From beginners to experts, everyone is welcome at the Saturday morning Fly Tyer's Roundtable.

What a great time of year to work on your craft ahead of spring and summer. And, if it's not a craft for you yet, what better time to learn from some experts free of charge?

These weekly gatherings are hosted by Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile. They were the brainchild of the late Doug Persico, who owned the "Merc" for many years. Doug  passed on the tradition to his grandson, John Staats, who operates the store.

John says that when his grandfather first started the business, he made it a point to have "three things always free at his fly shop: a cup of coffee, a fly casting lesson and a fly tying lesson." John has kept that tradition going since taking over and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Starting this Saturday, January 6, and continuing through the winter months, the Merc's Fly Tyer's Roundtables meet on Saturday mornings at 11:00 a.m. and typically run for two hours. The first hour is spent teaching a specific fly pattern, often one that is effective for Rock Creek and the surrounding rivers.

The second hour is more of an informal workshop; you can practice tying other fly patterns, demonstrate your own fly designs, or simply sit and listen to the talk around the table. After all, anglers just love to chat, don't they?

John and the team at Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile also enjoy teaching beginners of all ages. They can supply the tools and materials for lessons during the roundtable sessions and help teach fly fishing fundamentals. There is no charge and no obligation to make a purchase.

You do not need to reserve a space ahead of time. But, an occasional schedule conflict might arise, so it is always good to call or email ahead of time just to make sure it's happening on the Saturdays you wish to attend.

Don't let this be one that got away! Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile is about 22 miles east of Missoula, just off I-90, one-half mile up the Rock Creek Road Exit. You can call 406-825-6440, or visit the Merc's website for more information.

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