Not long ago I received a manuscript from an old friend, titled A Flyfishing Guide to the Yellowstone Waters. It’s a short text, thirty-some pages, though judging from the abrupt ending there may have been more planned or already in existence. It appears to have been written around 1960/1961. Those were days when published information on fishing Yellowstone waters was hard to come by.
The accompanying cover letter suggests that the author was a “Mr. Wellington”. Likely, this was a reference to Herb Wellington, deceased owner of the Longhorn Ranch outside Ennis, Montana (home to O’Dell Spring Creek). The manuscript was being mailed to Jack Hemingway, Ernest’s son and serious fly angler, from Charles Scribner, Jr., of the eponymous New York publishing house. My friend originally acquired his copy of the manuscript from Dan Callaghan (another deceased friend of mine; the fly fishing world is small). Dan and Jack were longtime angling partners, and I surmise that it was through this friendship that Dan came to acquire it.
Avid Yellowstone anglers will, I think, enjoy Mr. Wellington’s take on several of the well-known Park waters. His text about the Firehole, Gibbon, and the Madison in and out of the Park follows.
Attribution of text underlines is unknown.
If you’re struck—as I am—by the author’s recommendation of 18′ leaders for fishing the Firehole, recall that in those days 7 and 8-weight fly lines were de rigueur for western trout fishing. Having had the opportunity to fish for (but not catch) very large fish in the Firehole myself, I can attest to their extreme wariness, making such leaders a practical if not essential choice. Following are the manuscript pages regarding the Madison River. For readers familiar with the Madison and its lakes, many of Mr. Wellington’s observations should make for interesting reading. Attribution of text underlines unknown.