Absorbent items, such as felt-soled waders, wet suits, life jackets require thorough treatment. A single cell can last up to a month on flies, flyline or a spinning reel; just waiting to infest a new watershed.
While there is considerable uncertainty concerning didymo, the main area of agreement among fisheries biologists across the Northeast is that education and spread prevention is the best strategy.
Lessons from New Zealand make it quite clear that human anglers are the primary carriers, although it can be carried by birds, beaver, otter and other aquatic furbearers.
Since didymo can stay alive on gear for months, it is vitally important that anglers disinfect gear after use particularly, when traveling between fishing locations, even on different stretches of the same river.
The accepted practice is referred to as the "Check-Clean-Dry" approach. It entails checking gear to remove visible lumps, followed by cleaning and soaking all equipment in a 5 percent solution of detergent with water at least 140 degrees (1 cup mixed with a gallon of hot water) or in a 2 percent bleach solution. Then, dry the gear completely before storage.
Though it poses no real health risks, it can significantly compromise a river's value, and adversely affect an entire region's economy through a reduction in fisheries, tourism and even hydropower.
Just one angler can cause irreparable damage to an entire ecosystem; please don't be the one.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org