“Do you think anyone is going to believe us when we tell them how big they are and how many fish are down here,” said Gary Loomis. “This is an amazing fishery. We
have landed more Chinook salmon in the 40 to 50 pound class than below 40 pounds.
This is a new Alaska before the 50's.” Fishing with Clancy Holt, Gary Loomis, Vern Dollar and I caught 16 Chinook salmon in five hours of trolling. Only two fish weighed less
than 40 pounds. Loomis caught the biggest, it tipped the scale at 61 lbs., and six were over 50 lbs. and seven were between 40 and 50 lbs. It was the first of five incredible days of fishing.
Loomis was right—the fishing is amazing.
This assessment coming from one of the most experienced salmon anglers in the world is a tribute to this emerging fishery. Where is it? Alaska, Russia, New Zealand? No, it is in the
Patagonia of Chile an hour and a half by air to the south of Santiago on the Petrohue River, home river of Yan Kee Way Lodge. The Petrohue winds it way down from the Andes into a giant fjord, which flanks
the Pacific Ocean. Similar to the Snake River it is a winding muscular river fed by over 80 inches of rainfall annually. Long known for rainbow and browns in the 6-10 lb. range, the salmon fishery was the
red haired stepchild until Michael Darland, owner of Yan Kee Way Lodge and Southern Chile Expeditions realized its potential and turned it into reality for traveling anglers.
While Loomis and Holt racked up significant catches at the mouth of the river in the estuary, up river, fly fisherman Jeremy Stern was fulfilling a life long dream of catching a Chinook salmon on
a fly. His wife bought him the trip with Southern Chile Expeditions for his 50th birthday. Guide Reinaldo Ovando Vásquez, a legendary Chilean fly fisherman and guide took Jeremy upstream by jet boat
to one of Petrohue Rivers crystal clear holes.
Massive salmon were tucked in against the far bank. Jeremy could see their sleek dark torpedo forms. He cinched on a hand tied streamer, judged the distance for his first cast in Chile and
let it fly. Several strips into his retrieve the fly stopped. He thought he was snagged, and then the rod was nearly jerked from his grip...........
If you wish to read the story of our season opening “click” here
To see some Trophy King Salmon we caught, “click” on the links below.
BETTER YET, COME AND CATCH THEM WITH US!