Cleaning and Disinfecting your Fly Fishing Gear

Cleaning and Disinfecting your Fly Fishing Gear:
Aquatic and Fisheries Equipment Cleaning Procedures and Practices for Anglers

Cleaning and disinfecting your fly fishing gear is becoming more and more necessary every day.  It is very important that anglers clean their waders, hippers, wading shoes, and nets after each fishing trip. This aquatic biosecurity policy is primarily in response to the range expansion of Didymosphenia geminate (didymo) but pertains to other aquatic exotic species as well. Aquatic Nuisance Species have been found in many streams throughout North America. When leaving a stream/ river or before entering another stream/ river please follow one of the following disinfection options. For those attending our On-The-Stream Fly Fishing Schools or Guided Fishing Trips please take the time to disinfect your equipment/ wading gear. Should you not have the resources available to disinfect your gear, please inform your guide prior to departure to the stream.

To date there are three streams in Virginia infected with Didymo; they are the Pound River, Smith River and Jackson River. Numerous streams in West Virginia and Maryland are affected as well.

Follow this link to listen to Harry’s Podcast on Aquatic Nuisance Species

Disinfection Options – February 2010 (adapted from Biosecurity New Zealand/National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. )

Treatment % Solution Formula Duration Gear to treat
Dish detergent (Dawn or Palmolive) 5% 1 cup per gallon of water Greater than a minute
30+ minutes for felt
All gear
Salt 5% 2 cups per 2.5 gallon waterOR
1 pound per 5 gallons water
Greater than a minute30+ minutes for felt Non-metallic items
Drying Greater than 48 hours All gear
Freezing Until frozen solid Porous gear

5% Detergent Solution For a one or more minute soak. 1 cup Dawn or Palmolive dish detergent per gallon of water will be used. Felt soled waders and PIBS foam will have to soak at least 30 minutes or more. Soaked gear will be rinsed with tap water after soaking.Note: Organic/green type detergents have been found ineffective at killing didymo so please use the approved products.Disinfection Methods and Gear Precautions

5% Salt Solution For a one or more minute soak. Felt soled waders will have to soak at least 30 minutes or more. 2 cups of salt per 2.5 gallons water OR 1 pound salt for 5 gallons of water will be used. Gear will be rinsed with tap water after soaking. Rock, salt, water softener salt, or regular salt from Southern States will work.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Video on Jackson River Didymo Infestation

For more information on Invasive Species and Aquatic Nuisance Species and how to prevent the spread, check out the “Clean Angling Coalition” and take the “Clean Angling Pledge”