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OPINION | ARKANSAS SPORTSMAN: Fly fishing, creek cleanup on tap

by Bryan Hendricks | October 7, 2021 at 2:09 a.m.

Celebrate the most graceful form of angling at a free fly fishing fair Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in Little Rock's River Market District.

Arkansas Fly Fishers will host the event. Three certified master casting instructors will demonstrate fly casting techniques. There will also be fly tying classes for experts and beginners.

Considerable attention will be dedicated to beginning fly fishing. This will include a panel discussion about recruiting women into the sport. Comprising the panel will be Patty Lueken, head of the Fly Fisher's International Women's outreach program, Kim Rowlin Dollins, a fishing guide on the Little Red River, and Rebecca Baker, a social media host.

Other organizations represented at the fair will be Trout Unlimited, Friends of the Little Red River, Casting For Recovery, Project Healing Waters, and The Mayfly Project. Casting For Recovery is a fishing outreach for breast cancer fighters. Project Healing Waters involves military veterans. The Mayfly Project immerses foster children in fly fishing.

I have attended several Arkansas Fly Fishers events, and I always feel better for it. The group is welcoming, inclusive and enthusiastic about sharing advice. Autumn is a fantastic time to learn fly fishing, and this event will be an excellent portal.

Cadron Creek Cleanup

Dome Life and Cadron Creek Outfitters will host a cleanup event on the North Fork of Cadron Creek Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to event organizers, more than 100 volunteers will pick up trash along the popular canoeing and fishing stream. This will benefit the creek immediately, but also will prevent trash from entering the Gulf of Mexico, which Cadron Creek feeds via the Arkansas River and Mississippi River.

The event will also focus awareness about the magnitude of trash accumulating in American waterways while demonstrating the effectiveness of public intervention.

"Healthy communities need healthy rivers, and it's thrilling to see so many people across the nation pitching in to protect their streams," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. "We applaud the work of Dome Life and Cadron Creek Outfitters not just for speaking out for Cadron Creek, but for taking action to keep it healthy."

Supporters for the event include American Rivers, Central Arkansas Master Naturalists, Whole Hog Cafe, Papa Murphy's Pizza and Mary Parker Music.

For more information, visit or

Sick deer in the South

Local outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease have been reported among whitetailed deer in Mississippi and northern Alabama.

Bronson Strickland, a wildlife specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension, said hemorrhagic disease is caused by a virus and is transmitted from deer to deer by midges or gnats.

"The virus causes internal hemorrhaging and sometimes rapid death occurs," Strickland said. "The virus may cause ulcers which can disrupt digestion."

Strickland said deer suffering from the virus also will get a fever and seek water to cool their body temperature. Deer that die from the virus often are found near water as a result, he said.

"Far more often, deer become infected but are able to cope with the virus and will have no long-term damage, other than tell-tale indicators they had the virus," he said. "This is often seen with deer harvested in the fall and their hooves appear to have sloughed off. The fever a deer experiences while fighting the virus interrupts hoof growth, but the hoof will grow back."

William T. McKinley, deer program coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said hemorrhagic disease outbreaks are tracked through reports from hunters and the occurrence of sloughing hooves from harvested deer each season. McKinley said Mississippi has gone four consecutive years with low hemorrhagic disease virus activity.

Hemorrhagic disease also occurs periodically in Arkansas, but there has been no major outbreak in 2021.

Airgun show

If you are interested in high-performance air rifles, the Arkansas Airgun Show will be held Friday and Saturday at 1303 Collie Road in Malvern.

Show hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Vendors from across America will offer big bore air rifles capable of taking elk and deer to small-caliber pellet guns. Scopes, bullets, bullet molds and other supplies and accessories will also be available.

Admission will be $5 for adults. For more information, visit

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