Above: Montana guide James Whitescarver cleaning every inch of his drift boat.
A few years ago, preventing the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) was all the talk. Wader manufacturers were producing non-absorbent boots with Vibram soles, Facebook was littered with ANS information, boat check stations were popping up all over the west, and every convention, trade show and meeting I attended included an ANS presentation.
In the high-speed, low-attention-span world we live in, you really don’t hear much about preventing the spread of New Zealand Mudsnails, Didymo, Zebra Mussels and Eurasian Watermilfoil anymore. Like ever. And we’re back to felt-soled boots.
Those who regularly travel on a route that has a Watercraft Inspection Station keep their boats clean. Guides like James Whitescarver (above), regularly travel between Missoula and Craig. He knows he will have to stop at Clearwater Junction to have his boat inspected by Montana FWP.
I have a feeling that James keeps his boat clean regardless, but not everyone does. Right now the Missouri is laying a pretty good scum-line on your boat.
During the “ANS Peak” one of the states mobile inspection stations was commonly set up at the Wolf Creek Bridge boat ramp. Haven’t seen it as much the last few years, but it may just be in a different part of the state.
ANS are a concern on the Missouri River due to the massive amount of “migratory” boat traffic we receive. If a species of concern is going to get transported somewhere via a drift boat, it’s pretty likely that it will end up here.
Likewise, you could easily “catch” something here, and transport it to your home river on your boat or trailer tires.
Please continue to keep your boat clean (and tires, waders, boots) and prevent the spread of ANS. You can pull into the drive at Headhunters and use our water, soap, brushes, etc. anytime. Many folks do on their way home.