The North Arkansas Fly Fishers (NAFF) will hold their 21st annual “Sowbug Roundup… a Celebration of Fly Fishing” on March 22-24.

This is an international show held in Mountain Home, Ark., near the world famous White and Norfolk rivers.

One of the goals of the Sowbug Roundup is to encourage more people, especially youngsters, to become involved in fly fishing and conserving our natural resources.

It is more important now than ever to get kids outside and being mindful with what is going on around them. Technology has put practically anything they could need or want at their fingertips, and kids just aren’t getting involved in the outdoors like they used to.

That is why the show’s entrance fee is $5 for all three days, and kids under 12 are free. This year, one day of the show will feature Tenkara fly fishing with speakers, auctions and demonstrations.

Also, every day there will be free fly tying classes, casting clinics and drawings for the kids.

Last year, more than 1,500 fly fishers attended the show along with 130 fly tiers from around the world. This might be the best club-sponsored fly tying/fishing show in the US.

But the NAFF can’t do it alone. With the help of donation items over the past 20 years, the NAFF has been able to meet all of its goals and objectives.

The NAFF only does one fundraiser a year, and your help is greatly appreciated. Some of the things the club accomplished last year include:

• Awarded scholarships totaling $13,200 to college students pursuing degrees related to fisheries and conservation.

• Brought Landon Mayer in for a two-day fly fishing presentation free to the public.

• Other donations include: Mountain Home Parks & Recreation for a pavilion at McCabe Park ($17,000); Van Matre Senior Center ($600); Cotter Trout Fest ($500); and Baxter County Library ($300).

• Taught a 12-week fly tying and fly fishing class to home-schooled students in Baxter County, Ark.

• Provided fishing activities for adults and kids, including fly tying classes and fly fishing instruction on streams.

The NAFF, an affiliated club of the Fly Fishers International, is a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization and is incorporated in the State of Arkansas as a non-profit organization.

If you’d like to make a donation, please send it to North Arkansas Fly Fishers, Attn: Susan Parsons, 90 Jordan Lane, Lakeview, AR 72642.

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Other things on my mind:

• Furbearer biologist Laura Conlee, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, would like your help in reporting any sightings, captures or road-kills of badgers, spotted skunks, least weasels and long-tailed weasels.

Badgers can legally be harvested during the established season, however, there is no trapping or hunting season for weasels and spotted skunks.

Please report any sightings, photos, or road-kill animals to Conlee by calling (573) 815-7900 or emailing laura.conlee@mdc.mo.gov.

• Just a reminder that the Missouri Trappers Association will have a fur auction on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Montgomery City.

• The MDC is updating its black bear research webpage with enhanced features and information on Missouri’s native black bear population.

The new webpage will offer black bear research project summaries, project updates, new research photos, videos, interactive story maps and much more.

One of many new web features will be an interactive story map. Story maps combine maps and geography with narrative text, images, and multimedia content to better share the story about black bears in Missouri. The black bear story map will launch this spring on the website.

The new enhanced story map will replace the old tracking map previously on the website. While the new technology still provides interactive research maps of bear movements in Missouri, it limits individual collared bear locations to protect against illegal poaching.

MDC conservation agents expressed growing concern over the potential for making it easier for someone interested in illegal wildlife trafficking to find a bear by looking on a website.

MDC’s Conservation Commission has established a benchmark of 500 black bears before MDC initiates a hunting season.

Missouri currently has an estimated black bear population of 350 bears.

To learn more about black bears in Missouri, including research information, ongoing project updates, bear research photos and videos, and future story maps, go to http://bit.ly/2CUgZiE.

To view the new map of bear reports in Missouri or to report a bear sighting, visit http://bit.ly/2CGFixc.


 

Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (800) 874-8423, ext. 1, or jimmy@riverhillstraveler.com.