Recently, the Times-News published
a photograph of sea gulls that had
landed on the parking lot at Braddock
Center in LaVale
My first thought
was, “If those sea
gulls landed in the
Gunpowder River or
Big Hunting Creek
on their way here
from the ocean I
hope they didn’t have
felt soles on their
feet, otherwise they
will spread rock snot
to our trout streams
in Allegany and Garrett counties.”
Educated speculation continues to
mount about why rock snot or didymo
— an obtrusive algae — is found in
cold water streams and it has nothing
to do with felt-soled waders, which
were outlawed by the Maryland Fisheries
Service in 2011.
Back in August I told you about the
study indicating that didymo is native
to North American streams and
becomes active when phosphorous
reaches a certain level in the water.
Now comes an article in Live Science
with a lead paragraph by author
Elizabeth Howell that says, “A pesky
species of algae — sometimes called
rock snot due to the way its tendrils
attach to rocks in waterways — is
infiltrating parts of eastern Canada
due to global warming and not accidental
introductions from humans
tromping around, a new study suggests.”
Howell writes, “One lake studied in
the Gaspésie region of Quebec
showed fossilized Didymosphenia
geminata (one species of didymo)
dating back to about 1970, or 36 years
before the first official reports of an
outbreak were recorded in the
The research behind these findings
was done at Queen’s University in
But you heard it here first, back in
2010, when we called the decision to
prohibit felt soles in Maryland illadvised,
unscientific, knee-jerk, feelgood
Look at us, the Maryland Fisheries
Service seemed to say, we really care
about our trout streams so we are
going to make your $200 chest waders
Apparently, a few years ago, the
banning of felt soles was being offered
by the Regulation of the Month Club
and Maryland subscribed.
Have other states prohibited felt
Alaska, Missouri, Nebraska, Rhode
Island, South Dakota and Vermont
have done so. But the fervor forbidding
felt seems to have fizzled. Other
states considered such bans, but it is
becoming clear that their wait-and-see
approaches were appropriate.
Pennsylvania and West Virginia
have not prohibited felt soles. Is it possible
that resource managers in those
states don’t care about trout? No,
that’s not possible.
Montana, Wyoming and Colorado
still allow felt soles. Do they not have
trout fishing in those states?
When Maryland banned felt soles
because they were SUSPECTED of
transporting didymo, the state did not
ban other things that go in the water
such as lures, lines, boats or the feet of
Read this from the article in Live
Diatoms (single-celled algae such
as didymo) typically are present in
many ecosystems because they’re
easily transported by the wind
between different lakes. “If there’s a
bucket of water on the roof left
overnight, it will be colonized by
diatoms,” researcher Michelle Lavery
told Live Science.
If Maryland Fisheries Service reads
the Live Science article I anticipate a
regulation being enacted that makes
Maryland Fisheries should revisit
this regulation regarding felt soles and
consider eliminating it for 2015 or
sooner, for that matter, based upon an
Then the agency should reach into
the piggy bank and reimburse those
anglers who put their waders in the
closet or retrofitted them to make the
Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at
It’s time to make it illegal for the wind to blow in Maryland
Recently, the Times-News published
- Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
- Sleep under the stars! Be a game warden!
Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim
The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.
Outdoor editor admits making straw purchases
I’ll admit it. I’ve made straw purchases and I’ve made them knowingly.
I can only hope that the individuals to whom I have passed on those purchases used them wisely.
11th Maryland bear hunt scheduled Oct. 20-23
It is getting to be that time of year when those of us who would like to hunt bears in Maryland start thinking about applying for one of the limited number of permits.
Wildlife official protests more Sunday hunts in far W. Md.
Joseph Michael believes that the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service put its regulations cart ahead of its regulations horse, at least when it comes to allowing more hunting on Sundays in the state’s three westernmost counties.
Bear country bowhunters can pack
It has been four years in the legislative making, but people bowhunting for deer in Garrett, Allegany and part of Washington counties will be able to carry handguns to protect themselves from bears. Although bow season will begin Sept. 5, the law does not become effective until Oct. 1. The law applies to Deer Management Region A.
No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe
Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and parasites a place to live.
Black bear biologist explains new hunt
The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.
South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows
I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.
Mettiki will once again produce trout
Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.
- More Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors Headlines