The 2014 Sowbug Roundup is a fly tying show put on every year by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. This year is the first time I was able to attend this event. My daughter (Callie) and I drove down to Arkansas Thursday evening after work, so we could attend on Friday and Saturday.
Upon arriving the first thing we noticed was an aquarium trailer loaded with large trout outside of the exhibition hall. I was able to show Callie the different species of trout and how to tell the apart.
The show had some local vendors around the outside of the room and groups of tiers at tables in the center of the room. One of the first tables we came across was the Friends of the Norfork Fish Hatchery. The Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery is a nonprofit group that supports and promotes the hatchery. They also told us that the fish in the display came from Dry Run Creek at the Hatchery (more on Dry Run Creek later).
So we walked around and watched some people tie different flies. There were people tying everything from poppers to midges to salmon flies. There were different seminars through out the day. The first one we went to was by John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service on where and how to fish the White and Norfork Rivers. He had some good info for anyone new to these tailwaters.
Later in the day Steve Dally from Dallys Ozark Fly Fisher had a great seminar on dry fly fishing in high flow conditions. With the rain that the area had received recently both dams were releasing water, so his seminar was full of people.
Chad Johnson, who is Dally’s head guide, was tying some streamers at the Dally’s booth and gave me some tips on improving my deceiver flies.
Another great couple of people that were at the show was Dave and Emily Whitlock.
Dave had some amazing art and was very busy all weekend. They gave Callie a signature card with a Bluegill on it (her favorite fish).
Another great artist and fly tier that was there was Duane Hada. Duane is the creator of one of my favorite flies the Creek Crawler. He also had some great art work on display.
What really makes this event great is the guest tiers from all over the country. One person that I learned from is Stack Scoville from Nashville TN.
He was tying some great looking salmon flies and I just had to learn his technique on married wing flies. It was a long process but well worth the wait, as he tied a Grouse and Green pattern from a Pryce-Tannatt book which he gave to me when finished.
And the busiest person of the show had to be Mike George. His deer hair flies are some amazing pieces of art and you can fish them too.
On the last day of the show there was a raffle for some great prizes (that I didn’t win). And the people from Sage/Redington were giving away fly starter kits to kids.
Overall it was a great show. I learned so much from so many great tiers and fisherman/women. I am looking forward to next years event already!