The new year of 2021 is only a couple days away and I thought it timely to provide a few highlights of 2020 on RiverKeeper Flies. I’d like to express my gratitude to all the subscribers and regular readers who continue to read my weekly content and use the website as a reference to improve their fly fishing.

I’ll begin with this beautiful Brown Trout from the Beaverhead River, MT.

Beaverhead River Brown Trout with RiverKeeper Flies Net |

…and the release…

2020 was an interesting year. I only attended one fly tying event because of Covid-19. It was the 2020 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo.

Covid-19 had a huge impact on everyone this year. We followed the guidelines and stayed away from the river in March and April. This is one of my favorite images of 2020 because I finally went back to the river.

Rainbow Trout and RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple |

We were fortunate to take two long road trips in our RAM Promaster campervan last year to Idaho and Montana. Traveling in our RAM allowed us to socially distance and feel safe. I’ve added these experiences to my Fly Fishing Road Trips page in the Resources tab. It’s a quick way to find information about waters you might like to fish. I use it frequently to remember what flies worked!

We were on the road for 50 days and drove 4,198 miles in late June, July, and early August, fishing 11 rivers (several more than once).

Our home waters, the Metolius River, had been closed below Allingham Bridge for a couple of weeks in September due to the devastating wildfires ravaging Oregon. Smoke in Sisters had been unhealthy, like a lot of Oregon cities and the rest of the West. The smoke cleared for a couple of days and my wife looked at me and said “let’s head east”. So off we went, unsure where we were headed or how long we would be gone.

We fished the Owyhee, Big Lost, Salmon, Bitterroot, Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Madison River on our 2,591 mile 19 day fall fly fishing road trip. Most of our days were smokey, but the last day finally gave way to blue skies for a short time.

You know I use images to tell my story, so here are a few of my favorite images from 2020 as I went back through this year’s posts.

This is a good memory. I kept missing fish rising to my fly on the Madison River, MT.

$3 Bridge Pocket Water |

I still remember several fish I hooked, played, and lost…great memories.

In fact, we spent a lot of time on the Madison in July, August, and September.

We did manage to hook and land our share.

Madison River Rainbow Trout |

We return to fish the caddis hatch in early July and have been amazed at the number of rising fish. These are STRONG fish and more than one straightened our hooks!

Madison River Rainbow with X Caddis |

We love the Madison River valley. It’s just a magical place.

Metolius Rainbow |
Galloup's Sunken Spinner in Brown Trout on Madison River |

We loved fall fly fishing on the Madison River.

Fall on the Madison River at $3 Bridge |
Madison Rainbow |
Madison River Rainbow |

We had some memorable fly fishing on the Clark Fork as well (Fly Fishing the Clark Fork Again).

Chunky Clark Fork Cutthroat Trout |
Netting Clark Fork Rainbow Trout |
Clark Fork Cutthroat Trout Closeup |

Here is a double…

Clark Fork Cutthroat Trout Double |

And this beautifully colored Cutthroat from Kelly Creek, ID (Return to NF Clearwater and Kelly Creek).

Here are a few images from our home waters of the Metolius.

Mayfly from Above |
Trout Cheek |
Hatchmaster and Non-Twist Knot |
Metolius October Rainbow |
Colorful Rainbow |
Caddis Closeup |
Rainbow with Fly |

I was slowly getting into position to cast to rising fish and startled this Bull Trout. I was lucky he didn’t go too far and slowly returned to his favorite lie, which allowed me to stick my Olympus TG-6 underwater and snap a few shots.

You might recall I keep track of the flies I tie. This year, the grand total is 2,550, with a couple more days to go until the new year. The total includes flies I use, give away, and tie for my customer orders. I’d like to give a special “thank you” to my customers who purchased my flies. I hope you enjoyed fishing them as much as I did tying them!

X Caddis - Tan |
X Caddis
#4 Dolly Lama and #22 In-The-Film CDC Midge Emerger

#22 In-The-Film CDC Midge Emerger

4 Size 22 In-The-Film CDC Midge Emergers on a Dime |
#22 In-The-Film CDC Midge Emerger

And a close-up of a few IOBO Humpies.

BWO Close-Up |

This was a fun project, learning and tying Thunder Thighs Hopper Patterns.

I tied a few extra for my provider box and was looking forward to fishing them in Montana. As they say…the rest of the story…I left them at home! Hopefully, I’ll pack them for this years trip.

Thunder Thighs - Flesh |
Thunder Thighs - Tan |

 Here is a new fly I learned this year…Galloup’s Compara Spinner 

I was honored and humbled to be recognized for the quality of files I tie.  I was featured in the Nov/Dec American Fly Fishing magazine’s “Master at the Bench”.

American Fly Fishing Magazine |

I continue to receive positive recognition for my RiverKeeper Flies website and I appreciate all your comments. I am pleased so many fly fishers deem it reliable and informative. A couple of Resources have been well received:

I hope you continue to read my posts and utilize RiverKeeper Flies website as a valuable resource for your fly fishing and fly tying.

I have to say it was a tremendous year and one I won’t soon forget. I’m looking forward to 2021 for some exciting fly fishing road trips.

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. Hi J and K. Thank you for your efforts o this web site. I always enjoy your flies, photos and information!
    I missed visiting with you both this past summer. ( Hope the virus will be controlled soon.) a summer without Riverburgers is empty☹️.
    Happy new years

  2. John, I am having an enjoyable rainy afternoon reviewing the recent Blog entry (2020 Highlights) and printing pages of patterns that I had meant to tie but had not gotten to yet. We are in for a ten day run of rainy days – good time to make up for lost time, and to be ready for the coming season. Happy holidays!

  3. John.. I look forward to your blog. The content is fresh and well written. One of these days I’m going to catch you and Mrs. K on the water and will spend my day watching how its done.
    Best wishes for the new year.

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