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Illinois River Fly Fishing School

After overwhelming attendance at two fly fishing sessions already held this year, the experts at the Illinois River Fly Fishing School are hosting a third course March 30-31 at Tenkiller State Park.

The course was first offered in late February, which quickly filled up and prompted a second course.

“We’ve just had so much interest that we filled up a second and now we are going to do a third,” said long-time instructor Mark Patton.

The clinic will feature instructional sessions as well as hands-on practice on the banks of the Illinois River. Space is limited.

According to Patton, the clinic lays a good foundation for both amateur and experienced anglers. While he “starts from the ground up,” Patton said even those familiar with fly fishing can benefit from the instruction.

The clinic will offer in depth information on equipment, tackle assembly, knots, flies, casting, and tactics and will include on-stream fishing instruction. Patton said participants will leave with a better understanding of fly fishing by learning how the equipment works and why it performs the way it does when operated properly. While an angler may be proficient with bait-casting and spinning reel motions, converting that knowledge to fly fishing “just doesn’t work.” Upon completion of the Illinois River Fly Fishing School, Patton said participants will be ready to begin fishing by themselves.

“A guide right now in some places is $400 a day,” Patton said. “I try to get people to where they don’t need a guide.”

The clinic costs $150 and includes instruction on Friday and Saturday, and anglers are encouraged to stay and fish Sunday. Spots are limited, and registration is required by calling (405) 340-1992. Meals for the event are available for $30, or participants can provide their own. Participants are responsible for their lodging and can book a stay at the state park directly by calling (918) 489-5643.

Fly rods will be available for loan on Saturday, and participants who own their own gear are encouraged to bring it with them to the clinic. Participants should dress for outdoor conditions and bring a hat, sunglasses, coat, rain gear, alarm clock and flashlight. The “welcome session” begins at 8 p.m., Friday, March 30, after cabin check-in, and all indoor sessions and meals will be held in the community center located immediately north of the Tenkiller office.

For more information or to register, call Patton at (405) 340-1992.