Conservation Dept. puts anglers on alert

Photo Credit: Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Missouri prides itself on beautiful trout fishing parks, like the ones at Bennett Springs and Lake Taneycomo.

But there's a threat lurking just to our south.

The alga called Didymo, or Rock Snot targets cold water streams.

It looks like white, beige or brown carpet in the water.

It has been found in 19 different states including our neighbor Arkansas.

The Missouri Department of Conservation said once didymo gets into a stream there is really no way of controlling it.

"There's no treatment right now. If it was in a pond where the water is just sitting there and the alga was in the water, we could treat it with copper sulfate or something like that and kill it all, MDC Stream Coordination Biologist Mark Van Patten said.

That's why the Missouri Department of Conservation is doing all it can to prevent it from coming to Missouri streams.

The conservation department is trying to ban porous sole waders in trout streams throughout Missouri. They're doing this so anglers that go out of state don't bring back the alga didymo to Missouri TMs streams.

"Typically what we've been finding from the research available is that didymo is transferred from water stream to water stream, by single cells finding their way into the woven material, the felt sole, Van Patten said.

Van Patten told me that it takes only one didymo cell to be transferred into a clean stream and just like that, a new stream is infested with rock snot.

So the conservation department built wash stations at four of the trout parks in Missouri, so anglers can wash off before and after fishing to make sure no algae is on their waders.

"You just simply step down into the salt water solution. There is a brush that's attached to the hand rails that you can scrub your waders down with. You should also check to make sure you don't have any vegetation, algae, or whatever on your waders, Van Patten said. If you do just remove it in the cleaning station."

There may be no way to stop it, but with diligence anglers can work to keep didymo out of trout streams.

If you would like to learn more about didymo please click here.