Another year. My how time flies. That’s right, RiverKeeper Flies quietly celebrated another milestone earlier this month, turning 9 years old!

John on Metolius |


RiverKeeper Flies began in early 2014 when I first learned about websites and published my initial post on March 5, 2014. I wasn’t sure where this journey would take me. Initially, I thought a website would be a great place to keep all the fly pattern sheets scattered here and there around the house. I always had difficulties finding them. You might know the feeling.

After writing 935 posts, and publishing over 300 fly patterns, little did I know that I would keep writing a post every week for 9 years without missing one week! Every week you and others return to RiverKeeper Flies…more than 645,000 times reading over 1,240,000 pages.

I wonder how many hours I’ve spent in front of the laptop creating content? One of the Argentina posts I wrote recently was well over 20 hours, after counting the time sorting through images to determine how to tell the story.

Now, many of my fishing days provide inspiration for future posts.


I took pictures back then but have really upped my game over those 9 years.

I seem to be more aware of my surroundings when out on the river and I enjoy capturing many of the insects we imitate. I’m especially proud of those taken last year. You might even remember them as well. Here are a few examples:

And don’t forget about the fish!

19 Inch Metolius Rainbow Trout |

Or a little scenery with my favorite subject.

And speaking of images, if you have followed me since year one, you’ve seen a massive improvement in those images.

I’ve come a long way from 2014. Here are the first two of 4,445 now on my website taken with my Pentax Optio W60.

As I recall, that camera took nice pictures too. It worked on this Denny’s Stillwater Nymph.

Denny's Stillwater Nymph |

OK, the last image isn’t as bad as I recall, but the backgrounds and lighting on many of the early fly closeup images left a lot to be desired. I did the best I knew how to do at the time, but my friend Al Beatty really started me down the road to improvement with a gentle nudge and I’m forever grateful. I’ve been on a photographic journey ever since. I wrote a post about the gear I use – My Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Cameras.

Fly Tying

How many flies have I tied since 2014? Turns out it’s close to 18,000! I’m a counter and was curious about the number of flies I tie, so began capturing the information on spreadsheets in 2011. It came in handy as I started my custom fly tying business in April 2016 when I received my federal employer identification number for RiverKeeper Flies.

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


I started creating a YouTube channel in 2016, the first being very short clips. I ventured into fly tying videos in 2020, only publishing two. I thought the fly tying video space was crowded already with many great tyers publishing their videos. But I changed my mind and joined the crowd in 2021 after I decided to share my experience, focusing on techniques and proportions. So far, I’ve published 38 with more coming in the near future.

There is a lot of information here. If you have some time, I encourage you to use the Archives tab on the right sidebar or at the very bottom of the page if using a mobile device and check out some of those 935 posts. In fact, if you’d like a laugh, click on the March 2014 and read the three sentences I wrote. I just did…it made me smile!

It’s been quite a journey. Thanks for being part of it!

I hope you continue to read RiverKeeper Flies, whether for enjoyment, research for your next fly fishing road trip, fly fishing tips, hatch information, or a source for fly pattern sheets.

We’ll see what the next year holds.

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. John, congratulations! I’m not sure I’ve been with you the whole time, but probably close. You are an inspriration and a “always open” site. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the Metolius, maybe the Lost River this year and will let you know what worked.

  2. Congratulations John! I haven’t been with you for all 9 years but have for several and I look forward to your posts and information every week. Riverkeeper flies is terrific.

    Bill Hinchliff

  3. Happy Anniversary, and thank you for your posts! It’s clear you do put a lot of time into them, and your enthusiasm certainly shows. Keep up the great work!

  4. Hi John,

    I am so pleased to see you reach this milestone. Your post(s) are something I look forward to every week and yes, I READ them all. A comment: Since starting “your journey” you’ve become one of the best outdoor photographers I know. Good job and keep on trucking (I mean fishing & tying). By the way, when is the first book happening? Take care & …

    Tight Lines – Al Beatty

  5. John,
    Your hard work and effort gives us something special for which to look forward each week. The fly tying/fishing community is in a better place with you and your commitment.
    Few people can or will stay the course as you have.
    A giant thank you.

  6. John, congrats on 9 years. You have done an awesome job through your hard work. I always look forward to your weekly blogs and have been to your Riverkeeper flies website and you tube videos many times for reference. Thanks for educating and sharing with us Fly Fishers. I am so glad that I found you on the internet, I have learned so much. I will continue being a fan of your work.

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