Role models - Some ramblings and a Rant
When I was growing up in the Canadian Rockies, the Chief
Forester was more than just "The Brass." He was also sort
of a pillar of the community. The "Go To" person when you
were in a jam, no matter what. In my honest opinion, all
communities have them, no matter what the principal activity
out there is. They are the Head Wardens, the Lead Guides,
the Team Leaders, the Lead Rope and the Mountain Guides.
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere Quebec
They are also on many occasions those who don't stand out
so quickly in a crowd. Point leads a group, but "Six" is
When I started my career as a forester, we'd look up to
these guys (and Gals). They had the experience to speak
with humility and respect, and the wisdom to know when
not to speak at all. After all, actions do speak more
clearly than words.
I always wondered if these guys and gals knew what was
about and that they were role models for me?
I also wondered if they chose that role or if it was
handed off to them?
Well, when the River Association here asked me to Guide
for them, I found out the answer to this last question.
You get what Life gives you. You work at keeping it (or
I didn't go into this blindly. After working for quite a
few years managing public forest lands out here, I knew
that simple "knowledge" isn't the same thing as "wisdom."
As a sort of sign for the love of the resource and passion
for the sport, I accepted. Not that I really had to change
anything I didn't already do.
At about the same time, I found myself with an instant
family, including an eleven year old son. Funny how there
is no manual to Guiding Salmon fishing, just as there is
no instruction sheet for Parenting. I figured the only
thing to do was as I'd always seen and done. Teach by example.
The "examples" turned out to be more than simply choosing
the right fly, mending the line the right way or keeping
a tight line. As Junior will usually be by my side on the
river, even sometimes when I Guide, "examples" means, up
an hour before the clients (or Mom) to make sure everything
is ship shape, respect and appreciation always for nature,
courteous respect towards others (usually).
Camp is always tidy (and the coffee always hot)
I've also learned that the smallest gesture can get burned
into the brain of another. Simple acts could incite another
to share in our passion while other acts could portray us
as elitist snobs. You just never know who will be watching.
Marie-Frederique and Grandma look on as I prepare a
commemorative fly for her mom's very first trout
I just wish that some of the rabble that pass themselves
off as "Rap" singers, professional athletes or movie actors
would realise that many people (young and old) look up to
them as role models.
Just before Christmas, I was labouring through a joint
meeting between the Ministry of Forests and a few other
forest companies, trying to iron out some details on the
fire salvage plans. As the rep from the government was
droning on, I looked around the table and came to a stunning
realisation,...10 of the 12 other foresters around the table
were younger than me!
Not just younger, but probably born after I could legally drink!
I zapped a text message across the table to Peter, a
fellow forester over at Bowater.
"From CHINC 2 Pete - U thnkng wat I am??"
Peter replied: "Yup! We R the OLD GUYS here!"
Well, I guess I'll just have to watch what I say.
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
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 in October 2002."
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,
~ Christopher Chin
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