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Thread: Resist the urge to buy felt-sole wading boots on closeout...

  1. #1
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Default Resist the urge to buy felt-sole wading boots on closeout...

    Felt ban goes statewide Jan 1, 2012. Southeast felt ban postponed until Jan 1, 2012 to be consistent with the rest of the state.

    From TU press release (link is easier to read than the copy and paste).

    Trout Unlimited Commends Alaska Board of Fisheries for Adopting Statewide Phase Out of Felt Sole Wading Products
    Action marks an important step in controlling spread of aquatic invasive species
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 22, 2010 – Trout Unlimited (TU) today applauded the Alaska Board of Fisheries for adopting a statewide phase out of felt sole wading products, effective Jan. 1, 2012. The move is aimed at guarding against the spread of aquatic invasive species.
    The board on Friday passed the proposal unanimously after hearing testimony earlier in the week from anglers, lodge owners and others who warned that unless Alaska takes action to protect its freshwater rivers, lakes and streams, they risk becoming infected as in other parts of the world.
    "The board should be commended for taking this proactive step to end the use of felt sole boots and waders in Alaska which are a significant source of transmission of invasive species. Usually it takes a crisis for people to wake up and act. In this case, the board followed the lead of science, vetted the issue thoroughly, and made the right decision for the future health of Alaska fisheries," said Mark Kaelke, TU Southeast Alaska Project Director.
    Aquatic invasive species have devastated fisheries and municipal water systems in many countries and in other parts of the United States. Enormous amounts of money and time have been spent working to eradicate them from the infected waterways. The yearly economic impact of invasive species in the United States is estimated at $133.6 billion.
    Although Alaska's waterways are relatively free of invasive species, TU expects that without proactive measures and increased awareness of potential problems, it is simply a matter of time before invasion occurs.
    "The Board of Fisheries' action will command attention far beyond Alaska. By taking this important step, Alaska becomes the first state in the nation to ban the use of felt sole wading products. That sends an important signal," said Dave Kumlien, executive director of the Montana-based Whirling Disease Foundation.
    Friday's action is the second time the Board of Fisheries has passed a ban on felt sole wading products. In response to a proposal by Juneau Trout Unlimited Chapter Member, Mark Vinsel, the board in 2009 agreed to ban the use of felt sole waders and boots in Southeast Alaska's fresh waterways as of January 1, 2011.
    The start date for the Southeast ban has now been extended until January 1, 2012, when the measure takes effect statewide.
    Many retail manufacturers have supported a transition away from the production of felt soled wading products. At present, most major manufacturers offer non-absorbent soled wading boots and several have committed to producing only non felt products in the future. TU urges anglers to always inspect, clean and dry their all fishing gear as a way to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  2. #2

    Default saying it in a press release don't make it so.....

    Other than the last line about cleaning your equipment:

    There is no scientific support of the proposal. It is not supported by anything but speculation and the statement that felt stays wet longer than rubber soles. That's not enough. If anyone has any real studies involving science, then post away and we can talk. If you know anyone who has cleaned some felt, some rubber, some neoprene, and shown that the felt, beyond that, still transmits vectors in a disproportionate maneer, then post away. Saying that felt stays wet for a long time is not enough evidence.

    And saying "felt is bad" and it is shown by "science" it again and again in press releases, which you again quote in a regulation change proposal, don't make it so.....

    It's a sad day for sportfishing management when get's armtwisted by activists. At least that's the appearance. No reference to study. Talk about "vetting". Where? what? who?

    If people don't clean their equipment, ADFG would be better off not issuing out-of-state licenses to residents of Montana, Colorado, or New Zealand, whether or not they ban felt. Or quarantining affected systems within states (something that I think should be done in my home state). And let's see them support some scientific study. How about supporting some effective field cleaning methods and protocols for people who move from one system to the other, whether they are wearing felt or anything else. Do you see TU proposing, supporting or studying any of that?

    No. What you do see is TU boasting about felt, and stating nothing more. The problem remains in its entirety, and banning felt alone does nothing about it.

    More misguided, unsupported propaganda. This is not helpful.

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Good to hear both sides of the story.

    Thanks Wyo2Ak for sharing the article.

    Thanks to Steve for the insights.

    Seems folks fishing in Alaska have no choice on the matter so I guess it doesn't matter where our idealogy lies. I for one have never had stockingfoot waders. Just ordered some from Simms a week or two ago. I ordered two pairs of wading boots. The Vibram 360 soled boots were out of stock till mid May (in size 16). I am going to SE Alaska in early may. Go figure? So I found a pair of felt soled boots, identical models in size 16, and ordered them as it was the only choice I had in my size. So I will have both. Looking forward to using both so I can better understand why someone would have such a strong preference for one versus the other. In either case, I will have one year of fishing in Alaska to enjoy both pairs. Come 2012, the choice has been made for me. Makes no difference how I feel about it at that point.



    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  4. #4
    Member ADUKHNT's Avatar
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    I am glad they are doing and they gave us two years to wear out the ones we have now...guess I better fish more. I hate to buy a new pair of boots if the old ones are not worn out.......

    Anyone ever used Krokers with the replaceable bottoms so you can switch from street shoe bottoms to felt or spikes as you choose?
    I have such a hard time trying to decide which outdoor activity to do every chance I get!! Living in AK is a mental challenge

  5. #5

    Default what new zealand thinks of the felt ban

    http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/print....=3428&pid=news


    perhaps neglected old news (two years ago), but the counterarguments apply here.

  6. #6
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    steve... I agree with you completely. And I appreciate the post to that article - I hadn't seen that before and it's interesting reading.

    I think that TU and others pushing for this ban truly think that this idea is for the best and they're doing the right thing.

    That said...
    I don't think there's any evidence that felt soles are a major contributor to the spread of invasives, and I don't think banning felt is going to fix any problems.
    I think the board of fisheries is misguided in addressing the issue of invasives.
    I think this is going to be far more trouble than it's worth.

    Okay... so felt may transmit invasive species. So can waders, fleece clothing, shoelaces, nets, anchor ropes, etc. So can balast water. So can vegetation on boats, cars, bikes?, whatever. So can someone's dog after a few rounds of fetch. I think the money F&G is going to spend trying to enforce this could far be better spent through education and information teaching people why they should care about invasives and how they can do their part to slow their spread.

    As mentioned in the article steve posted, they don't believe it was fishermen who introduces didymo to New Zealand. They're not sure how whirling disease crossed the Atlantic and ended up in North America, but the number one cause of it's spread since then is through hatcheries. So I guess fishermen are to blame, at least partly on that one. But when you consider that Colorado, probably the worst of the bunch, knowingly stocked fish from infected hatcheries from 1988 to 2003, no wonder we're in such a mess. Think of how many people who fish Colorado also fish waters of surrounding states... and carry that out a ways. Hatcheries have been bad news in a lot of ways. So now felt is going to solve the problem?

    On a side note, the environmental aspects aside, I can't imagine how this is going to affect the fishing industry and associated businesses relying on incoming cash from out of state visitors. As the only state (and a state that is a huge destination for traveling anglers) with the felt sole ban, now every fly fisherman hoping to travel to AK has to have a special wading boot just to go there. I'm quite interested to see how that shakes out... Sure there are folks like Dan who love it enough and will just bite the bullet, but for the less dedicated I can see having to invest in a new pair of boots just to step foot in a river being a significant deterent - especially if some more (functional) alternatives don't become available and prices drop accordingly. And you can (try to) make the argument that New Zealand expects the same out of visiting fly fishers, but the number of Americans visiting Alaska vs New Zealand - talking about the casual to mildly obsessed (not the true fly fishing fanatics) - can't be comparable.

    Consider that the spores that cause whirling disease can survive decades after being dried out/frozen. Call me a pessimist, but at this point I think we're just delaying the inevitable. Not that I don't want to delay it as long as possible, but I don't think singling out felt soles is going to make a difference in the end. The hope lies in widespread education - and I see this ban just misleading people into thinking "problem solved. guess I don't need to worry about hosing off the boat."
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  7. #7

    Default the science...

    Here is some interesting reading on the science that has started this ball rolling: http://www.stopans.org/Science_of_felt.php

    Now it's a mute point to me personally because I went to a pair of Simms rubber soled wading boots last year. I DID not do it "because it was right for the waters I fish". I do bounce back and forth from Idaho to Montana.

    The reason I went to the rubber soled boots was that my felts were shot and I was interested in the rubber bottom boots for the following reasons:

    1. I wanted a sole that didn't take two days to dry out.
    2. I wanted a boot that was good for a 1/2 mile rocky hike into a favorite stream that didn't pack a quart of water on the way out.
    3. I was tired of slipping on my butt in steep grassy spots. (ok, studs would have stopped this but I wasn't stud-educated)
    4. I like to duck hunt (and winter steelhead fish) and there is nothing worse on ice than a pair of felts that are starting to freeze. (ok, the stud issue would have helped but when it's 15F you are still looking having your felts freeze quickly).

    And... I'm happy with the boots. I was not real happy until I added studs. I'm going to estimate that I will fish +100 days this year in some fairly aggressive rock bottoms... I'm predicting my boots will need to be replaced next spring, and guess, what, I'll buy the rubber bottom boots, add some brand new spanking studs.

    I like 'em!

    L

  8. #8
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADUKHNT View Post
    Anyone ever used Krokers with the replaceable bottoms so you can switch from street shoe bottoms to felt or spikes as you choose?

    I preparation for the ban I found some Korker Wetlands in very small sizes for my kid. They were on a very steep discount and I have to buy the studded rubber inserts directly from Korkers since no one stocks them that small of a size.

    My kid as only worn them around the house but she says they are much more comfortable than what she used to wear - rubber wading boots with felt glued on.

    I changed the bottoms out when the boots first showed up, and they are tough to do when ice cold since the rubber sole of the boot does not flex to let the insert pop in. Once they warmed up to room temp the inserts popped in fine. However, my kid can not do it on her own without my help and some jumping up and down to force the insert into the boot sole. My own weight and it is no problem.

    I plan on buying a pair for myself this spring since they will be very handy for hiking up the canyon on the Russian.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer View Post
    Here is some interesting reading on the science that has started this ball rolling: http://www.stopans.org/Science_of_felt.php


    L
    That website is exactly what I was talking about...it is not science. It says that felt gets wet and dirty and if not cleaned, may transmit vectors. It doesn't show what happens if you try to clean felt, or how that compares to other equipment materials, cleaned or not.

  10. #10
    Member AK Trout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer View Post
    Here is some interesting reading on the science that has started this ball rolling: http://www.stopans.org/Science_of_felt.php


    L
    Haha thats the farthest thing from a scientific article, no sources citied, or peer reveiwed, he says that there is scientific proof but fails to recognize it. Interesting article but thats about it, I hope there decision was based on hard science!

    -Trout

    "I Envy Him And Him Only, That Catches More Fish Than I Do" Izaac Walton 1653
    The question of hunting is not a matter of life or death... it's more important than that

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Trout View Post
    Haha thats the farthest thing from a scientific article, no sources citied, or peer reveiwed, he says that there is scientific proof but fails to recognize it. Interesting article but thats about it, I hope there decision was based on hard science!

    -Trout
    Huh? I opened the cited masters thesis by Gates and it gets pretty down and dirty at about page 63 in reference to felt....

    Isn't a master's thesis a peer reviewed scientific study?

    I'm NOT trying to start an argument here.

    L

  12. #12
    Member AK Trout's Avatar
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    Lazar,
    You got me, At second glance you are correct, I overlooked that it was a summary article, with a couple of papers as support, kinda of a werid way to write up a summary, but maybe fisheries has a different format than what I'm used to.

    --trout

    "I Envy Him And Him Only, That Catches More Fish Than I Do" Izaac Walton 1653
    The question of hunting is not a matter of life or death... it's more important than that

  13. #13

    Cool I need felt sole boots to fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am don't know about most people, but need the felt sole on my boots,I've had 9 knee operations on my right knee and I have two ruptured and three herniated disk. When I can go fishing I need boots that give me good traction to keep from falling. I'm 65 going 66 when I going fishing. I have yet to find a sole other than felt that does what i need. If the BOF had done a little research they would of found out, 60 seconds in bleach water would kill anything left over on a pair of felt sole and seams of all boots.

    Big Fisherman

  14. #14
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    Trout Unlimited needs to be a little more selective in choosing their battles. With this ban TU can kiss off ever stopping the Pebble Mine.

    This ban will apply to all fishermen, not just fly fishermen. Take a look around you when you are out fishing the streams of Alaska. Other than the elitist snob lodges and fisheries the majority of the fisherman are not fly fisherman. The resident non-fly fishermen are less likely to support the felt ban. Why would they ? Most of them are locals that only fish their local streams. And now thanks to TU they can not use the fishing gear that they purchased on their local streams. These are not the elitist snob fishermen who fly in and pay big bucks to fish in luxury and then return to their non-Alaskan place of residence. These are voters who spend the winters here and just want to enjoy the summers in peace catching salmon on their favorite stream. It is very clear to these voters than TU is responsible for the felt ban. Unfortunately I'm afraid that local fly fishermen will be blamed too. When the troopers give some spin caster a citation for salmon fishing on the shore at Willow Creek in his felt lined hip waders that have never seen another stream he is going to blame TU. And then when TU floods the Alaskan media with it's Anti-Pebble mine advertising before the next time it is on the ballot he is going to be bitter and associate TU with the felt ban and vote for the mine. One thing that Alaskan voters do not like is to be told what to do by outside interests. That is one reason that Pebble Mine won the last election. TU and the other outside interests might as well save their advertising dollars in the next election. TU may be able to convince the Board of Fisheries to ban felt, but they can not convince the voters of Alaska how to vote. With this ban they may have pleased a few fly fishermen, but have lost the support of the majority of the fisherman in Alaska. I voted against the mine last time, but I will never support anything that TU supports in the future. Convincing manufacturers to discontinue felt products was a good thing. But when an elitist snob organization like TU proposes regulations that deprive ordinary fishermen from using gear they paid good money for is crossing the line.

    Instead of banning felt soles perhaps they should have banned out of state fisherman. Oh, but that's right, TU, the lodges, and guides who supported the felt ban want the out of state fishermen so that they can line their pockets so they can spend their winters outside of Alaska! Instead perhaps they should just put a hefty head tax of $500 or more on every elitist snob TU supporting fishermen who uses the exclusive lodges and private waters. The head taxes could be used for providing non-felt waders for resident Alaskans with low incomes so that they can continue to fish for the salmon that will feed their families throughout the winter.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfisherman View Post
    I am don't know about most people, but need the felt sole on my boots,I've had 9 knee operations on my right knee and I have two ruptured and three herniated disk. When I can go fishing I need boots that give me good traction to keep from falling. I'm 65 going 66 when I going fishing. I have yet to find a sole other than felt that does what i need. If the BOF had done a little research they would of found out, 60 seconds in bleach water would kill anything left over on a pair of felt sole and seams of all boots.

    Big Fisherman
    Big:

    I hear you. I'm 58 and will probably have to have a knee replacement by the time I hit your age. As I stated below, I bought rubber soled wading boots and was not satisfied with them until I added studs. Lots of studs. By 2012 I hope your current wading boots are wore out and in need of replacement 'cause you fished so much two summers in a row.... buy some good rubber bottom wading shoes and go liberal on the studs and you'll do just fine.

    Tight lines!

    L

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Trout View Post
    Lazar,
    You got me, At second glance you are correct, I overlooked that it was a summary article, with a couple of papers as support, kinda of a werid way to write up a summary, but maybe fisheries has a different format than what I'm used to.

    --trout
    Trout:

    No, I don't feel "I got you". We are all here on this forum 'cause we love our sport and the places fishing takes us.

    This forum is here to shake out a lot of ideas associated with our passion. I found out a long time ago that even when I KNOW I'm right, I just might not be...

    Tight lines and all the best,

    L

  17. #17
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default False alarm? False hope? Asleep at the wheel?

    Thanks for posting this Wyo2Ak. Sometimes $0.02 is costly .

    Nothing wrong with argument, a spirited discussion, but another thread on felt soles didn’t settle anything. Like it or not, there is widespread concern about this rule that's made it into law. Are they right? Only time will tell.

    Two points: 1). Information varies in reliability: Although the Internet famously gives us access to an overwhelming quantity of information nowadays, the quality varies. 2). Some processes are enormous or slow moving to the point that any effort to understand the significance of a report is limited by the...well, like those 5 blind men describing an elephant. My hope is that among concerned outdoorsfolk, there's widespread agreement about these ideas.

    I say, make up your own mind - but be patient. There's no rush to conclusion. Wyo2Ak, the messenger, brought us a report and it’ll be up to each of us to ponder, but is there a real point in trying to rush to a conclusion about something that if true, might be a large, important problem, or might be nothing? When a problem is big, complex or slow moving, any “study” or report, even if well-intentioned, might miss the big picture. The best we can hope for individually is to find a patient winnowing process that effectively harvests the truth of it all eventually. We can’t really solve anything or know the whole story just yet. Trying to “settle” anything, who “wins”?

    Time will tell. Of course, the trick though if there is a threat, is to recognize the situation in time. A lot of folks who care about Alaska streams read and/or comment here. Maybe ...just maybe, some have begun to act. It doesn't hurt to pause here and wonder, "you could be right". Heaven knows there's good reason to be cautious about early reports on some issues affecting the quality of life we enjoy outdoors. We, civilized western society, do plenty to streams that potentially disrupts the -often already perfect - natural order. I think there is a place for healthy skepticism, sure - but we are all dependent on mostly indirect information from imperfect sources. Maybe the reports aren't true, but at the same time, what else threatens streams that hasn't been noticed yet?

    If we don't find some way to bicker less...to avoid divisiveness for the sake of understanding, we might miss the larger more important points. When Wyo2Ak or others post information, maybe it’s healthy to doubt, but wholesale discounting of organizations just doesn't count much to an audience of concerned outdoorsfolk who are already watching the issue from a good overlook. It doesn't contribute that much to the overall discussion - and in this case particularly when the number of organizations is growing. Saying it isn't true with information helps. Discrediting a growing list of concerned groups...is less convincing, especially when the sincerest question is, "what if this is true?"

    I saw one of those “wag more, bark less" stickers the other day. As long as we maintain some situational awareness and patience, there's appeal in that idea. Information broadens our understanding, but perspective takes time and a longer view.

    Here are some old documented adverse effects of human development on streams that have given me pause in the past:
    http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing...advisories.asp
    http://www.smokymountainnews.com/iss...mn_pigeon.html


  18. #18

    Default unpublished MS shows nothing, NOT peer-reviewed

    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer View Post
    Huh? I opened the cited masters thesis by Gates and it gets pretty down and dirty at about page 63 in reference to felt....

    Isn't a master's thesis a peer reviewed scientific study?


    I'm NOT trying to start an argument here.

    L
    The plain answer is NO. The term "peer-review" refers to submittal and review by an editorial review board of a open, competitive submission, scientific journal. An unpublished MS thesis, reviewed by a student's advisor and MS committee members, is not a "peer-review" as such.

    However, even if it was published, this MS says nothing about anything other than examination of felt and other materials after they get dirty; and does not examine them after attempts at cleaning.

    Most importantly, transmission of the vector, from a cleaned piece of equipment, into an environment (of course and experimental environment), was not studied. All we have are pictures and , a vague discussion of the obvious (felt has more interstial space, aka, like a towel), and more that doesn't even support the ban. For example, that study included release of myxospores from different material, and none came out of felt!

    So what does that tell you? If material is dirty, rubber and neoprene are more like to transmit the myxospores. Now, I'm not advocating people not clean equipment, but the insinuation that since myxospores are "in" even UNCLEANED felt, but it doesn't come out of it....well....I'm not sure that's the sort of "evidence" that would make me support a ban on the material. It's really not even the right type of study design or measurement methods to examine the issue. What is shows, is the reverse, that dirt comes off of rubber. So, what are they going to do next? Ban Vibram?

    No one is going to pretend that materials are sterile after cleaning. But transmission is a function of inoculum size with these kinds of micro-organisms, just as it is for human disease. If cleaning brings the residual presence down to an acceptable level, well, then it's not the material's problem. It's the person who wears it, and doesn't clean it, or anything else.

    But it's a well-written MS, FWIW. It's not peer-reviewed.

  19. #19
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    BOI: Board Of Ignorants... be willing to wager little science of potential invasive species (or even wading a river of swift, cold water) hardly played a role in decision making.

    No 'felt' on slippery stones... folks 'll be a feelin'!!! Grippy rubber is better than than joe shoe, but not like sure-footed felt. Alternative is studding... not a good set-up for inflatable boats, hard shell drifters, jet sleds, or cataraft floors. Float planes are not fans of studs either.

    Much of off-road system river access here in Alaska is run with inflatables. This 'no felt left behind' presents a major safety issue for people out enjoying Alaska sportfishing (& boating) come 2012. This is personal protective equipment!!!

    Problem with this board is that it continually demonstrates not having any real sense of balanced representation for folks who actually study the science first hand or sportfish... specifically people that like a day, week, and more wading or floating in a raft.

  20. #20

    Default

    I just cashed in some Cabela's bucks and a coupon to get some of those simms vibram wading shoes for just under $200 which I received today. It's going to take about 2 minutes in the water next time fishing to figure out if they either work, or I was another victim of marketing. I'll let you know. Anyway, something to wear in the snow, +/or in your state in 2 years when this ban takes effect.

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