The giants of Yelcho

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You’re a fresh water fisherman. What you’d like to do is catch some big trout on maybe 2 – 3 x tippet, and maybe some chinook salmon? See Chile’s Yelcho lake and river. Located near the town of Chaiten in northern Patagonia, its one of the most fertile and productive stretches of fresh water in the world, particularly when guided to deadly efficiency by veterinarian Steve Selway of Puma Fishing Lodge, who, in the offseason, spends his time pampering Triple Crown winner, American Pharaoh, in Kentucky. 
 
If you make it down to fish with Steve be sure to bring your 0X, thick tippet. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) lists Steve and Patricio Soto, manager of Puma Fishing Lodge, as holding world records, for fish all caught at Yelcho, in some pretty interesting categories.  These include catches in 2015 of a 45.67 inch (116 cm) chinook salmon, which broke their own previous record from 2014, and a 6-pound (2.7 kilos) perch. In 2012, they landed a record 35.8 inch (90.9 cm) coho salmon.  We’re awaiting verification from the IGFA of a new world record for percha trucha. Those are just the world records.  Puma’s catch certificates alone are apparently becoming legion. 
 
Clearly these folks have the skills to land sea monsters, or, rather, stream monsters.  We could ask why, but why bother?  According to Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the IGFA, “..in the past ten years, more freshwater world records (4) have come out of Puma Lodge than any other location in Chile.”  There are serious freshwater fish in the Yelcho basin, and acknowledgement is due Steve Selway and Puma Lodge for pinning down a string of world records while catching them.   
 
Below, more photos of big fish from Yelcho:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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