In the last few months, chances are most of us have talked about the next bug hatch, reminisced about the big one that got away or how flow levels are shaping up at our favorite haunts. For the vast majority of us, however, it may have been a while since we used the phrase “Clean, Drain, Dry”, danced around the topic of clean angling or talked about invasive species.
Not only do invasive species change the way we interact with our environment, they hit us in our wallets and affect recreation-based tourism’s economic stability. For the worst invasives, states spend millions of dollars annually to prevent them from crossing their borders. Then they spend millions more on management if they become established. And in an unprecedented step in 2016, the state of Montana closed the entire Yellowstone river drainage during the height of fishing season for fear of spreading an invasive species.
While few would argue against taking action to protect our resources, for local businesses the drainage-wide closure came at an unavoidable economic cost that no one will soon forget. Imagine, for a moment, how your bottom line would change if your local waters were closed during peak season.
Invasive species are a serious threat to our waters and our businesses. The good news is that we can each play our part in preventing the threat from spreading by stopping at boat check stations and cleaning, draining and drying our gear. That, in a nutshell, is what Clean Angling is all about. All we have to do is make sure, as the saying goes, that we clean, drain, and dry our gear to reduce the chance that we’re spreading the problem.
Cleaning mud and visible debris from boots, waders, boats and trailers can be accomplished at the river’s edge. There’s no need for chemicals; a quick dunk and a scrub does the trick to get any clingers off.
After you’ve cleaned your gear, don’t forget to drain the water out. Dump the water out of your boots before you leave the river you fished. Tip your boat up after you’re finished using it for the day.
Then, let your gear dry. The vast majority of invasives can’t survive outside of moist environments. If you can completely dry your gear between uses, there’s little chance that you’ll spread anything.
Invasive species represent a real threat to our favorite places and to our livelihoods, but we can take personal action to make sure we’re not part of the problem. Let’s remember to be Clean Anglers. Let’s teach our staff to be Clean Anglers. And let’s educate our customers about cleaning. In the coming weeks and months AFFTA and the Invasive Species Action Network will be providing more information about the problem of invasive species and ways to integrate Clean Angling into our businesses. If you’d like to learn more, please email Marya Spoja at firstname.lastname@example.org.