Small one-person woodworking business located in Helena, Montana creating handmade wood products using locally sourced supplies. Enjoying a life of fly fishing, craft beer, good people and everything that living in a small community in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana has to offer. Work hard, be humble, stay fit!
ABOUT THE MAKER
Jeff Camplese is a finish carpenter and woodworker who has been creating and crafting for over 35 years. He specializes in building stand-alone and built-in cabinetry, custom furniture, and trim work.Throughout the years some projects he has been involved with are detailed libraries, fireplace mantels, beamed ceilings, curved staircases as well as numerous bathroom and kitchen renovations.
WHAT MY CLIENTS ARE SAYING
Jeff has done work in our 1889 house since 2006, beginning with trim work in our existing house and eventually performing all the trim work in the 3-story addition and major cabinetry work in the kitchen. Additionally, he crafted and installed a floor to ceiling bookshelf and four-person "cubby" unit in our mudroom that we use every day. He has worked in every room of the original part of our house, be it restoring original windows to working order, installing missing cornices or repairing damaged trim. Jeff listens to what owners want, and is easy going. He is extremely talented, very precise, and his work is outstanding. I would highly recommend him to anyone.
I have known and worked with Jeff for over 20 years now! When I was a builder, he trimmed out our houses and did custom woodwork where needed. Since then, he has done several built-in shelves for our houses and some nice pieces of furniture. He is always a pleasure to work with, is a great listener, a kind and soft-spoken person, and a good friend as well. I am looking forward to seeing what Jeff does next with his talents.
Having known Jeff for more than 15 years and I can honestly say that he’s the genuine article. As a friend, Jeff is honest, compassionate, quick to humor and simply put he is just the kind of human you want to spend time around. As an artist and woodworker — he’s a master at his craft. As the daughter of a carpenter and wife of a furniture maker, I recognize quality work when I see it and would be thrilled to have some of Jeff’s beautiful work in my own home. Jeff is deliberate and thoughtful in all the ways that matter — most visible in his approach to life and art. I consider myself lucky to know and love Jeff — he’s one of the good ones.
ABOUT THE FLIES
The Wooly Bugger imitates everything from larger freshwater nymphs, baitfish, and leeches, to saltwater crayfish, shrimp, and crabs. It’s commonly referred to as a “streamer pattern,” or a wet fly, and is fished under the surface of the water, often using a sinking line. The origins of the Wooly Bugger aren’t particularly clear, but fly tyer Russell Blessing is given credit for tying the pattern in the 1960s. The Wooly Bugger, or “bugger” for short, is found in every fly angler’s box, and can be an incredibly effective pattern on trout streams during a rainstorm or overcast day. The pattern is tied in a number of variations and in nearly every color imaginable.
A classic take on a baitfish pattern, the Zonker is one of the most effective streamer patters ever created. Dan Byford is credited with inventing the pattern in the 1970s when he began using rabbit fur to tie his streamers instead of traditional feathers and bucktail. When you fish a zonker pattern, the first thing you’ll notice is how the natural fur imitates a baitfish darting away from a predator. This pattern can be fished on any trout river and is a generic and effective streamer pattern that should be in every angler’s fly box.
The Muddler Minnow has its roots in Minnesota, but was popularized in Montana by Dan Bailey. The pattern is often tied with a spun deer hair head and when complete, imitates a sculpin, baitfish, or drown terrestrial. The pattern has inspired a number of spin off patterns, including Spuddler, Muddler Hopper, Mizzoulian Spook, Searcy Muddler, Keel Muddler. When it comes to catching large predatory trout and salmon, the Muddler Minnow or one its contemporaries is often the fly of choice.
The sculpin is a small bottom dwelling fish that inhabits both freshwater and saltwater. They are a common source of food and are often preyed on by large trout. Tying the perfect sculpin pattern has long been an interest of fly tyers, and today there are multiple variations of the pattern. The sculpin pattern is a wet fly, often fished as a streamer with movement, or beneath an indicator in fast current.
Bow River Bugger
The Bow River Bugger combines the best of the wooly bugger and muddler minnow to form a heavy, weighted fly perfected for catching trout on Canada’s Bow River. Peter Chenier is credited with developing the pattern in the 1980s and the pattern is now used around the world. The most common colors are black, olive, and white. The Bow River Bugger is meant to be fished on the bottom of the river and is designed to imitate sculpin and baitfish.
Jackson Hole guide Jim Jones is credited with creating the JJ Special, which is by all accounts a combination of a Bighorn Special and Yuk Bug. It’s a leggy streamer, which drives both anglers and trout wild. According to Mike Stack of Fishtales Outfitting in Montana, “Jones’ JJ Special originally had white rubber legs but lacked a conehead. Jones incorporated parts of some of his other favorite patterns, the brown and yellow marabou tail from a Bighorn Special, the white rubber legs and grizzly hackle from the Yuk Bug. Jim kept the JJ Special under his hat for about a year before a friend and commercial fly tier Pete Wiswell began fishing them on the Madison and Snake River as well as others. Wiswell added the yellow rubber legs that have now become standard on the pattern and the JJ Special was born.”
The Royal Wulff is a staple dry fly pattern that can be found in nearly every fly shop. Lee Wulff and Q.L. Quakenbush are credited with developing the pattern in the 1930s in New York along the Beaverkill River. The pattern borrows from the Royal Coachman dry fly, which is designed as an attractor dry fly pattern. The Royal Wullf’s choice of red, green and white suggests royalty, and its effectiveness fooling trout cannot be dismissed. Variations of the Royal Wullf were introduced by Lee Wulff and Dan Bailey in the 1930s including the Grey Wulff, White Wulff and Black Wulff.
Elk Hair Caddis
The elk hair caddis is the most popular and widely used caddis imitation ever created. Pennsylvania Tyer Al Troth is credited with developing the pattern in 1957. The elk hair caddis is generally considered an attractor pattern and can pass as an adult caddisfly and stonefly on the water. Troth first fished the elk hair caddis on Loyalsock Creek in eastern Pennsylvania. Today, the pattern is fished anywhere caddis and stoneflies are found.
The Parachute Adams is the quintessential mayfly pattern. Leonard Halladay of Michigan developed the pattern in the 1920s and encouraged his friend Charles F. Adams to fish the fly on the nearby Boardman River. Adams found the fly to work wonderfully and reported to Halladay, who decided to name the pattern after his friend. Today, the Parachute Adams is tied in a wide array of colors and variations. A simple, but highly effective pattern, the Parachute Adams is an extremely popular and widely used mayfly imitation.
Dame Juliana Berners was the first to make note of March brown mayfly in her book A Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle published in 1496. Today, there are dozens of variations that attempt to copy the mayfly, which as the name suggests, begins hatching on trout streams in March and April. The fly is often tied with feathers or hackle, and can be fished as a dry or wet fly. The March Brown is a popular an effective spring and early summer pattern that every angler should have in their box.
Just who invented the Stimulator is a matter of discussion. Whether it was Jim Slattery of West Yellowstone or Randall Kaufmann of American Coast Angler, no one is entirely sure, but what is for certain is that the fly catches fish. A variation of the elk hark caddis, the Stimulator, or “stimmie” is an attractor pattern that imitates adult caddis and stoneflies. In an interview with The English Fly Fishing Shop Slattery had the following to say about the true origins of the Stimulator:
"I invented that," Jim Slattery says, "That was my tie". Jim who moved to West Yellowstone is not usually accredited with being the original designer of the Stimulator fly-fishing pattern. This honor normally goes to Randall Kaufmann, shop owner and American West Coast angler. Jim tells friends and customers that he originally tied this stonefly pattern when he lived in New Jersey back in 1980, to fish the Musconetcong River. It was based on the Sofa Pillow and originally called the Fluttering Stonefly but later changed to the Stimulator after a New York City punk-rock group. He tells clients that the fly was nearly named after his own punk rock band called Violator. As an attractor fly the Stimulator name is superb. It does what it says on the tin. It stimulates the trout's interest into taking the fly. Jim's original fly was a bit different to the Stimulator tied today. The shape, contrasting colors, materials used length of thorax and abdomen were roughly the same? What was different was that the hair for the wing was not stacked. It was still great at catching fish, so much so that it came to the attention of Randell Kaufmann in California. He modified it, kept the same name and did a lot to expose this style of tying. It is affectionately known as the "Stim" or "Stimmie". Jim Slattery owns Fireside Angler in the town of West Yellowstone.
The Griffith’s Gnat is credited to George Griffith, one of the co-founders of Trout Unlimited, but there is speculation that Walt Shaw invented the pattern and showed it to Griffiths. The pattern can be fished as a dry fly to imitate mating midges or as a nymph just under the surface. Many variations have followed the original, but most employ the same basic formula or gray and black thread and peacock herl for the body.
Longtime Montana outfitter and guide Patrick Straub describes the Yellow Sally as, “The smallest of the stonefly species, yet they hatch in the most abundance and the most frequently. Unlike salmon flies or golden stoneflies, that sees a hatch move through a stretch of river, Yellow sally stoneflies will hatch for days in the same section. Unlike salmon flies and stoneflies, Yellow sallies hatch more like mayflies and caddis as the nymphs emerge slowly through the water column and the hatched adults fly over the water’s surface in dancing-like flights to mate and lay eggs. Adults range in size from hook sizes 10 to 18 with most being 10 to 14.”
The Rusty Spinner is a classic pattern meant to imitate a mayfly during its final stage of life. Often referred to as a “spent” spinner, this pattern has splayed wings and is often tied in brown or rusty color. The Rusty Spinner is often fished on tailwaters or trout streams with prolific mayfly hatches. It is necessary have for any anglers’ fly box.
Blue Winged Olive
The Blue Winged Olive (BWO) is not a single species, but a group of them in the genus Baetis. There are many mayflies out there with olive bodies and gray- or duncolored wings, the key during a Blue-Winged Olive hatch is to get the size right. These tiny mayflies rule the rivers half the year, the half most people don’t fish. Hatches can begin as early as late September and continue until April, with the best activity in February and early March. I’ve never been out fishing in the winter when we didn’t have a few blue-winged olives every afternoon.
Perhaps the most famous of all mayfly hatches is the green drake. A large and unmistakably green mayfly, the green drake hatch is a favorite hatch among anglers, and has inspired numerous patterns that imitate every life stage of the mayfly.
There are few nymphs that have caught as many or more fish that the Prince Nymph. Invented by Doug Prince of Monterey, California in the 1940s, the Prince is now a staple of every anglers’ nymphing arsenal. The nymph imitates mayfly and stonefly nymphs and is tied in a variety of colors and sizes.
John Barr could not have realized the stir this pattern would create throughout the fly fishing and tying world. Originated in 1996, the Copper John steadily gained popularity and creditability among fly anglers all over the world. In 2001, this nymph pattern became the bestselling fly in the Umpqua catalog of flies joining the likes of other classic nymph patterns such as the Hare’s Ear and Prince Nymph.
An emerger is when the nymphs, or larval stage of the insects are floating to the surface of the river to shed their casing and become adult flies. They will “emerge” from the shell of the nymph and for a small time will float near the surface trying to remove their wings and body from the casing before flying off as an adult mayfly or caddis.
Pheasant Tail Nymph
Originally conceived and tied by Frank Sawyer MBE, an English River Keeper, the Pheasant Tail Nymph is one of the oldest of modern nymphs. Frank devised the pattern for use on the chalk streams of Southern England. He designed this nymph to imitate several species of the Baetis family, generally referred to as the 'olives'; it quickly became world famous.
The Hare's Ear nymph is a fly fishing lure that is fished below the surface. It is thus a wet fly or nymph. It is an older pattern that imitates a variety of aquatic life, including scuds, sow bugs, mayfly nymphs, and caddis larvae.
Oklahoma fly tyer Dave Whitlock conceived the Dave's Hopper in the 1950s when he was dissatisfied with the performance of the Joe's Hopper pattern popularized by angler Joe Brooks in his Trout Fishing (1958). Joe's Hopper (also known as the Michigan Hopper) was created in the 1920s by a Traverse City barber and fishing guide, Art Winnie. It was essentially the only hopper pattern being tied commercially in the 1950s. Joe's Hopper has a red hackle fiber tail and traditional rooster hackle for legs. Whitlock believed its biggest faults were its tendency to twist the leader and failure to float well for long periods. Whitlock's friend Joe Brooks suggested Whitlock use the Muddler Minnow as a hopper imitation instead. This inspired Whitlock to combine the best features of both flies, particularly the spun deer hair head, into the fly known as Dave's Hopper. The fly was originally tied without the yellow grizzly hackle stem legs. Fly tyer and fishing guide Jay Buckner of Jackson, Wyoming, suggested that Whitlock add these legs to the pattern to improve its performance.
The Dave's Hopper imitates adult short-horned grasshoppers (suborder Caelifera) of which there are thousands of individual species. Grasshoppers frequent grassy areas adjacent to rivers and lakes but are generally considered weak flyers. During windy conditions or when trying to cross bodies of water, they routinely land in the water and are consumed by fish. The Dave's Hopper is a generic terrestrial pattern designed to float and suggest a grasshopper that has just fallen into the water. They are most often fished close to banks and shorelines. They have proven to be an effective summertime and fall pattern for trout, bass and panfish anywhere grasshoppers are found.
Pat's Rubber Legs
The Pat’s Rubber Legs was created by guide Pat Bennett of Hyde Outfitters in Island Park, Idaho. Building on other big stonefly patterns, such as the Girdle Bug, Bennett developed a pattern effective on the Snake River. This particular color pattern–black and coffee–is a particular favorite of guides throughout the Rockies, and they’ll fish it year-round as a searching or “attractor” pattern.
During the late summer ants become a source of food for trout. Black and tan colored patterns are popular as are foam bodied and parachute ants.
Origin: The stonefly (sometimes called a salmonfly, troutfly or willowfly) is available to trout in two stages: the nymph and the egg laying adult. The nymphs can normally be found in cool, well-oxygenated, fast water and rapids that have stony or rocky bottoms. This is how they got their name 'stonefly'. However, a few species have adapted to living in slower water with silt and weed. This is why they can also be found in still water, mainly near stony lake or reservoir shores. The Stonefly nymph is an important source of food for the trout and other fish. It cannot swim. This should be kept in mind when fishing. It spends it life crawling over the gravel and stony river and lake beds. They eat small invertebrate animals, decaying plant material, organic matter, algae and bacteria. They get oxygen from the water by diffusion or by means of external, feathery gill tufts. These may be present on the head, neck, or thorax. They prefer cold water as it holds more oxygen than warm water. They cannot survive in polluted water. As the nymphs grow, they develop long tails at the end of their abdomen and segmented wing pads on their back. They can molt their skins up to 30 times and some species take up to 4 years to develop from egg to adult. Pale colored soft-skinned nymphs that have just molted their skins are a particular attractive target for the local fish. As their shell hardens, it darkens in color.