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Glacier King, the new river

Glacier King: new river & program

Glacier King - Río Guanaco

After more than a decade developing the famous Glacier King program at Estancia Cristina, learning about king salmon fishing and the behavior of this species, we have been scouting for more rivers and locations that could have the potential that we saw when we first fish Caterina river. Guanaco river is much longer and way different to most fisheries we have seen and it took us more than 6 years to truly understand and build a consistent program based on Estancia Sofia. We partnered up with Sebastian Corigliano who owns this property and is also a very good friend of ours. But we understood that this place is not only a prolific king salmon fishery but also a wilderness paradise where pumas, condors, guanacos and a lot more wildlife surrounded by the most spectacular canyon that holds the Guanaco river with an excellent view of the Andes contrasting the tone of the yellow plateau. This location is indeed a unique experience for anglers as well as nature lovers.

The river


The Guanaco River is a hidden gem in Southern Patagonia. A mountain river, of medium size (rather small) characteristic of the Andean region with cold and changing waters depending on the rainfall in its sources. This river has approximately 55 miles that remained off the radar. Guanaco river has a variety of structures that begin inside Glaciers National Park and flows into the giant Lake Viedma. Wading is simple and mostly unnecessary. 



The Guanaco River is ideal for its size for swinging flies. Fishing consists of focusing the effort on the pools where salmon arrive after their journey from the ocean, and that “search” is a big part of the fishing per se. Inside this property there are more than 17 kilometers of river without any fishing pressure. During December and January, salmon are in very good condition, some of which are completely silver. The different fishing beats are within a range of meters from the ranch house, the furthest away being about 35 minutes accessing with 4×4 vehicles. 

A normal day begins at 8am with breakfast at the lodge, and by 8:30am we go out fishing, returning to the ranch at 1pm for lunch. After a break, the afternoon session normally goes from 4:30pm till 9pm.

Fishing and equipment


We normally use 12’-13’ 8wt two-handed rods since the river is easy to cover and to be able to control the swing of your fly. 8/9wt single handed rods can be used as well as an option. For the spey-rods, Skagit line types with T-11 and T-14, from 6 to 12 feet long are the usual. 

December and January are warm months in Patagonia so ideally breathable waders with rubber-sole wading shoes are the right choice. A good rain jacket is always a must since the influence of the Andean climate is usually very changeable on the same day. 

Tres Amigos perfect set up:

Rod Sage X 8120; RIO Skagit Max Launch 600gn; Sage Spey Reel 7/8/9, RIO intouch MOW tips.


Single-hand rods: 9-10 wt (9ft) Double-hand / Spey rods: 8-9wt (12-13ft)


Make sure you have a reel with a premium brake system that can fit at least 200 yards of 30Ib backing.


Spey-rod lines: Skagit heads (floating) with a set of assorted tips (intermediate, T11 & T14 are the guides choice). We recommend 50lbs shooting lines or running lines.

Single-handed rod line suggestion: Shooting heads in assorted sinking rates.


Regular king salmon and winter steelhead patterns such as intruders and articulated leeches are ideal; patterns in black, blue, fuchsia, and red contrast well with its glacier colored water.


We recommend that you bring fluorocarbon or monofilament tippet material in the 25-40 Ibs range.
To be on the safe side we recommend bringing spare gear. 




Estancia La Sofia, our top notch base and lodge, has 4 rooms to accommodate a maximum of 6 fishermen per week. It has a dining room with an excellent view and is functional for each meal. The estancia counts with 24hr electric power and internet. Meals are prepared by a chef with typical Patagonian style dishes. 



Full week

Day 1: Arrival to El Calafate (FTE) and pick up at the airport. Transfer to the lodge (2:45 drive). Warm up fishing session in the home pool.

Day 2 to 5: full fishing days

Day 6 (Friday): half-day fishing and return to El Calafate with the possibility of flying to Buenos Aires the same evening.


Half week

Day 1: Arrival to El Calafate (FTE) and pick up at the airport. Transfer to the ranch in lodge (2:45 drive). Warm up fishing session in the home pool.


Day 2 and 3: full fishing days

Day 4: half-day fishing and return to El Calafate.






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