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Last year the boys from APBassing floated the Upper Kenai with TJ and Lakeview Outfitters. Rainbows and Dolly's were plentiful, even for bass fishermen!

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Updated: Aug 12, 2019

By Phil Hilbruner

As fly fisherman, we are extremely fortunate to be based in Alaska with our free flowing wild rivers teeming with salmon, steelhead, trout, char, grayling and more. Alaska, with Cooper Landing in particular, provides a truly amazing setting to pursue these fish in a land with epic scenery and wildlife. There are certainly enough angling opportunities in Alaska to satisfy a lifetime of fly fishing. That said, the majority of fly fishing opportunities are limited to a short season. True, you can find places to wet a line in the winter, and we do, but it is human nature to be curious... what else might be out there?

This curiosity led me to start thinking about fishing in Patagonia a long time ago. It seemed like a distant dream at first, traveling to the other side of the world with nothing but a backpack and a couple fly rods. I was particularly attracted to the idea of a year round summer! When it gets cold and bitter outside in Alaska, the summer in Patagonia is in full swing. The dream continued to grow, until this past winter I decided I’d dreamt enough, it was time to head down there and satisfy my curiosity.

What I found was a distinct but equally beautiful setting in the Lakes Region of Patagonian Chile. Imagine yourself comfortably wet wading a freestone trout stream in February. Fishing resident and sea-run browns gobbling up big streamers, rainbows sipping dries, big white water between runs, great people to fish with, low angling pressure, the list goes on and on. One of the highlights was fishing 27 kilometres of river, connected to the road system without seeing a single other boat or angler!

Angling in a different ecosystem is an incredibly insightful experience. While there are some of the same aquatic insects that we find in Alaska, there are also food sources unique to the area, such as the Pancora Crab, which makes up a huge part of the food chain. I had a lot of fun playing around with new fly patterns and ideas to imitate Patagonian trout food.

Patagonia has everything a trout angler could hope to find. When you take in the whole experience of great fishing opportunities, excellent food and wine, warm hearted Chilean hosts, the sum is truly greater than its parts. I’ll be going back as soon as I can, and I can hardly wait.

What are you waiting for?

If you are thinking about traveling to Patagonia, get in touch with us at Lakeview Outfitters. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have, and can set you up with some great guides while you’re there.

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Updated: Aug 12, 2019

Before making the long journey from Oregon to Alaska I waited patiently for my new fiancé Jenni to arrive from New Zealand. The plan was to drive all together, me and my two girls (Jen and Lucy), all 58 hours of it... but Jen never made it. It seems the USA can be less than efficient in the processing of travel visas. So it was just Lucy and I who set off North.

From beefing up trailers to stalling vehicles, and packing for a permanent move from Oregon made for a busy time indeed. It took my mind of the days of driving to come.

I packed my 14 foot McKenzie River Dory with all of my stuff from Oregon - including an Austin Powers pinball machine. I headed north early afternoon and made it all of 15 miles before my first repair! For one, I didn’t realize how much stuff I was bringing to Alaska, and second, the trailer was not built for 22 hundred pounds. Eek.

The fender was rubbing on the tires but after a few blows with the sledge hammer she was good to go. Making just one stop at the grocery store I crossed the Canadian border at 11pm and was at 150 mile House by 4am to catch a few winks in my trusty Previa van.

The next stop was Teslin where my trailer, again, broke down. Or shall I say I broke a suspension bracket - it had ripped from the frame and was welded by some guys building gold trummels. Shout out to the Teslin Napa for the welder link. I was off again through prince George and into Smithers and from there it was off to the Bell Irvin River - a river I’ve always wanted to fish but didn’t as I was to excited to reach destination Alaska. Lucy, however, got a little play time in the daisies.

After a rainy night and a good pot of coffee I headed towards Dease Lake, a very expensive place to buy gas, but a good place to sleep. Alongside the road were a three pack of Brown Bears, two wrestling cubs and a patient mother.

From there it was off to Whitehorse, then to Destruction Bay where I spent the night in a luxury hotel. No, my mistake, I slept in the van. The roads thus far had been better than the roads in Oregon, smooth sailing, but upon crossing the Canadian/Alaskan border in the last 500 miles to Cooper landing SLOW was the operative word.

Long road trips or travels are essential in my opinion, they give you long times of quiet thinking and reflection, not to mention the beauty of Canada. But the most beautiful place I saw on my road trip was my last stop... Cooper Landing, Alaska.

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