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North Arkansas Fly Fishers’ annual Sowbug Roundup celebrates its return

The North Arkansas Fly Fishers’ (NAFF) annual Sowbug Roundup officially kicks off today, starting at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and will run through Saturday at the Baxter County Fairgrounds.

The admission price for all three days is $10, with admission being free for parents who bring children 12 or younger.

This year’s roundup will feature demonstrations, seminars, and free fly tying classes from over 100 tiers from around the country. While attending, guests can feel free to sit down at a fly fisherman’s table for one on one stories and tips—experience for those attending range from beginners to experts in the field.

The Sowbug Roundup will also include food from Bookworm Café and live music from Rio Trio, who will perform at the invitation-only dinner for VIPs and special guests on Friday night. Free coffee will be available for all attendees.

This year’s event will feature 20 vendors for guests to visit and shop with. NAFF will also be holding various giveaways and raffles throughout the Sowbug Roundup’s three days of fun. Children in attendance can expect to walk away with a prize for attending.

Special attendees for this year will include Duane Hada, a local Mountain Home artist and famous fly tier and guide, and Dave Whitlock of Tahlequah, Okla., one of the world’s oldest and most knowledgeable fly fishermen.

NAFF has worked with Whitlock on some of their various charitable projects, such as designing the improvements to Dry Creek Run. This year, NAFF is establishing an endowment in honor of Whitlock to provide funding for future improvements and maintenance for Dry Creek Run.

Whitlock was a former resident of the Twin Lakes area some 15 years ago.

Dry Creek Run is one of the most popular fly fishing spots in the Twin Lakes area and is located right across the street from Norfork National Fish Hatchery.

NAFF finally approved this year’s Sowbug Roundup after COVID-19 restrictions around the county began to be lifted two years after the pandemic spread. The Roundups for 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to the pandemic out of concern for causing a superspreader event.

Money raised from the Sowbug Roundup prepares for next year’s roundup and towards conservation and charity, like at Dry Creek Run or with NAFF’s pavilion at McCabe Park in Mountain Home.

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