Our Man In Canada
October 10th, 2005

A Moment in Time
By Chris Chin, Quebec

So what does one do when your guests for the day are wet, cold and just too tuckered out to fish till sundown and spool up for the last time a bit early?

Well, go fishing of course!

Last Tuesday, the folks I was with for a few days turned in early to be ready for a full day on Wednesday. A gale force North Easterly, really high water, some tough casting positions, chilly 46 degree water and a late afternoon downpour was just a bit much for our guests from Penobscot.

Not wanting to finish the day on a disagreeable note, we wisely bundled them up and off to their hotel for a hot shower and some Buffalo stew (the ranch where they were staying was serving one of the house specialties).

As I was driving back up to a camp where I could lager over for the night, the wind died down and the sun began setting under the low cloud layer. Perfect conditions to drop into the #27 for some bruisers.

Now I don't fish much alone anymore. I used to all the time. Then again, at that period of my life, I guess I was actually looking for the solitude. Not anymore.

As I pulled up to the trailhead for the #27, I realized I didn't need that much stuff. I didn't need to haul out the folding chairs I usually carry down to the gravel bar, nor the 4-5 boxes of flies, the extra rods, rain gear, dog biscuits, thermos of hot cocoa, net, well, you get the idea.

I did pull out junior's 6wt rod though (a medium-weight rod for here) a pang of regret as I realize the family isn't here to share the moment. Well, I'll do this for them.

Two or three anglers had been fishing the #27 off and on all day. Competent folks, just not up to casting the 90 feet or more out into the giant pool formed by the high water. I pull out 3 flies from a box and pin them to my vest; a dark one, a light one and a burnt orange one. That should be enough.

As I scamper down the trail, I am visualizing the pool in my head, taking the steep section of the footpath on autopilot. After all, I have been down this same hill literally a hundred times over the past decade and a half.

I know the small trout will be in the near pool. The salmon off in the run. Most don't realize that there is a second hole out over the second sunken beach, too deep to wade to, just inside the range of the 6wt 10ft. rod. Well, I'll cheat and lengthen the leader right out to 28 ft. The #8 woolly worms should turn over quite nicely.

I arrive on the gravel bar, more of a shoal with the high water flowing right over it and into the giant back eddy and pool. I stride slowly out without stopping, unencumbered by the usual kit bag, net, etc.

I know there are trout three feet from me, but I prefer to pass up the juveniles at my feet for the bruisers that I can see starting to rise out in the pool.

Stripping out line as I slowly wade five feet out, I begin false casting to get some line up. No finesse here, I haul hard on the back cast as I know I'll have to let up a tad on the second pull on the double haul, else the long leader will trail under the line (darn trailing loop).

Three or four false casts and I'm ready to lay down the fly. After an afternoon of bucking the wind, there is a simple pleasure in casting this evening. The line, then leader unroll as if someone competent were casting instead of me.

I let the fly sit for just a moment, taking up two feet of slack in a steady long strip without moving the fly. I know what is next to come.

I jerk in 10 inches of line, the fly jumps a half a foot towards me, just barely visible in the failing light. I wait. I initiate another strip, but before the fly actually moves, the trout takes it in a subtle but solid hit.

With no slack in the line I only need to lift the rod tip to 11 o'clock and I can feel the weight of the fish all the way into the butt of the rod. She runs (Brookies don't jump much) and she's onto the reel in a heartbeat, driving for the run off to the right.

A 2 pound trout on a 3 lb test tippet isn't a real fight, but I know this one's going back so the "battle" is short, but exhilarating.

A firm grip on the fly and a twist and she's free.

Well, in sort of an egotistical way, it is a bit satisfying to set up and catch a trout on a first cast. On a whim, I start spooling up to change flies just to see if the color makes any difference.

As I'm doing so, I hear two anglers arriving down the trail. Levy and a newcomer. A quick handshake and introductions. Seems Peter is a Guide down in Rimouski for Atlantics.

Levy asks if there are any takers in the pool and I point out where some should be holding out and over to the left. There should also be some in close so I suggest he only cast a few yards at first.

He mentions that he was getting hits this afternoon here, but no connections.

I inspect his fly and hack off 2/3 of the tail on the Woolly Bugger.

Not really a cast, more like stripping out line and a nice fresh from the salt adult jumps his offering five feet out in front of him. As Levy's only been fishing here for about 3-4 seasons and after a long day of fruitless exploring in gale force winds, he is ecstatic.

My brief moment alone on the pool was enough. The smile on Levy's face and the opportunity to meet a fellow angler from another river is much more gratifying than another 40 minutes in solitude.

Our guests did have a wonderful visit and a fine time the following day. Sunshine and no wind. Trout and good friends.

Peter Yoder stalking trout in the #38 pool

Caroline Yoder on the #38

Tight Lines! ~ Christopher Chin, Jonquiere Quebec.

About Chris:

Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops, British Columbia. He has been fly fishing on and off ever since he was 10 years old. Chris became serious about the sport within the last 10 years.

"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in central Quebec. I've been fishing this river for about 10 years now and started guiding about 5 years ago when the local guide's association sort of stopped functioning."

Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon. "I often don't even charge service fees, as I'm more interested in promoting the river than making cash. I like to get new comers to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around here makes some of the old clan see Salmon fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack Daniel's."

Chris is 42 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica. He has a girlfriend, Renée. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent started fly fishing with me last October 2002."

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website http://pages.videotron.com/fcch/. ~ Christopher Chin

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