Felt and Aquatic Invasive Species

All kinds of equipment, vehicles and materials can transport invasive species to new locations. But felt has been the focus of attention for its ability to trap and transport invasive species. Studies have shown that sediment and invasive species can be trapped in felt.

Used on fishing boots and other river shoes, felt is a porous material that can be difficult to clean and dry. Some management agencies have taken measures to restrict the use of felt to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Keep in mind, other materials can also transport invasive species. We have provided a number of resources here for you to learn more on the issue of felt and invasive species.

Whether you choose felt or rubber soled shoes, we advocate cleaning, draining and drying your gear. If you are in the area, visit any boot cleaning station distributed in the Greater Yellowstone Area. 

Felt Resources

Further Reading

The Science of Felt

Cleaning: Does It Make a Difference?

Tips for Careful Cleaning

Boot Cleaning Station Locations

Felt Regulations

Since 2009 there has been an increasing move toward restricting the use of felt soled waders and wading boots. We have created this page to provide a single source of information about all of the felt bans in the USA.

There are two basic approaches to creating these restrictions. In some states the bans are created through legislative action. That is, their legislatures have debated and passed a law that has been signed by the Governor. Other bans are created by administrative action. These bans are implemented by the action of a Fish & Game Commission, by Agency rule making authority or through other administrative action. Understanding the process through which new regulations are developed is important for anyone who wishes to have a voice in the process.

The following tables offer a brief overview of the status of felt restrictions in the US. This page is updated with any significant changes in an attempt to provide a comprehensive listing of felt restrictions. If you have information about any felt restriction proposals that are not included please contact us with information.

This page is current! We try to track every felt regulation in the USA and we update this page whenever there is new information available.

States That Have Considered or Passed Felt Bans

Proposal: Statewide ban on use of felt
Proposal: Status Adopted by unanimous vote 3/19/2010
Implementation Date: January 1, 2012
Type of regulation: Administrative – State Fisheries Commission
Bill Number: N/A
Last Updated 2-25-2011
Proposal Status: Ban implemented March 21, 2011
Proposal: Bans use of felt in all Maryland waters
Implementation Date: 3-21-2011
Type of regulation: Administrative
Bill Number: N/A
Last Update: 2-25-2011
Proposal Status: Ban Approved subject to final implementation
Proposal: Ban use of felt
Implementation Date: 3-1-2012
Type of regulation: Administrative Rule
Bill Number: N/A
Additional information: The Missouri Conservation Commission has approved a regulation change banning the use of porous-soled waders or footwear incorporating or having attached a porous sole of felted, matted, or woven fibrous material when fishing in trout parks and other specific trout waters. Pending public comment through the Secretary of State’s office, the new regulation will go into effect March 1, 2012, the opening day of catch-and-keep fishing at Missouri’s four trout parks.
Last Update: 10-20-2011
Proposal: Statewide ban on the use of felt
Proposal Status: Effective January 1, 2013 as published in 2013 Fishing Regulations
Implementation Date: January 1, 2013
Type of regulation: Administrative
Bill Number: N/A
Additional information: See Nebraska Fishing Regulations
Last Updated: 3-21-2013
Proposal Status: Statewide ban in place
Proposal: It is prohibited that any person use foot gear with external felt soles in any state waters, inclusive of freshwater, tidal, or marine. This shall include any waters shared with adjacent states in which any Rhode Island Fishing Regulations apply.
Implementation Date: January 1, 2012
Type of regulation: Administrative – Regulation Change
Bill Number:  N/A
Additional information: See Rhode Island fishing regulations Regulation 1.17, page 9
Last Update: 12/28/2011
Proposal Status: Ban implemented on 12-15-2013
Proposal: Statewide ban on felt
Implementation Date: 12-15-2013
Type of regulation: Administrative
Bill Number: N/A
Additional information: South Dakota Administrative Rule 41:07:01:18 Felt sole footwear prohibited. No external felt sole footwear including boots and waders may be used in the waters of the state, except that a state or federal employee or emergency personnel, including fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical technician personnel, may use external felt sole footwear in the discharge of official duties. Source: Law Implemented: SDCL 41-2-18(1)(5) General Authority: SDCL 41-2-18(1)(5) News Article
Last Updated: 1-3-2014
Proposal Status: Felt Ban on all waters effective March 8, 2018
Proposal: Felt Ban on all Yellowstone Park waters
Implementation Date: March 8, 2018
Type of regulation: Administrative
Bill Number: N/A
Additional information Announcement
Last Update: 3-8-18

States That Have Considered Felt Bans – No Current Restrictions

Proposal Status: Resolution Adopted 4-7-2011
Resolution Idaho congratulates those fishing tackle manufacturers that offer alternatives to felt soles, for their foresight and efforts to offer products that reduce the threat and potential transfer of aquatic nuisance species. Other manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, are encouraged to engineer, develop, manufacture and sell similar products that reduce and/or help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.
Implementation Date Immediate
Type of regulation: Legislative
Bill Number Senate: Concurrent Resolution 101
Last Updated: 4-30-2011
Proposal Status Signed into law 4-25-2011
Proposal Law states: The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection shall examine issues related to the control of invasive aquatic species, including but not limited to the use of felt-soled waders and the spread of invasive aquatic species, and report to the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife by January 15, 2012. The report may include any recommendations concerning legislation.
Implementation Date:
Type of regulation: Legislative
Bill Number: HP 205, LD252
Last Update: 4-30-2011
Proposal Status: Did not pass from Committee – 2/24/2011
Proposal: Ban on sale and use of felt
Implementation Date: October 1, 2012
Type of regulation: Legislative
Bill Number: SB230
Additional information
Last Update: 2-25-2011
Proposal Status: Tabled by Commission – December 2009
Proposal: Ban on use of felt
Implementation Date: N/A
Type of regulation: Administrative
Bill Number:
Additional information: Fish & Game agency requested approval from commission who tabled request.
Last Update: 2-25-2011
Proposal Status: Active – agency has authority to implement Ban if desired
Proposal: Rubber bottomed boots only in City owned waters
Implementation Date: TBD
Type of regulation: Administrative
Bill Number:
Additional information: New York City owns sections of many popular Catskill waters which supply water to the City.
Last Update: 2-25-2011
Proposal Status: Died in committee
Proposal Ban: sale and use of felt by 2015
Implementation Date: Jan 1, 2015
Type of regulation: Legislative
Bill Number: 2338
Additional information:
Last Update: 4-30-2011
Status Update: This ban was rescinded July 1, 2016
Proposal Status: Passed and signed into law on 5/12/2010
Proposal: Unlawful to use external felt-soled boots or external felt-soled waders
Implementation Date: April 1, 2011
Type of regulation: Legislative
Bill Number: H. 488
Last Update: 7-1-2016