Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mud & Wading Boots- A Case For Cleaning Your Gear

In our ongoing conversation with Colorado aquatics biologists, we are learning that there is much we can do as recreational gold prospectors to be proper stewards of our public waterways.
One big problem in virtually every state (including Colorado) are the non-native invasive species and diseases that are attacking our streams such as whirling disease.
As prospectors working down in the streambed and moving from stream to stream... perhaps even state to state most are unaware of the potential contamination that can and does occur via your equipment including your waders.
Below is just one article on this subject written for anglers but certainly applies to anyone in the water.
"Gear cleaning, does it really make a difference?
by Leah C. Elwell
That is a question that many people ask when they learn that they are being asked to carefully clean their gear after each use. After all, many people reason, ‘I really don’t do anything that makes me especially different and, I am in a hurry to get home after fishing and after all, I really don’t see why cleaning is so important’. The truth is that any one of us could be the one to transport a devastating new species to our favorite water. Proof that we need to clean is well documented and cleaning is something we all should do every time.It has long been suspected that anglers are able to transport invasive species with dirty equipment. By their very nature, many aquatic invasive species have qualities that allow them to survive adverse conditions. Also they tend to be small and can come in contact with different types of river users (anglers, boaters etc). For example, the larval form of zebra mussels is transparent, microscopic, and can survive out of water for 7 days. These kinds of traits in a species (which are common among many other invasives) are reason for concern. These traits make it likely for us to be transporting mud that contains invasive species on our fishing gear.
In this article, we summarize a few scientific studies that looked at dirty gear and its ability to transport aquatic invasive species. The first study took a detailed look at anglers and their ability to move soil between angling access sites and across the country (Myxospore detection in soil and angler movement in southwest Montana: Implications for Whirling Disease Transport by K.Gates). As well as collecting mud stuck to wading gear, the study also surveyed anglers about their invasive species knowledge and their cleaning practices. There are a number of interesting facts that emerged from her analysis.
Some of the most relevant details are highlighted here.Mud on Boots: One hundred and six mud collections were taken from boots of both resident and non-resident anglers. The mean amount of mud per boot was 8.39 grams. Let’s translate this into a number that mean something to us. If we convert this amount of mud to pounds and then determine the number of anglers it would take to generate a significant amount of mud. It would only take 27 anglers to move one pound of mud on their boots. To put this into the context of possible real-life scenario, let’s consider an average season for a fishing guide. The average fishing guide in Montana might have around 100 guide days with 2 clients per day. That is a total of 200 clients with boots coming from outside the Fact: One pound of mud is brought region or the state. If we use our 1 pound of mud forto the stream on boots with every 27every 27 anglers, then those 200 clients are bringing in anglers who fish.over 7 pounds of mud from their home river. If we consider that this 7 pounds of mud came from only one guide’s clients for the season, then we are really talking about hundreds of pounds of mud being moved around by the huge number of clients in a fishing season. These hundreds of pounds are likely moving invasive species from spot to spot. A couple of interesting points from the study related to Fact: Anglers show up at the river mud on boots to consider. When the resident and non-with mud on their gear.resident boot mud quantities were compared there was no difference between the two. Also, mud was collected both from angler boots that were arriving and departing from a fishing access site were compared and found there was no difference in the amount of mud collected from boots that were arriving or leaving a site. This tells us that regardless of where you live, anglers tend to have similar habits and all anglers have dirty boots.Angler Movement: When anglers were asked about their fishing activities seventy-four percent of Montana residents and 72% of non-residents planned to fish again in the next 7 days. Three percent of Montana residents and 14% of non-residents planned to fish out of state in the next 7days. These survey numbers tell us that anglers are highly mobile and are people that tend to visit new waters fairly regularly.Cleaning Practices of Anglers: When anglers were asked in the survey about their cleaning practices, it was clear that cleaning was not an overwhelming priority. Fifty one percent of Montana residents and 49% of non-residents said they occasionally, rarely or never clean their boots and waders in between uses. Twenty-five percent Fact: About half of anglers typically of Montana residents and 21% non-residents reported never clean their gear.they only occasionally, rarely or never completely dried their boots and waders between uses. With less than half of the anglers out there doing any cleaning or drying of their boots means that a lot of anglers are moving mud and potential aquatic invasive species around.Overall this study gives us clear reason to clean our gear. Anglers are proven to be moving significant amounts of mud on their waders and nothing good can come from moving mud between waters. When we add the fact that anglers are highly mobile and lack a commitment to cleaning, we have substantial motivation to get more anglers cleaning their gear.In an interesting related study, Oregon State University researchers donned felt soled wading boots and then stomped in mud that was known to contain invasive species, Myxoboluscerebralis the parasite that caused whirling disease. With boots covered in mud and the parasite,researchers then waded through tanks that had healthy trout. Months later the trout were found to be infected with whirling disease. This study shows a direct link between dirty gear and its ability to move viable invasive species (report to the Whirling Disease Initiative).Both of these studies make plain that boots can move sediment and potential invasive species.We can address this problem by taking clear action and commit to cleaning our gear. It is hard to deny the idea that dirt and invasive species are sticking to our boots, particularly following these studies.
For that reason, it’s time for us all to take the simple actions needed to clean our gear.Removing dirt from our gear is a logical step to take in our angling day.
The commitment is as simple as are the methods to clean gear. The basic principles of the Clean Angling philosophy are Inspect, Clean & Dry. These steps really help to minimize the spread of invasive species and also allow us to be active participants in preventing spread. Everyone who fishes needs to be clean Angler, one who makes Inspect, Clean & Dry an automatic part of every trip. Many fishermen understand how important this is and are taking these simple actions.
The three steps of Inspect, Clean & Dry are self-descriptive.
Just from these three words, people understand what they are to do and the actions they produce are what we need. Below are recommendations for how to properly clean your equipment.
Please refer to our Tips for Careful Cleaning for full instructions on how to clean.
Waders must be cleaned very carefully!• Separate all individual components such as insoles, socks, booties, ankle guards, and laces.Then wash everything - inside and out with water.• Make sure you remove all dirt, plants and other visible substances. Be sure the treads, seams and any creases or crevasses are completely clean. Use a small brush if needed.• If possible, thoroughly dry everything before you reassemble the waders.
Other Equipment- Reels, nets, lines, gear bags etc.• Thoroughly wash them to remove dirt, plants and other visible substances. Completely dry them, ideally in the sun on a hot day.Heat and cold can kill many invasives that might be hitchhiking on your equipment. These treatments can be used to supplement careful inspection and cleaning. However, these methods do not kill all invaders. So realize that they help but are not perfect.• Heat - Soak in a bucket or tub of the hottest water available. Be aware that many hot water heaters to not produce water hot enough to kill AIS. Available research studies suggest minimum of 140° F is necessary. Remove and dry.• Cold – Store your gear in a freezer to kill many invasives. After overnight freezing remove,thaw and dry. Freezing might be the only good option if you are on a traveling fishing trip with no time to dry between waters. Some motels have freezer space if you ask nicely. Remember,freezing will kill many but not all of the aquatic invasive species (AIS) we are concerned about.Drying kills most invasives. High temperatures and low humidity are deadly to most AIS. Do everything possible to expose your equipment to hot and dry conditions for as long as possible.It’s best to dry gear in the sun. If possible, after cleaning, allow the gear to air-dry for at least 7days. Longer is better.
Where to Clean is just as important as how you clean. It's important to clean in the right location. If possible, clean your gear on-site at the end of your trip. If you wash off any invasives at the water you have been fishing on that day, you will just be leaving them where you got hem. Don't let them hitchhike away from the site.
Statement of rationale: This article is a summary of research that looked at the potential for anglers to transport soil and aquatic invasive species on wading boots. Please refer to the full articles if you have any interest in the scientific data collected to make their conclusions. Though some of these studies are not peer-reviewed science they have still been subjected to rigor of scientific panels and advisory committees. Further, their results give us a way to rationally discuss the risks that may be associated with not cleaning gear versus cleaning gear regardless of the specific type of gear we are concerned about (i.e. felt, rubber or other materials).
Baldwin T. J. et al. 1998. Distribution of Myxobolus cerebralis in Salmonid Fishes in Montana.Journal of Aquatic Animal Health.Bergersen E.P. and D. E. Anderson. 1997. The Distribution and Spread on Myxobolus cerebralisin the United States. Fisheries.Gates, K. 2007. Myxospore detection in soil and angler movement in southwest Montana:Implications for Whirling Disease Transport. Montana State University Master’s Thesis in Biological Sciences.Reno, Paul. 2005. The potential of vehicles and fomites to transfer the agent of whirling disease.Final Report to the Whirling Disease Initiative."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Take Willow Cuttings Now to Plant in Spring and Help Restore a River

Over the next few days and weeks Goldstrike Adventures will be taking a variety of state of Colorado, National Forest Service and other marine, wildlife and riparian biologists down to the stream to... learn all about recreational gold prospecting from a to z, while we learn from them how we can better do what we do (digging) while improving habitat for other living things in the process on behalf of Gold Unlimited.
In addition, Colorado state and local chapter directors with Trout Unlimited will also be digging, classifying, sluicing and maybe even dredging as we work to develop a plan for dredgers and other prospectors to use as a guide to clean, save and restore existing waterways here in Colorado.
As a result, I will focus on activities and methods recommended by said biologists in upcoming posts.
Here is one sneak peek preview of some of the types of things we will be talking about for specific locations where the bank is undercut or eroding or otherwise needs protection-
Tips on Willow Planting to Restore Stream Banks
"Riparian vegetation growing along the edges of streams, creeks, and rivers is critical for controlling erosion and providing
wildlife habitat. This vegetation includes grasses, fortes, and woody plants such as willows and aspen. Willows are among
the most common woody plants found in riparian areas. They are an important source of food and cover for wildlife. Their
roots hold the stream banks in place and provide a place for fish to hide. They also provide shade to help reduce stream
Many riparian areas would benefit from more willows. Improving management practices such as grazing often results in
more willows but on some riparian areas willows must be planted. Planting willows can be an effective technique to
quickly reestablish new populations. However, it requires a lot of hand labor which can be expensive. Consequently,
volunteers are often used to assist in willow planting projects. Volunteers, however, are normally available for a limited
time and are oftentimes inexperienced. This fact sheet provides some tips which are proven to increase the chances of
successfully collecting and planting willows."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Goldstrike/Vic's First To Offer "Dry-Dredging" Adventures

While filming one of our Goldstrike Adventures To GO from Vic's Gold Panning on N Fork of Clear Creek today, Ryan and I were treated to seeing owner Jesse's cutting-edge technology Hydro-Jet "Dry Dredge" system in action. (photo not from today! lol)

It is awesome to put it mildly.
Below is a YouTube video of the Dry Dredge, check it out.

We subsequently worked out an exclusive arrangement as part of our existing exclusive paydirt agreement with Jesse to offer our Goldstrike Adventure guests the opportunity to have a day Dry Dredging for themselves at Vic's Gold Panning.

Goldstrike Adventures and Vic's Gold Panning are the first gold adventure companies to offer this newest technology to recreational or casual prospectors, tourists and those new to gold mining.

Contact us at or call us at 405-464-3782 for questions or to book your personal gold adventure!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unethical, No. Proud, YES !

Well it looks like we've ruffled some feathers (again).... I told you this wouldn't be boring!
A couple of paranoid gossiping gold forum members are upset with us here at Goldstrike Adventures for offering and sharing the Colorado gold panning experience with recreational gold panners around the globe.
"Why..... It's Unethical" is the claim. It seems these large brained big thinkers are afraid that by revealing their so-called secret locations which are really just public parks and open space, that I am going to start some kind of gold rush and that "their" revered secret spots will be all "mined out". (lol...sorry)
The fact is that we are very proud to provide people from Australia to Canada, across the entire USA (even Alaska and California) the chance to pan placer gold from significantly historic Colorado sites no matter where they live via our Goldstrike Paydirt bags. Goldstrike Paydirt is currently the #1 selling paydirt on ebay month after month. The feedback is fantastic and it is great to hear how much people enjoy the history of the specific location that each bag came from as well as the gold of course.
We are also very proud of Colorado's rich gold mining history and believe it is something to be celebrated and shared not secreted away for club members only or just local insiders. As far as it being "mined out" any time soon... did you know that Colorado is NUMBER TWO in gold production in the US and if they didn't mine it all out 150 years ago with giant dredges and hydraulicking operations then a few guys with a shovel and a Gold Cube aren't gonna' do it. The Colorado School of Mines told us that in fact for every single piece of gold you remove today there will be at least that much gold back in that spot next year and the next and the next millennium.
Some people are upset with us because we take customers out on guided gold adventures to where these people consider to be their secret locations.... in spite of the fact that these "secret" locations are on public lands, city parks or open space and have been historic gold sites for over 150 years and are fairly well known but hiding in plain site. The only thing secret is that these individuals think they have a secret location but they don't.
We are proud of the fact that we teach people from beginners to experienced prospectors, natives from Colorado and visitors from other states, where the gold is and how to find it for themselves... we teach them things to utilize long after the adventure is over. Things you can't teach on a blog or website. We show experienced prospectors new tricks and provide them the opportunity to try new equipment and new spots without joining any clubs or accessing claims or message boards or gossip forums... and we will continue to offer our services for as long as there are people lined up to go get gold with us. We are proud to do so and hope you will continue to support what we do as we grow our business... attacks not withstanding.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wlderness Act Threatens Colorado Panners, Prospectors and Miners

FROM an article by the GPAA in the Pick and Shovel Gazzette
..."In Western Colorado, prospectors and miners are facing an old foe — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.An environmental activist, Salazar served as a U.S. Senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009, when he resigned his senate seat to become Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama.“Ken Salazar is trying to shut down the whole west end of the state of Colorado and make some kind of Wild and Scenic areas out of it. We’ve been fighting with the legislature on that — talking with congressmen and senators. I have been in touch with several of them and they are trying to stop it, but they can only do so much,” Peterson said.“What they are doing is illegal!” They are trying to designate areas as Wild and Scenic and when you look up the description of Wild and Scenic, they don’t even fit the scope or picture of what is Wild and Scenic. They are trying to designate whichever way they can to get it to go through,” he said.“They’ve already closed a bunch of areas. You can’t take any ATVs or any kind of equipment across there. They call it the Wilderness Act.”Peterson blames the signing of the Colorado Wildernesss Act of 1993 under former President Bill Clinton for many of the problems Colorado outdoors groups, including prospectors, now face. Back then, the Wilderness Act designated 19 areas within the National Forests and public lands of Colorado, encompassing 612,000 acres, as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It also restricted activity in five areas, totaling some 155,000 acres under other land management plans.“It wasn’t until the Clinton administration that they really started to push this Wilderness thing,” Peterson said.“What Clinton did in the Wilderness Act — you can’t even walk across the land. You can’t leave any kind of trace like footprints or anything else. If you could fly across it, you’d be fine, but you are not supposed to be touching the ground in a Wilderness Area.”Since then, hundreds of thousands more acres of public lands have been designated as Wilderness Areas in Colorado and have been closed to prospecting, mining and other outdoors activities.Salazar played an pivotal role in locking up even more of these public lands by introducing the legislation in May 2008 that led to the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Act. The legislation designated approximately 200,000 acres as Dominguez-Escalante Canyons National Conservation Area, which includes the more than 66,000-acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area.Salazar was already at the helm of the Department of the Interior when an internal memo earmarking 13.5 million acres of public lands for possible designation as “National Monuments” under the Antiquities Act, was leaked to the news media last year."