A fly fisherman’s soul may be one with nature but their sole may not. The felt-sole of fishermen’s wading boots are a vector for the spread of many non-native invasive species such as New Zealand mudsnails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) and didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) an algae also known as rock snot. Many resource agencies have implemented outreach campaigns and taken control measures aimed at preventing the spread hitchhiking invaders, but some states have taken further precautions.
There is a movement afoot (pun intended) to ban the sponge-like felt-soled boots from use and recently Alaska and Vermont have approved such bans. Many fishermen and fisheries biologists prefer felt-soled boots because of their ability to grip slippery rocks. The best alternative to felt-soled boots are the studded, rubber-soled boots, which are easier to clean and disinfect after use and still provide adequate traction. Here are a few options for cleaning your gear, courtesy of Oregon State.
Photo source: FISHBIO