Do you know how it feels to have caught one of these huge Chinook (king) salmon coming from one of the few rivers passing thru the pure wilderness of Chile?
No? - Well, I don't either. But I will next year! ;)
This season not too many Chinook salmon yet were entering their home river to spawn in the end of the season. That made it very difficult to get a hook up. We have been a group of 8 fly fishermen and just two of us succeeded (one each). Well done Chris and Matt! (picture of Chris and guide Jeppe above)
Fair to summarize we all fished pretty hard during the whole week. Often starting with breakfast at 5:30am and then starting to fish just after. While we had a nice lunch break in the middle of the day we mostly stopped fishing when the darkness arrived and then had dinner close to midnight.
The dinner as well as our lodge was fantastic by the way! Thanks a lot to the whole team!
Great thanks also to all the guides - Mariano and Jeppe in particular. You both did a great job and managed to make a none catching day a great fishing day!
About the fishing...
Most fly fishermen had Skagit lines/systems with them. Having just fished one week on the secret Chinook river I (carefully) tend to think most Skagit systems did not fully match the river. The river in many places is quite deep, 13 - 20 feet as it looked to me. When using sinktips in the length of 10 - 15 feet it's nearly impossible to constantly get the fly down to the bottom. Even with a T17 or T20 hanging down almost vertical. Such sinktips are too short. For Skagit casting I don't like to have longer tips though.
Using a full sinking head and casting it in Scandi style seems more appropriate to me. That's what I instead will do on my next trip. Yes, no way I need to return and fullfill my dream of catching one of these massive Chile chromers. Have seen several huge (20-30 Kg) King salmon rolling on the surface during the week. Fantastic fish for sure!
We fished from the shore (wading wise) and off the boat. From the shore in quite many spots pretty long casts were usefull in order to hit proper drifts. The boat easily could be positioned near the hot spots.
Flies? I recommend to have
a) some heavy frances style ones small to medium size
b) some medium to large tubeflies (weigthed and unweighted) with lots of flash on
c) some bright colored tubes and/or intruders - like those being often used for Steelhead (again weigthed and unweigthed)
Pretty strong hooks are a must have!
For a tippet I would not go below 0,40mm since there are numerous large stones in the river.
Special thanks to my fishing buddies Chris (who safed our group ;) ), Richard (already miss your guitar) and Birger (loved to share the boat with you!). My biggest thanks to you, Ernst - I couldn't have done it without you! Looking forward to fish with you!!!
Damned - I can't wait to go back - probably will happen next year.
But then I will go more than just 6 days. I almost forget about being rich in time is much better for me than being rich in money but always having to go on short fly fishing trips. Short fishing trips mean too much pressure to me. The longer I go the more relaxed I fish!
Great week and a relaxed fishy trip to all of you!
All my best