Credit: Mark Lance
Eliminate the Use of Felt Soled Waders and Boots and Practice Clean Angling
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a serious threat to TU's mission to conserve, protect, and restore North America's coldwater fisheries. Plants, organisms and pathogens such as whirling disease, didymo, (an invasive algae), New Zealand mud snails, VHS, and zebra and quagga mussels are invading new waters at an alarming rate.
While there are many ways that AIS can be transmitted, scientific evidence has clearly demonstrated that an angler's equipment, including boats and felt soled waders and boots are potential AIS carriers and are responsible for the introduction of AIS in rivers and streams across the country.
At its annual meeting in Salt Lake City in 2008, TU issued a policy  requesting wader and boot manufacturers and anglers to eliminate the use of felt soled waders and boots and to adopt the clean angling practices to inspect, clean, and dry angling equipment and to avoid moving fish, fish parts, plants or water between drainages. At the 2008 Fly Fishing Retailer trade show, Simms Fishing Products Company of Bozeman, Montana announced that it would eliminate felt-soled waders and boots in its 2010 product line. Many other wader and boot manufacturers including Chota, Korkers, LL Bean, Orvis and Patagonia are now offering alternatives to felt-soled waders and boots and reccomend following the clean angling practices to inspect, clean and dry angling gear.
Several states have addressed the aquatic invasive species/felt soled wader issue. In 2010, Alaska banned the use of felt-soled waders and boots and Vermont will soon do the same.
TU's commitment to reducing the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species through the use of felt soled waders and boots is based on sound scientific evidence. An article written by Bob Wiltshire, Director of the Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species, entitled "The Science of Felt"  compiles the information and answers the questions regarding the science behind the elimination of the use of felt soled waders and boots.
Using Non-Felt-Soled Wading Boots
Some anglers have expressed concern about the ability of non-felt –soled waders to effectively grip while wading in water. Over the past two years, manufacturers have increased the effectiveness of non-felt sole products and new materials and sole designs are being developed, further insuring that alternative sole options will continue to come into the market.
Trout anglers often face some very challenging wading conditions. To ensure wading safety, metal studs are extremely helpful in increasing grip while wading in water. In addition, when wading in especially challenging rivers, a wading staff can be an added help.
If you have specific questions regarding TU's felt sole policy and its cold water aquatic invasive species program, please contact Dave Kumlien, Executive Director of TU's Whirling Disease Foundation, at DKumlien@tu.org
Please practice clean angling.
Always inspect, clean and dry all equipment.
Never transport any fish, plant or animal, alive or dead, between water bodies.