Valley of the Kings – Austral River Lodge, Chile

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By now, we hope you’ve heard or read that Salmon Junkies has secured a long-term contract with Austral River Lodge for the 2018 season (and beyond) to operate a fishing program on the most talked about Chinook river in Chilean Patagonia — a river with a significant run of wild-occurring, chrome-bright king salmon. Beginning this January and running through mid-March, we will share this emerging fishery with a limited number of rods.

Weeks are filling for 2018, but there are a few prime openings still available. Don’t delay, though; January arrives in just a few months. If you have an interest, I encourage you to contact me now to get in on the inaugural go ‘round.

Available rods 2018

13/1 – 20/1 – One rod available
20/1 – 27/1 – One rod available
3/3 – 10/3 – One rod available

In case you missed it before, here’s the backstory, with an update on staffing for 2018…
Since 2015, rumors of dime-bright, fly-caught 30- to 60-pound Chinook on a stunning river in a remote region of coastal southern Chile have echoed through the spey fishing community like siren songs. With phrases like “the perfect salmon river” or “the best Chinook fishing today” traded in hushed conversation, the destination has assumed the aura of a modern day salmon fishing paradise. Could the rumors and speculation actually be true? After an exploratory season and one full client season, the answer is a definitive YES! With a legitimate chance to hook a bright salmon over 50 pounds on any day in any week of the season, this fishery is absolutely not a fantasy. But don’t take my word for it; see recent articles in Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod & Reel and Chasing Silver magazines for reference.

To bring this opportunity to you, Salmon Junkies has gone directly to the powers that be, and signed a long-term contract with the landowner and family of Austral River Lodge. Situated on the river’s tidal reach, this charming Chilean-style facility is positioned perfectly to take advantage of each tide’s bounty of kings. The fishing program — available to only fours rods per week in the capable, experienced hands of two of British Columbia’s premier Chinook guides — will focus on the river’s lower 30 kilometers, where primary resting and holding pools provide optimum water for targeting these magnificent salmon at their fresh-from-the-sea best.

We invite you to join us for 2018 and beyond at what we believe could truly be one of the world’s last great venues to swing flies for trophy salmon. But do come prepared. These very real and rugged Austral kings will test your angling skill, as well as every element of your tackle. It won’t be easy — such glories never are. But, yes, here you could very well reach the summit of your angling life. Indeed, we believe we are offering passage to a magical land… A place we call Valley of the Kings.


Austral River Lodge overlooks the river’s estuary and ocean fjord. Four anglers per week will enjoy single occupancy rooms, each with attached, private shower and bath, as well as easy access to power and even cell phone service. Each room has been designed with ample storage for angling gear and tackle. The lodge is built in Chile’s classic countryside style featuring a decorated common area with wood stove for socializing and dining. Renovations and remodeling are underway now in preparation for the season ahead. Without a doubt, Austral River Lodge is unique — a comfortable wilderness palace surrounded by breathtaking Andean massifs, situated perfectly to reveal the enchanting soul of Chilean Patagonia.

Fishing Program

Originating high in the glacier-capped Andes, the river flows sparkling and clear with a touch of turquoise. It courses through a lush valley and offers a variety of fish-holding structure, including gravel bars, large boulders, deep runs and classic tail-outs. The upper reaches are steep and lively, while the lower section slows considerably, creating juicy holding water before emptying into the fjord in front of the lodge. With tides averaging 20 feet, there are wonderful opportunities for finding ultra-fresh kings on the moving tides.
The Austral River Lodge program includes roughly 35 kilometers of water accessed by jet boat. On a daily basis we will rotate with four rods from Austral Kings Camp located a few kilometers upstream from the lodge. Most fishing is swinging flies while wading or from the bank, but there are a number of productive runs that may be fished from the boat. Anglers will rotate through both upper-river and lower-river beats.

Our experienced and hard working team of Canadian Fishing Guides at Austral River Lodge and the friendly Barril family, who own Austral River Lodge, will make sure you are feel home in the Chilean wilderness. Each member of our small crew knows their job extremely well and all are an important cog in a well-oiled and very cosy package.

Be sure you are one of the fortunate few to fish with us at Austral River Lodge in 2018! For more detailed information regarding Austral River Lodge please drop me a mail and visit our trip page on our website

Tight lines

Steffen Juhl