The Alaska Board of Fisheries voted unanimously last week to ban felt-soled waders in Alaska freshwaters effective Jan. 1, 2012, out of concern they could transport invasive aquatic species between water bodies.
Trout Unlimited, a national fisheries conservation group, made the push for the ban, arguing that felt stays wet longer than rubber boots and can carry more sediment.
Felt-soled waders were due to be banned the beginning of 2011 in Southeast, however that change will now occur at a later date.The ban will only apply to anglers. Duck hunters for example, who also use waders, will not be subject to the ruling.
Local angler advocacy groups were tacit on the issue.
Ricky Gease, executive director of the Kenai River Sport Fishing Association in Soldotna offered no comment on the ruling as did Dwight Kramer, chairman of the Kenai Area Fishermen's Coalition.