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The Misguided War on Felt

Apr 19, 2012 | Mike Lawson


By Mike Lawson

We are excited to report that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in cooperation with the Henry’s Fork Foundation plans to provide at least two wading boot cleaning stations on the Henry’s Fork.

The cleaning stations will contain a solution known as Vircon Aquatic that will kill larvae and plant material without harm to the environment. The threat of aquatic invasive species getting into the Henry’s Fork and surrounding waters is serious. Species of concern include New Zealand Mud Snails, Zebra Mussels, Quagga Mussels, and Eurasian Water-Milfoil. You can learn more about these and other invasive species on page 19 of the 2012 Idaho fishing regulations and by visiting

Remember, all watercraft whether float boats or powerboats are required to have a 2012 invasive species sticker. The cost is $10 and the proceeds are used to fund boat inspections, boat cleaning stations, and education. You can purchase your sticker online from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation by clicking here, at any state park office, or in person at the Henry’s Fork Foundation. If you register a powerboat in Idaho the invasive sticker is included.

We are concerned that the “war on felt” that has occurred in recent years has left some anglers with the mistaken belief that they don’t need to worry about spreading invasive species if they are not using felt on their waders and wading boots. One of the top wader manufacturers took the extreme step two years ago to discontinue manufacturing ALL felt soled products. The State of Montana considered making felt illegal. Such measures are unreasonable and illogical.

While felt can transport invasive species, there are plenty of other places including laces, crevices, and even the space between studs and non-felt soles that can transport larvae and plant material from invasive species. Neoprene can be a literal magnet for invasive species. Thankfully, Montana came to its senses and the misguided wader manufacturer has again started producing wading boots with felt soles. The best solution is to educate the fishing public of the importance of cleaning their gear to kill invasive species before they move from watershed to watershed.

Right now the cleaning stations are in the planning stage. There will likely be at least two cleaning stations, one in the Harriman Park central parking lot and one at the Last Chance parking lot. Hopefully, funding can be procured to include additional cleaning stations at some of the outfitting businesses and other locations. If you need more information please contact Jessica Buelow at Henry’s Lake at 208-558-7272.