A Plea for Gear Cleanliness

I felt it was only right for me come to you all after the wedding with a plea to those who are experienced fisherpeople and those that are getting into fishing of any kind that require wading in rivers or other open bodies of water.

I recently picked up the July/August 2012 issue of American Angler and came to a very disturbing article in the Headwaters column. The article was written by Steve Duda and edited by Phil Monahan. The title of the article? Foreign Invasion.

The title itself gets your attention yes? It did mine and I read with interest and a deep sense of foreboding as I  got deeper into the article. The subject of the article was aquatic nuisance species, such as but not limited to, whirling disease (myxobolus cerebralis), New Zealand Mud Snails, zebra mussels, ruffe fish, snakeheads, round goby, and even Asian carp. What is even more terrifying and the most visually disturbing to me and I believe I have seen it here in Colorado recently is Didymo (didymosphenia geminata) commonly known to people of the fisher ilk as "rock snot".

The article describes what happens to a river when the Didymo cell is introduced to a body of water and how it affects multiple aspects of the river. The article details the damage that the didymo spore causes to plant and animal life in the river. In essence, it chokes a river out and decreases its natural productivity in plant and bug life. It also causes major dangers to those of us who fish these rivers by making the rocks in the river even slipperier than a waxed bowling ball. I don't know about you but the thought of slipping on a rock and landing on my butt really does not sound appealing to me.

After making the reader aware of the dangers of aquatic nuisance species in our rivers it goes into suggestions on how to clean our gear so that we can decrease the spread of these species to rivers that have yet to be infected. The article gives simple steps to clean your gear near the water and off the water.

Step one of clean gear is to inspect the soles of your boots and other equipment and rinse any mud and debris off before you get to far from the river. Second, thoroughly clean your gear with brush and clean water or even soak the soles of your boots in saltwater to kill live "things" that may be attached to your boots.  Third and finally, dry your gear in the sun.

Now, I know this plea may bring up the debate of felt soles versus rubber soles but I am not a scientist nor do I want to try and spread my own opinion about this debate.  I will admit that I did by rubber soled boots based on what I had read about the felt/rubber debate but did not want to have to spend more money than necessary if the state of Colorado decided to ban felt. (Which, to be honest, I am not sure if it is even a consideration at this time.)

All I can say at this time is there is always the possibility for more nuisance species to be introduced to the waters that we all know and love but at least with the proper care of our gear and a deep, abiding love for the waters we fish, we should all be able to do our part in decreasing our negative impacts on our rivers.

To close, I know this is kind of a depressing post to write as my first on my return but I felt it was necessary.

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