cited the study in there reasoning for implementing a felt ban, has now reversed the ban due to lack of scientific evidence and this new evidence.
 
#23
The 2011 study that I assume you are referring to which identified felt as the culprit has been proven faulty. Specifically, the spread of didymo has been linked to other environmental factors and it seems that didymo has always been present in waterbodies but is now able to thrive under these new environmental conditions. Vermont, which cited the study in there reasoning for implementing a felt ban, has now reversed the ban due to lack of scientific evidence and this new evidence.
I don't think didymo is the only pathogen linked to transmission via felt soled wading boots. Yes, there have been some studies recently that show that didymo outbreaks are likely the result of changes in water chemistry that may be related to climate change, but I think the opinion in New Zealand remains that it was not found there until it appeared in streams popular with tourist fly fishers, leading to the suspicion that it was brought in on felt soles. It also has been linked to spread of whirling disease spores and even the tiny New Zealand mud snails. Here is a link to a paper that summarizes some of the research, management issues, and social concerns of felt soles as they pertain to the spread of pathogens between trout streams around the world. The document is on the USDA website, but was prepared by the Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species (I can't find anything about this organization). It was written in 2009, but I think it is still relevant today, even with the caveat on recent research on didymo.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5374543.pdf
 
#24
I don't think didymo is the only pathogen linked to transmission via felt soled wading boots. Yes, there have been some studies recently that show that didymo outbreaks are likely the result of changes in water chemistry that may be related to climate change, but I think the opinion in New Zealand remains that it was not found there until it appeared in streams popular with tourist fly fishers, leading to the suspicion that it was brought in on felt soles. It also has been linked to spread of whirling disease spores and even the tiny New Zealand mud snails. Here is a link to a paper that summarizes some of the research, management issues, and social concerns of felt soles as they pertain to the spread of pathogens between trout streams around the world. The document is on the USDA website, but was prepared by the Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species (I can't find anything about this organization). It was written in 2009, but I think it is still relevant today, even with the caveat on recent research on didymo.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5374543.pdf
Thanks for that article. While I agree that felt is more likely than rubber to trap and transport microscopic organisms, I don’t agree that banning felt will have any impact on preventing the spread. I feel a better step would be to install wader wash stations at access points on rivers known to contain invasives. There are so many ways that these things can spread that to single out felt just doesn’t seem like it’s worth the risk of having people injured or killed due to having to wear inferior products.
 
#26
I got a fishing report from a friend of mine who lives in Idaho and fishes the Yellowstone River every September. Here is a photo of one of the 6 fish he got on this particular day. In his narrative, he was lamenting about the new "no felt" rule on all park waters that went into effect this spring. Since he's not as spry as he was in his younger years, he found his wading was more limited because he had to be careful with just rubber boots. The point of this post is to inform those of you who may be planning a Yellowstone Park trip with only felt sole boots, don't use them on park waters. While hardly a reality, the reported fine is 6 months in jail and up to $5000 fine.
View attachment 178877
For what it is worth, I gave up felt about 8 years ago and have supplemented my rubber soles with different types of cleats. My experience, on a wide variety of water, has been that rubber soles with cleats of some type, usually aluminum, outperform my felts.
 
#27
I live near the park and fish it often. Took several hard falls this year using 'no slip' rubber soles. IMO it's a matter of time before an individual or group sues the park over this well-intentioned but misguided policy. There are other ways to mitigate against invasive species that leave anglers with a tried-and-true means of wading safety that felt provides.
I doubt anyone would ever win a frivolous lawsuit like that. Nobody makes a fishermen wade out into a stream. That's completely an individuals choice to put themselves at risk, especially when it's easily proven there are better alternatives to felt that meet Park requirements.
 

Triggw

Active Member
#28
Exactly! That is my argument, banning felt does NOTHING for stopping aquatic invasives. There are too many other modes for introduction, many which are much more likely, to think that a felt ban is going to be effective
You've missed the point. The solution--at least the best we have--is cleaning and drying your gear. Yes, all those things you mention can carry invasives, but all of them can be cleaned and dried much easier than felt. Is a felt ban going to solve the problem? Not by itself, but just because you can't solve 100% of a problem doesn't mean it's OK to do nothing. You do what you can.

I've been wearing studded rubber for 5 years, and I don't miss felt.
 
#30
You've missed the point. The solution--at least the best we have--is cleaning and drying your gear. Yes, all those things you mention can carry invasives, but all of them can be cleaned and dried much easier than felt. Is a felt ban going to solve the problem? Not by itself, but just because you can't solve 100% of a problem doesn't mean it's OK to do nothing. You do what you can.

I've been wearing studded rubber for 5 years, and I don't miss felt.
Unfortunately "cleaning" gear with water and drying will not remove or kill all invasives. As has been mentioned, the cleaning and drying was recommended when didymo was believed to be the worst hitchhiker invasive; but now Max Bothwell, a research scientist for Environment Canada, who wrote an influential article that linked angler's felt soled boots to dydimo spread has now reversed himself and said that anglers are not responsible.

Here is his original article, On the Boots of Fishermen:

https://www.researchgate.net/public...o_Blooms_on_Vancouver_Island_British_Columbia

He now believes that dydimo has been in North American waters and that it is a change in water chemistry, specifically lower phosphorus levels that has caused dydimo blooms.

Read the article in American Angler, July-August, 2013, pp 8-9.

"'I no longer believe the problem is North American streams is the result of it (dydimo) being moved around.' …. Scientists are now convinced that dydimo lives in many streams, but blooms only when the water has far less than the normal amount of phosphorus…… The most damaging dydimo episode in the US seems to have been on Rapid Creek in South Dakota, where a six-mile bloom dramatically impacted a blue ribbon brown trout fishery. In 2007 and 2008, Bothwell and other scientists added phosphorus to sections of Rapid Creek. Sure enough, the dydimo mats shrank"

He published his findings in Freshwater Biology (2012) 57, 641–653 in an article titled:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5422748.pdf

Didymosphenia geminata growth rates and bloom formation in relation to ambient dissolved phosphorus concentration

"The blooms were present only in rivers where average dissolved P was very low. Didymo in higher nutrient waters had higher cell division rates, shorter stalks, and did not form blooms.

…. the blooms are caused by low nutrients in the overlying water, which promotes excessive stalk production. Subsequent surveys, experiments and observations in New Zealand have all been consistent with low nutrients (specifically low P) driving the blooms."

http://sciblogs.co.nz/waiology/2012/12/19/what-causes-didymo-blooms-rock-snot-in-nz-rivers/

I think this recent discovery makes more sense than the old theory that all of a sudden dydimo sprang due to anglers boots when anglers have been using these same rivers for over a century with no dydimo blooms.

What is causing the dydimo blooms, I surmise, is the current trend of reducing phosphorus in detergents and lawn fertilizer. So as we get rid of phosphorus to prevent algae blooms we get dydimo blooms.

Ever wonder why NZ has such a problem with dydimo? They have lots of crystal clear streams and rivers with low phosphorus because there is little run off from agriculture and lawns.

So dydimo is not spread by boots.

How about the other organisms like whirling disease myxospores, zebra mussels, and New Zealand mud snails. How effective is washing and drying in preventing spread. Not very effective at all. These are hardy organisms and that is why they spread.

For example the myxospore stage of whirling disease

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myxobolus_cerebralis

"Myxospores are extremely tough: "it was shown that Myxobolus cerebralis spores can tolerate freezing at −20°C for at least 3 months, aging in mud at 13°C for at least 5 months, and passage through the guts of northern pike Esox lucius or mallards Anas platyrhynchos without loss of infectivity" to worms.[11] Triactinomyxons are much shorter-lived, surviving 34 days or less, depending on temperature.[12]"

https://www.researchgate.net/public...se_prevention_control_and_management_A_review

"Suggested methods for killing the myxospore stage include thorough drying, heating for 10 min at 90°C, calcium hydroxide at more than 0.5% for 24 h, and calcium oxide or KOH at more than 0.25% for 24 h. Chlorine was also effective at 1600 ppm in 24-h exposure or 5,000 ppm in a 10-min exposure. Roccal (alkyl dimethylbenzylammonium chloride) at more than 200 ppm active ingredient was also effective. Calcium cyanide at 4,000 kg/ha has been used effectively for control in infected ponds. Treating incoming water with 2537 Å of ultraviolet (UV) light at dosages greater than or equal to 35,000 microwatt-sec/cm2 was effective in preventing infection of rainbow trout fry. Filtration of water through a 25 μm commercial filter cartridge did not reduce or eliminate the disease, but sand-charcoal filters have been used successfully in France."

Fact - there is not a single decontamination method that will work for all invasives. Some work for dydimo but they will not work on NZ mud snails or whirling disease. So you have to pick the invasive that you want to protect against. Who will take the time to research what to do for every invasive?

The other problem is that decontamination with some chemicals actually shorten the life of waders and wading boots. Download this State of California DFG study on methods of decontaminating for New Zealand Mud Snails to see the damage done to waders and boots.

http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=3867

The California study found that chemical decontamination eventually destroyed the waders and boots. Bleach for example is an oxidizer and damages gear. Any spill or drips in your vehicle will damage upholstery and carpets. That is why manufacturers recommend rinsing and drying gear without the use of chemicals. HOWEVER washing and rinsing with water alone does NOT KILL NZ Mud Snail and other invasives.

The other key problem is that MOST of the invasive NZ mudsnails were NOT ON THE BOOT BOTTOM. So felt vs rubber will make no difference:

"The majority of NZMS recovered were associated with wading boots. NZMS were observed on the tongue area of wading boots, associated with the laces or the area of the tongue that was tucked beneath the lacing eyelets. Large numbers of small NZMS were present inside of the boots, having worked down between the boot and the neoprene bootie of the wader. If the boots contained padded insole inserts, NZMS were also found underneath the inserts, associated with sand grains. NZMS were recovered from every treated set of wading gear. Numbers of NZMS per sample (Figure 8) ranged from 1 to 227 with a mean of 33 (Appendix 2). Over 50% of NZMS recovered were < 1 mm in size (Table 4)."



Here are some photos gear that has been chemically decontaminated. There were treated ONLY 7 TIMES and the gear looks like this. That is why I say there is no single treatment that will kill all invasives and won't damage wading gear excessively.

Bleach





Pine Sol

d

Bezethonium Chloride




The bottom line is that for invasives, there is no magic bullet. Rubber boots vs felt will make little difference. It will reduce the number of invasives that are transferred but that is like reducing the load of Ebola virus that infects you. You are still infected and it will take you a bit longer to die. These are asexual organisms that will "infect" a watershed with just a single transferred organism.

And with invasives like NZ mudsnails that can get into the boot, rinsing the boot makes NO difference. Note that

There is no single safe chemical treatment that will kill or remove all invasives. "NZMS were recovered from every treated set of wading gear" even after treatment.

So the ultimate result will be that these organisms will spread to whatever watersheds that are suitable for their biology. Not all watersheds are suitable for Whirling disease and that will decide whether they get infected just like didymo will not form mats in all watersheds.
 
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