By John Berry

    It is not too late to enter the Sowbug Roundup fly tying contest. I know that the Catch and Release section at Bull Shoals Dam opened yesterday after being closed for three months to accommodate the brown trout spawn. Many of you want to try your luck on those big browns that have not been fished over since November first.

    Well, I just checked the most recent weather report. It calls for rain, sleet, ice and snow today and tomorrow. They are calling for large accumulations of all of it and possible power outages. Unless you are a lot tougher than I am (I consider myself pretty tough), you are going to have a few days of down time, on your hands. Use that time to enter the best fly tying contest around and show off your skills.

    Due to the bad weather, I have extended the deadline for a couple of days. If you don’t want to mail or ship the flies to me, you can drop them off at Natural State Fly Shop across the street from the White Sands Café in Cotter, Arkansas (four blocks from my house and my favorite breakfast spot).

    Rules have been kept to a minimum. The entrant must tie the fly submitted for judging. Each entry must include the name, address, phone number and email address along with two flies for each pattern submitted (they must be exactly the same size, color, etc). You need to include the recipe for the fly, instructions on how to fish it and the category you wish to have it judged in. There are eleven categories, nymph, dry fly, wet fly, smallmouth bass, bass, warm water, salmon/steelhead, salt water and tenkara. In addition, there is a best in show award.

    This year we are adding an additional category, Dave Whitlock pattern. This is homage to Dave, our guest of honor. You may tie any published Dave Whitlock pattern.

    You may submit as many patterns for as many categories as you want. You can win a maximum of three categories (best in show is considered a category). All flies submitted will become the property of the contest and will not be returned. Any fly that contains insect parts (legs wings, etc.) will be eliminated from competition. Commercially tied patterns will not be accepted. The decision of the judges is final. The judging is blind. The judges do not know who tied the flies. Committee members and judges are not eligible to participate in the contest.

    To participate, all you have to do is send your flies, recipes and fishing instructions to me, John Berry, at 408 Combs Ave. Cotter, Arkansas 72626 by Wednesday February 7, 2022 (extended to February 9). The winners will be announced on Friday March 25, 2022 at the Sowbug Roundup Shindig which will be held at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church.

    The rewards are a nice plaque, the ultimate item to hang over your fly tying desk and the recognition of your peers. I am always looking for some new tyers and always welcome previous participants.

    Please take a bit of time and enter the contest.

    John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our streams for over thirty five years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169 or