Fish of a Lifetime

Story by Guide Zach

On July 22 last summer, with 3 guests in my guide boat, we discussed where to go early in the morning. My guests had already caught their “trophy” 27 lbs. Chinook/King salmon close by the Sportsman’s Club in the first hour of the first day of their fishing trip. We decided to go to “The Wall” just minutes from the lodge. As we all know, it’s important to check the lines & lures frequently. So, when there wasn’t much action after 15 minutes a lure change was made & we quickly landed two beautiful coho/silver salmon.

We then trolled through “Jackson’s Hole” at the far end of the Wall looking for a Chinook & our left rod corked right over. For a moment I questioned whether we’d snagged kelp. I quickly grabbed the rod & after an initial pause & heavy hold from the fish, the line began to scream out & the fight was on. After 20 minutes of consecutive runs without catching a glimpse of the fish, I had no idea what to expect. The water was extremely dark & murky, so we weren’t able to see the fish until it reached the surface. The flasher broke through the surface 15 feet off the stern of the boat followed by a HUGE Chinook salmon which cut through the water headfirst & flopped on its side. It was the biggest salmon I’d ever seen.

My heart & I’m sure everyone else’s on board started to beat a little faster. By the time we got the fish to the boat it was running out of gas & thankfully cooperated nicely, because it barely fit into the net! When the fish hit the deck of the boat & we were finally able to get a decent look at the fish it was clear we had accomplished something special. The 48 lbs. beast of a salmon lay perfectly still as we all began to shout & celebrate our victory. TYEE!!!!!