March 21st, 2014 berrybrothersguides



I looked out my front door and noticed the crocus blooming and realized the spring is here and it is once again time for the Sowbug Roundup, our premier fly tying show of the year. The fact that the crocuses were peeking through three inches of snow says something about the winter we have had and just makes the arrival of spring and Sowbug just that much sweeter. The show is a locally produced annual event sponsored, organized and staffed by our fly fishing club, the North Arkansas Fly Fishers (an affiliate club of the Federation of Fly Fishers). It is hard to believe it but this is the seventeenth year of the festival. It is my thirteenth year of participation.


This yeas roundup will be held on March 20, 21 and 22 at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. A couple of years ago they outgrew previous venues and the fairgrounds has given them a bit more room to spread out and to include more vendors. The festival runs from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. With an entry fee of only five dollars for all three days and children less than twelve years of age free, this is the perfect event for families looking for interesting, safe and educational activities.


The big draw is the fly tyers. Over the three days there will be well over a hundred tyers with around sixty people tying at any given time. There are folks tying just about any type of fly you ever heard of. There are people tying bass bugs, nymphs and dry flies for trout, big streamers for targeting large browns, guide flies (not so pretty but effective) and warm water flies, to name a few. There are fly tyers that have traveled here from California to New York and Wisconsin to Florida. This show continues to gain in national prominence.


There are seminars on various fishing subjects throughout every day. I am teaching a seminar on where and how to fish the White and Norfork Rivers on Friday at 10:30 AM. My wife, Lori, has casting classes scheduled for 10:30 AM and 1:00 PM on Saturday. The class is limited to eight students at each class and all equipment is provided.


On Friday, Steve Dally is teaching a seminar about fishing dry flies on high water and Chad Johnson is teaching a seminar on fishing streamers on high water. On Saturday, Ben Levin is teaching one on fishing for smallmouth on Crooked Creek and Davy Wotton has a seminar on fishing wet flies. I have guided with all of these guys and they know their stuff. I would recommend that you attend as many as you can. You are sure to learn something that will help you catch more fish.


One of my favorite aspects of the show is the vendors. All of our local fly shops, Dally’s Ozark Anglers, Wishes and Fishes and Two Rivers Fly Shop will be represented there. I will have a booth for my company, Berry Brothers Guide Service. Stop by and let me tie you a fly. My old fishing buddy, George Peters, will have a booth that features antique tackle. The Golden Rule Fly Shop will be there with great deals on hooks and fly tying materials. There will be a Far Banks Enterprises Booth featuring Sage Redington and Rio products and Michael Schraeder will be there with Nature’s Image home and cabin décor. Shawnee will be displaying river boats and Ozark Mountain Trading Company will be showing off their kayaks. Dave and Emily Whitlock will display Dave’s artwork. There are numerous other vendors there with even more fly fishing related products.


Throughout the day there will be silent auctions, raffles and live auctions for a dizzying array of fly fishing products. The highlight of the festival will be the awarding of the plaques to the winners of the fly tying contest and the auction of the fly plate featuring the winner’s flies.


As you can see there is something for everyone. Lori and I will be there for all three days. Please come by and say hello!

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