November 1st is a time when seasons change for me.

I just finished tying 100 dozen flies for the year. Whew! Finally got ‘em done. Wasn’t sure if I would meet my goal this year. Had to tie about 10 dozen the last two days to reach that goal.

So here is my 1,200th fly…a size 18 PMD Sparkle Dun.

Sparkle Dun PMD |

But let me back up a bit.

I’ve had some great fishing this year. November 1st marks a major milestone in trout fishing. Some rivers, streams, and lakes close. On my home river, the upper river is now closed to protect rainbows and brown trout as they begin to spawn during the winter months.

Hopefully, good fishing will linger on for another couple of weeks. It’s already off to a good start. Here’s a beautiful rainbow my fishing partner caught yesterday.

Metolius Rainbow |

And another…yup, took the Sparkle Dun!

Metolius Rainbow |

But Mother Nature may have other plans for us and not extend our good fall fly fishing season. Time will tell.

November 1st is also the start of a new “fly tying season” for me. I decided several years ago to begin counting all the flies I tied. I was curious how many I really tied in a year. The problem was when to begin counting? Use a calendar year? Fishing season?

Well, I finally settled on November 1 to October 31. It seemed to coincide with the seasonal change in fly fishing. To me, bad weather provides more opportunities to tie flies and re-stock fly boxes. Perfect!

With my “fly tying year” established, I started tying flies and counting them. Perhaps a little anal, but I had to know!

Year 1 – 111 dozen

Year 2 – 120 dozen

Year 3 – 106 dozen

Last year – 100 dozen

Here are a few flies from the last couple of days…Sparkle Duns and my RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple

Plate of flies |

Why 100 dozen? It just seemed like a good round number. I certainly don’t need that many. I’ve been known to hook a tree behind me on occasion, but if I was that bad, you’d find all my secret fishin’ holes!!

I donate a lot of flies to my local fly club for monthly raffles. I tie for a few friends. I’ve handed out flies at Central Oregon Project Healing Waters (see my Project Healing Waters blog post if you haven’t read it). And I’ve been known to hand out a few flies along the river too.

But the real reason is I truly enjoy tying flies. So I keep tying.

So what were the popular flies this year?

Well, I tied 23 dozen Sparkle Duns ranging in sizes 20 to 8…Blue Wing Olives to Green Drakes. And they all caught fish.

Another popular fly that caught fish was my RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple

RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple

RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple - PMD |

I tied a total of 11 dozen of them in a variety of sizes and colors. 

RiverKeeper Soft Hackles |

So now that I’ve finished my 100 dozen, it’s time to clean off my fly tying desk, organize my space, and get ready for the next 100 dozen.

Fly Tying Desk |

I think I’ll start with a few spey flies. We’ll see how they turn out.

Go fish!

(Be sure to Follow RiverKeeper Flies on Facebook) 

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  1. Van

    Thanks for the vote of confidence for my flies. Always happy to hear a successful fish story with you catching a fish on one of my flies.


  2. Whenever the fishing is tough – I tie on a John Kreft fly and almost always catch fish. His flies are simple, float well, look natural and fool the fish. Congrats on your 100 dozen flies John! I look forward to fishing your flies this next “year”…

  3. Great spot for your tie bench. Much better than facing the wall. We all appreciate those donated flys too John. Great to see you able to fish so much.

    1. Steve,

      Thanks for NOT commenting about how messy it was. Well, I finally got it all cleaned off. Might have to take a picture and document that fact!


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