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The online version of the newsletter. Compared to the old days, Little Dixie Flies is microscopic but at least we're still alive!

I'd like to thank all of you who supported LDF through the year of 2016. Itís also great to hear and read the fishing reportsóand any other outdoor info you pass along. More on that later on.

I asked this question a few years ago. Does anybody besides me remember Gaddabout Gaddis? Do an internet search on the name and see what comes up. For those of you who do remember, you will probably love what you find. Some of Vernon Roscoe Gaddis's old tv shows are now on Youtube. A very simple, homespun show that oozed love of fishing and the outdoors through every frame. So many of today's outdoor shows are infomercials, but not "The Flying Fisherman". Check these out and see some of these legendary locales from 50 years ago.

Ok, what did I hear from customers during the year of 2016? Honestly, very little. Weather wasn't a big issue across the country except in what I call the glamour destinations of CA and the Rocky Mountains. They still suffered from drought issues. That's dry country. When you live in dry country to begin with, a drought will throw you for a loop.

Check this excerpt from an email sent to me by longtime customer Dan Curran.

"I was out west, Idaho and Montana, all of August and most of September. The fishing for me was the worst it's ever been. Water levels were low and water temps were high. I know guys were catching fish on the Missouri on zebra midges, but I go out west to dry fly fish and the bugs were just not coming off as I expect.

"Hoot owl regulations were in effect on many of the Montana rivers and I think the Clark's Fork was closed all together in some stretches for awhile. On the Big Hole, the ducks were crossing the river without getting there knees wet. The only fish I caught over 18" was a 21" triploid rainbow out of Brown's Lake east of Missoula. I had some friends who fished around Missoula in October, Rock Creek, Bitterroot, Clarks Fork, Blackfoot and did all right."

I can remember what Dan Curran describes as "hoot owl regulations". And I can also remember that fire conditions could be so bad that no one was allowed to pull a vehicle off the road into grass for fear a hot tailpipe could ignite a fire.

You know what though? He went on to say that even with poor water conditions and bad fishing, it's spectacular country. Folks, I'd say the same thing. If you have a chance to go out that way, take it. Take it, that is unless fire hazard would make it too dangerous. A couple of weeks in that country can reinvigorate you. No matter which direction you look, it's a great scene.

Of course, we heard from the NY state crowd--Ray Millard and Jaimie Loihle among others. They fish some great waters in that part of the US and they're lucky to do it. I never tire of seeing pictures of their fine catches--some of them are being reposted down at the bottom of this newsletter. I sure appreciate that they continue to patronize LDF .

Say, how many of you have old glass fly rods? I have a few. In fact, I like to use my old Fenwick 7'6" rod for trout on small streams to this day. I bought it from Woolworth's when I was 15. $35. I earned the money myself, but boy oh boy when I took that thing out the next summer did I ever get it. The grownups sure gave it to me for fishing that expensive rod. That should bring quite a laugh nowadays.

Is it worth $35 now? Well, check Ebay for Fenwick fiberglass rods. I've seen some selling for $20 and others for $250. Who knows? Mine won't go for sale, though.

Anyway, those rods aren't bad. Clearly not as sensitive as today's, but still very useable. (I might put some pictures up on the LDF Youtube channel.) It might be something to give one to a kid to get him or her started.

Little Dixie Flies does have a Youtube channel but I don't have much up there. In the last year, I've done some video editing and have improved at it. So maybe this year, I'll make some serious attempts at doing some fly tying videos. Here is the channel link:

LDF Fly Fishing on Youtube

I won't say anything about big selling patterns. Nothing really stood out in 2016. So let's just feature the Blue Winged Olive Loopwing Emerger.

Blue Winged Olive Loopwing Emerger

I first saw this style of emerger in "Fly Fisherman Magazine" back when I was a kid. It was just one of those odd flies that showed up in somebody's article. It looked easy to tie, so I tried it. I did a modification of my favorite sulfur hatch nymph, the Dark Ephemerella nymph. (See Ernie Schwiebert's old book "Matching the Hatch".) I used a little yellow fur in the thorax and made the loopwing out of a blue dun hackle. Everything else was the same. It got me nice results.

Forward to 1980. I had to have a whole series of these flies in my catalog. So I did the Blue Winged Olive version, plus a March Brown, a Hendrickson, a Light Cahill and a Sulfur. Again, very simple, but my new customers loved it. It's a very simple fly to fish. If you don't want to fuss with a dry fly, just tie on one of these, cast it upstream into feeding fish and you usually won't be disappointed. It's tied on a dry fly hook so it likely will float or drift very high. Of course, if you want it to float, go ahead and put some floatant on it.

It's 2017 and I am still looking for hun partridge! I know there aren't nearly as many hunters as there used to be, but if any of you live in states with good hun partridge populations, donít hesitate to save the feathers if you shoot the birds. Or talk your bird hunting friends into saving them. I'm also looking for turkey tail feathers and wing feathers. Hard to believe I'm looking for those but it's true.

Now for the bad news. I know that I'm not price competitive anymore. I haven't been for many years due to Asian manufacturing. However, I am forced to raise prices on dry flies this year. Some years ago, I reduced prices as low as I could go. However, in the last few years, hackle prices have skyrocketed. Those of you who tie your own flies know what I mean. Just this year, prices have gone up more than 30% on dry fly necks and on saddle patches. I honestly don't know what else to do. Nobody can stay in business at all if prices are flat or declining while costs of all sorts continue to rise. I'm sorry to do this, but there's no other way to continue to tie and sell dry flies.

Once again, I'm letting everybody know about the nice fish you can catch with those Loopwing Emergers. This is long time customer Ray Millard below.

Aren't those nice fish? Caught by Ray Millard on Loopwing Emergers. An old pattern that still works great!

As usual, Iíll close by saying good health, good fishing and great outdoor experiences to everybody this year of Ď14! I hope to hear from you this year!

Robert Schneider LDF Fly Fishing Tackle