View Full Version : Cleaning boots, etc.

03-27-2011, 04:16 PM
I had the opportunity to fish the S. Holston with some fellows this Saturday. I need to clean my stuff to get rid of the didymo. Clorox solution- soak the entire boot or just the soles? How much Clorox? Fly line? Wading staff? It's a folding one and gets water inside. Any help will be appreciated.
Oh yes- caught and released two browns and lost three. The ones I lost were all over 5 pounds.:biggrin: Others had much better luck but my flies were too large for the BWO and midges. Swallows were flying around, feasting on the insect buffet. Looking forward to going back to the SH. I was told that there was a good sulphur hatch later this spring/summer.

03-27-2011, 07:41 PM
John, check out the thread http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9705&highlight=didymo

... especially Paula's post.

Sounds like you had a great trip.

03-28-2011, 07:22 PM
Many thanks! I recall the post by Frank Fiss. Will get them taken care of tomorrow morning. Freezer is full of goodies (no trout) and I may find some room by shuffling some things around.

04-04-2011, 04:09 AM
I'm wondering: If freezing your boots overnight works..........why all the new rubber soled wading boots? And if you're out in the Park, and you want to use the bleach method, what do you then do with the bleach-water after you're done. I can just see anglers pouring it down drains, etc. uugh.

04-04-2011, 09:22 AM
I would clean not just your boots. After a trip, I clean all of my gear that might have been in the water, including the rod, reel, and fly lines. Hit the waders also. The gravel guards are a good place for didymo to hide. I haven't heard about freezing boots, but letting the gear air dry for several days seems to work also.


04-04-2011, 02:24 PM
Found this link that explains several methods of treating the dreaded didymo.



04-07-2011, 01:08 AM
I initially tried to keep 2 pairs of waders and boots. One for tail waters with didymo, and one for streams without it. After some research though I've come to the conclusion that this stuff isn't as much as a threat as I initially though. It can only survive in a narrow range of water temps, and so far as I know, it's only in our tail waters in the southeast. Although it might be able to survive in a spring creek with just the right temperature. The typical freestone in the park gets too cold in the winter for it to survive, and too warm in the summer for it to survive. If you'll notice even in the tail waters where it's found it is usually only bad in certain parts of the river that are within the narrow range of temperature it thrives. I'm not saying to stop treating your gear, but I'm not sure that some of the measures we are taking, like the elimination of felt are completely necessary.

04-07-2011, 08:50 AM

Earlier this year, there was a LIVELY discussion about the pros & cons of felt vs "sticky rubber" boot soles on this forum.

I'm with you on this in that I'm not sure about how much fly fishers contribute to the problem. I say that because there are other ways that didymo can be spread, such as eagles, ospreys, kingfishers, bears, otters, and recreational boaters. Some states, and even countries have banned felt soles in their headlong rush to regulate fly flingers, supposedly to limit the spread of didymo. I would guess that fly fishers represent a very very small amount of those who use lakes, rivers, tailwaters, and streams.

My $0.02


04-07-2011, 09:06 PM
Please read this post for content, then re-read it.

Didymo was first discovered (recognized) in the rivers on Van Cover Island, BC. If those waters aren't cold, I don't which ones are! Didymo prefers cold water streams, like the water that comes from under a dam on a deep lake. South Holston! Watauga! Norris lake!

It spreads for any number of reasons, including animals, water fowl, and people, and the water itself. Scouring events tend to kill it off.

It seems "they" are satisfied with blaming its spread on fisherman. Yet in Vancover, where it was first discovered, it completely disappeared some years from the river system with no ones assistance, despite the fact that fisherman still fished there. They can't explain that one yet.

Didymo is a natural resident of North America in cold water streams.

If you research the Biosystems study in New Zealand, you will find that they suggested that copper sulfate solution was the most effective way to kill didymo. They later backed down from their statement about 2% bleach being the answer, simply because it will not penetrate deep enough into the felt to kill it all. Air pockets!

Copper sulfate will and it will leave a dry barrier for didymo that goes on killing after the boots are dry and the didymo attempts to migrate. Plus, this dried barrier will re-dissolve in "new" water and disperse. If didymo is present in the new water, the left over solution will kill it on contact.

Copper sulfate is a contact killer of all algae, yet it does not harm any other organism. The presence of high concentrations of carbon dioxide from the decay of didymo will kill other amphibians, if they do not have "escape" water to go to. So when we use it on ponds, we only treat 1/3 of the water surface, and nothing else is affected.

Didymo survives heat, freezing, and bleach! You can not supply enough heat to kill it because that much heat will melt your waders. It survives Canadian and Alaskan winters where the temperature is 55 degrees below zero, for 9 months.

But it can't survive copper sulfate solution. Copper sulfate is that bluish green powder that forms around the battery post on your car battery. Put a penny in some winegar, let it dry, let it sit for a time, wallah! copper sulfate!

That's what we have been killing complex algae's in the US in farm ponds for over fifty years I know of. And Biosystems New Zealand even stated so.

Mix a handful of copper sulfate crystals to a five gallon bucket of warm water, stir it, then soak you felts, overnight if you like. It kills instantly and any residual, dried or wet copper sulfate mix that remains will keep on killing the didymo for a period of time to come.

But don't use it on any metallic surface such as a fly reel, without flushing it thoroughly with water, and then wiping the reel off THOROUGHLY (not shouting, just emphasizing) with an "oily" rag afterwards. Vegetable oil is fine. Copper Sulfate is a corrosive to metal.

But don't take my word for it. Read all the research studies at TU.org if they are still up on their website, and form your own opinion.

Years from now, when everybody has burned their felts and replaced all their fishing gear, flies (how many of you clean your flies? If not you're spreading didymo), and what not, and the "plague of didymo" is still raging, maybe then people will realize how much of hoax the whole thing has been.

I clean my stuff, but I use the same solution that I have successfully used to completely kill seven different algaes in my farm pond for years. And in less than 36 hrs. the algae mats are lying dead, brown, and deep on the bottom of my pond.

And guess what, it came in with the mallards when they landed on the pond, along with water weed, cattails, and a number of other weeds. My pond is on a high ridge, and is man made with absolutely NO run off from anywhere but my lawn and rain gutters, going into it.

But then again, maybe all those bull frogs spread it to the pond when they took their first dump in their new home.

04-07-2011, 09:36 PM
Good info Whitefeather, I'm still reading and researching the whole mess. Maybe what I understood was that it thrived and became a problem under a narrow range of certain conditions. I wonder if the fact that so many of our mountain freestone streams are shady has helped keep it to a minimum in the park? I was surprised to find that it could withstand such a range of conditions.

04-08-2011, 10:01 AM
Good info Whitefeather, I'm still reading and researching the whole mess. Maybe what I understood was that it thrived and became a problem under a narrow range of certain conditions. I wonder if the fact that so many of our mountain freestone streams are shady has helped keep it to a minimum in the park? I was surprised to find that it could withstand such a range of conditions.


Good for you! That's all I ask, as a fellow fisherman, is for people to be informed, decide for themselves, and not be hoodwinked.

Is didymo a problem? Absolutely! Do we need to clean our gear? Absolutely! To help stop the problem, but not to stop it entirely because there are far too many factors being left out of the information loop that are far greater contributors to its spread than fisherman.

But it's not Armageddon and there is a reliable solution without "re-tooling" the entire fishing industry.

Think of this. Did didymo just show up recently in the last few years?

Absolutely not! It's always been here!

It's just that science and research grants and "evolving partnerships" and the news media have finally revolved to this subject, focused on it, and adopted it into their long term campaign plans. Then publicized it like "chicken little", trying their best to make it appear to be an invasive, which it is not in North America, so they can lump it in with the other true invasives, to get more money flowing in the "grant" industry and the economy racked fishing industry.

IMO, when TU partnered with the Utah Fish and Game commission, as requested by UFG, to help stop the spread of didymo, it was in Utah's selfish interest to use TU and the money they generate from other parts of the country to stop the "didymo contaminated fisherman" from other parts of the country from spreading the algae into Utah's waters, with TU's support and blessing, knowing that they reach a wide audience. Therefore the ban on felts and TU's campaign for a ban on felts nationwide.

If the 2% bleach solution works (rhetorical) then why the bans on felts? A felt ban is not going to stop didymo from spreading from a contaminated nymph fly, one iota! Do you want to bleach all your flies after you use them? You'll be doing a lot more tying new ones to replace the ones that the bleach has destroyed! Bleach denatures rubber and vinyl, by the way, and causes it to weaken and eventually crumble.

There are far more ducks going from steam to stream than fisherman. And beaver, otters, bears, coyotes, geese, escaped monkeys from the zoo, and all other migrating wildlife, and so on.

Ban them too? Nah, they don't spend money.

And, didymo traveling from stream to stream at least a hundred more
different ways than is being said. People, their clothes, their vehicles, ATV's, boats, pets, you name it.

Think of this. That new batch of fly tying feathers, saddles, partridge, and pheasant that you just received in the mail, just might be contaminated with didymo spores, and you'd never even know it.

Yes, I am passionate about this subject. I'm just tired of being (as a fisherman) a victim of clever marketing schemes.

04-11-2011, 06:51 AM
Whitefeather, thanks for the info. Copper sheeting was applied to the old wood ships to prevent barnacles from attaching to the hull.
The latest issue of Flyfisherman magazine had a review of shoes that had a ratcheting cable system that eliminated laces. Laces were eliminated since they could be a harbor for unwanted stuff. I was going to quote Ross Purnell's statement but the magazine has a statement against using any content without permission. Basically, he said that there is no magic wand to prevent didymo, et al., but emphasized that need to clean all your gear.