For many exploratory trips to a number of rivers along the Chilean coast chasing rumors massive King Salmon colonizing the area, we found on the last river of the expedition that this could be "the one". Blown away by the jaw-dropping scenery and unable to catch a single King under 25lbs.
The River runs through a green valley surrounded by glacier-capped granite mountains. Even after heaving rains, the river runs a deep turquoise color and has a variety of fishy structure, from gravel beaches, big boulders, classic tailwaters, and deep runs.
The bulk of the salmon run seems to arrive in mid-January – mid March.The chosen location for Austral Kings Camp is right on the river and we will be able to access five kilometres of water by foot, and 20 more by jetboat. Fishing will be done mostly from the bank swinging flies.
The weather in summer is generally quite friendly, most of the time 10°–20°C. Due its closeness to the marine environment we might have occasional rain or fog.
The Austral Kings Lodge is located in southern Chile in the Los Lagos Region six hours south of Puerto Montt. The location is accessible only by sea or by air. Your journey to Austral Kings begins in Santiago, Chile.
How to get here?
Arrive at Santiago, Chile then you can take a flight to Puerto Montt.
Arrive in Santiago and catch connecting flight to Puerto Montt. Overnight at your elected accommodations in either Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas (independently arranged, not included).
At 6-7 AM you will be picked up at your hotel and transported to Caleta la Arena to catch a ferry across the fjord, continuing on by land to the port of Hornopiren. From there you will board a private boat to take you the remainder of the way (~2hrs) to Austral Kings. Total travel time is 5-6 hrs. Upon arrival the camp/lodge, you will get settled in, have something to eat, and fish the nearby home pools.
Six full days of guided fishing at Austral Kings!
Depart camp around 1pm in time to catch private boat back to Puerto Montt, arriving at approximately 7pm. Catch late flight returning to Santiago, or overnight in Puerto Montt and return the following morning.
Despite the remote location, don’t plan on roughing it. This wilderness camp is Chilean “glamping” at its finest. Guests will stay in two spacious double occupancy luxury canvas tents equipped with comfortable Twin XL beds, chairs, and equipment storage. Guests will use a bathhouse with two bathrooms – each with a shower (and hot running water), sink and flush toilet. All meals will be prepared in the fixed camp kitchen and served in a large dining/lounge tent. While it would not be fair to call this camp five-star, it has been thoughtfully constructed and is very comfortable by camp standards. It is located in the middle of the upper river’s most productive reach in a spectacular setting near the river.
The camp accommodates four anglers
Power and Communications: The camp has reliable electric power during the evening hours and limited back-up battery lighting for after hours (220 volts, 50 cycles, generator powered). For the most part, a “Type C” two pronged travel plug adaptor should work fine throughout Chile. The camp also has a satellite phone for emergency use.
Water: There is no problem drinking water from the camp faucets however bottle water is always available.
Laundry: Due to the remote location laundry is not available.
Spey Rods: 13-15ft double handed rods in line weights 8-10. 14ft rods are nice for lifting heavy tips or sinking heads. Spare rods are nice in case of an accident.
Spey Lines: Skagit heads like the Airflo Skagit Compact or the Rio Skagit Max. Anglers are also using more intermediate Skagit heads like the SA Skagit Extreme, the Airflo Skagit Intermediate, or the Rio IFlight for fishing deep. We recommend having at least one of these. Also, two good options for full sinking shooting heads are the Rio UST and the Next cast Salar finder, both have scandi taper design, easy to cast, sink 3/5, 5, 5/7 are highly recommended. Custom spey tips made from T14 in 10, 12, 15 and 18ft lengths are staples.
Single handed Rods: 9-10ft 10 wt rods. Single handed Lines: Shooting heads of various sink rates, from slow-sink to super fast.
Reels: Kings are tough on reels but most high quality saltwater reels do the job. We recommend 250-400 yards of 50+ pound gel spun or tuff line for kings. Please spool it on extra tight so it doesn’t dig in on itself under intense drag pressure.
Leaders: 4-6ft level leaders in 20-30lb. Fluorocarbon preferred.
Flies: For kings we like small patterns like 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inch flies with 1-3/0 trailing hooks. We like these patterns in chartreuse, hot pink, purple and black and blue. For big flies , Intruder type flies, string leeches and large tubes are popular. We like anglers to have them in weighted and unweighted versions. Big tubes are excellent as you can use a variety of strong trailing hooks. The best trailing hooks are Owner SSW’s and Mustad Octopus Beak hooks in 1-3/0. Note that it is hard to find commercially tied king flies. Austral kings will have a wide selection of flies at reasonable prices.
The summer climate of this southernmost area of South America is extremely variable; a wide range of temperatures and conditions should be expected. We recommend layering clothes, enabling you to add or subtract garments during the day. All guests should be prepared with thermal underwear, fleece/soft shell jacket, and a reliable rain jacket. We also highly recommend bringing your own headlamp or flash light.
The first king salmon enter the river during December and our season starts in early January and run well into March. Austral Kings is all about fishing for fresh king salmon so we end the season well before the fish start to color up.
On every tide new fresh king salmon enter the river and at any given week in season you will be fishing over a remarkable number of fish that will often show while rolling.
What makes good weeks turn into great weeks is therefore not based on the number of fish in the river but rather on the best possible weather conditions. Very clear water and blue skies makes for tougher fishing than when a bit of rain or melt off help color the water a bit. And with the surrounding granite mountains a being blown out isn’t possible.
Accommodations and meals, transfers to/from Puerto Montt and lodge, wine and beer, alcohol, guided fishing, and fishing license.
What´s Not Included:
International and domestic airfare, travel insurance (highly recommended), food/hotels in Puerto Montt, transfers, fishing equipment, and staff and guide gratuities.