And suddenly, here I am, 8 years later, after writing 827 posts, around 300 fly patterns, and over 3,700 images. Little did I know then I would keep writing a post on my blog every week for 8 years without missing one week!

Tying Flies |

I hope you will allow a little departure from my normal weekly posts and take a moment to celebrate the 8 years I’ve been operating RiverKeeper Flies with me.

I wonder how many hours I’ve spent on the computer creating content? How many keystrokes have I made creating all those posts and fly pattern sheets? It might be the reason my fingers are so nimble and still able to tie the number of flies I do.

It’s been an unbelievable journey.

I’ve had over 1,041,000 page views on my website during those 8 years. Kinda hard to get my head around the fact of a million page views!

I’ve learned so much in the process.

Fly tying skills – I never would have tackled some of the flies without my website. Customers have Googled “custom fly tyer” and my name pops up. I’ve learned new flies from them which are now staples in my fly box. The quality of my flies continues to improve because of the number of flies I tie.

Photography skills – This is the area I’ve improved the most. I look back to the first year of images and am embarrassed at their quality. I’d like to thank my friend and mentor Al Beatty for suggesting ways to improve my images. His encouragement and tips helped tremendously as I tell my weekly stories. His gentle nudge made a significant difference in the quality of images you view here at RiverKeeper Flies. In fact, the UPS driver stopped at my house last week with more gear!

Website skills – I didn’t know a thing about blogging or running a website. How many hours have been spent on the backend of RiverKeeper Flies? I’d hate to venture a guess. My updated website has been up and running for over a year.

I must admit, there are days I wonder what I’ll write about. When I struggle to come up with a topic, I’m reminded of a comment a friend of mine made when I started the website. He thought I’d quickly run out of content and wouldn’t be able to keep writing each week. My goal wasn’t to prove him wrong; I just have thoughts in my head that need to get out, I guess.

If you have some time, I encourage you to use the Archives tab on the right sidebar and check out some of those 800 plus posts. There’s a lot of useful information in them.

With Covid, I didn’t travel to in-person tying demonstrations. Instead, I learned to teach on Zoom. With that experience, I went ahead and created videos for my RiverKeeper Flies YouTube channel. Last year, I added 16 videos. So far this year, I’ve published 4 and hope to add more in the next month or two. I probably stated at one point a few years ago I wouldn’t join the crowded YouTube fly tying video space. There are quite a few quality tyers out there. I hope you find mine enjoyable and learn something from them.

It’s been quite a journey. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

We’ll see what the next year holds.

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!


I’ll be teaching a Zoom fly tying class this Thursday (3/10/22) for my own Central Oregon Fly Tyer’s Guild beginning at 5 pm Pacific time. This week’s flies are:

Join Zoom Meeting with the following link:

Meeting ID: 796 377 5593

Passcode: 7RxFew

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  1. Absolutely the best! Thank you. I’ve learned so much. You’ve made me a much better tier and flyfisherman. And I have really enjoyed “traveling” with you and your wife on the road trips.
    I never miss a post and they are the first thing I look for when I open my email.
    Appreciate You

    1. Hi Bob

      Thanks for your Comment. I’m pleased to hear there continues to be value here at RiverKeeper flies. And you get to go on a trip or two!


  2. Thank you, John, for sharing your time and knowledge with so many of us. Looking forward to the next eight years and more.

  3. You added more dimensions to tying for me and many others. You challenged me to be a better tyer and instructor. My tying skills have changed for the better. Looking forward to more tying and fishing from you in years to come. Thank you my friend.

  4. Happy Anniversary-I look forward to your posts each week, not on on tying, but your road trips (I try to do a week each year) and especially your posts on the Metolius. While it’s 45 minutes away and I’m only a couple of miles from the Deschutes in Redmond, I kinda consider it my “home waters”. Here’s to many more years!

  5. I sure wouldn’t have the ability or enjoyment of tying I have today without you sharing those hours. And the additional hours at COF Winter Fly Tying, the EXPO, visits to teach at Healing Waters, and others. Especially with the focus on teaching techniques (useful in tying “variants”!), info on materials, and thoughts on design.
    Your web page is an excellent pattern resource, for those not addicted to video, as are the additional resources you provide the links to. I used your hook comparison page the last 3 days, sorting some hooks for COF.
    Thank you, you’re absolutely making more of a good impact than most!

  6. Thank you John for your generous offerings on flys, fly tying, local fishing information and wonderful travel logs. Your blog is one of my main references. To the next 8 years.

  7. Hi John,
    Yes, your journey has been a learning experience and I may have helped a bit but for all of you reading these words I offer this belief, “Today, I’m learning from John rather than the other way around.” I highly encourage you to join his presentation tomorrow at the Zoom link above. Gretchen and I offer a reasonably good Zoom tying presentation ourselves but John takes the idea to the next level. Join the link, you’ll be glad you did. Take care & …
    Tight Lines – (Gretchen &) Al Beatty

  8. Thank you for all those hours!! I continually grow from your weekly tutelage. Your efforts definitely get used by many.

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