(HELENA) The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks helped some aspiring anglers learn the first steps to fly fishing in Helena Tuesday.

FWP’s Montana Wild Education Center hosted an introductory fly casting class at Spring Meadow Lake State Park. About a dozen participants practiced techniques like the roll cast – to place their line accurately when space is limited – and the pickup and laydown – to cast without getting the line caught in nearby bushes.

Matt Wilhelm, an instructor from the Yellowstone Fly Fishing School in Livingston, taught Tuesday’s class. He says fly fishing can seem intimidating for beginners, but events like this can help.

“They think that fly fishing is this Zen-like, Jedi-master-type thing, but really it’s actually pretty easy,” he said. “The elements of casting and fly fishing are pretty easy; it’s just learning the basics and then having a lot of practice.”

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Wilhelm says people who’ve thought about fly fishing should definitely give it a try.

“The places where you catch fish are the prettiest places in the world,” he said. “It’s a great way to be outside, and sometimes the fishing is secondary to the whole experience.”

Montana Wild plans to offer more events like this throughout the summer, from more fishing classes to nature walks and birdwatching.

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