Our Man In Canada
February 20th, 2006

A Fishing Journal
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

When I got back into fly fishing a while ago, after several years of misguided priorities (work), I found that I would quickly forget stuff. Not that I'm getting senile or anything like that, it's just that the memories would sort of merge into one blur of events, punctuated by some stand out flashes of lucidity.

I mean, I would start mixing up who I was with that afternoon when the salmon woke out of their summer slumber and came to the surface to smash any floating offering bigger than a #8 on Glass Pool (or was it Dam Pool?). More so, I would start mixing up dates. Now that's not good.

When is the best time to hit the adult salmon as they arrive from the salt? Well, at least I can remember that one as I came down with lock jaw the day after I released 4 in the #8.

So anyway, I figured I'd better start writing stuff down. If you've noticed in my writing as I've rambled along for the past year, I'm not the most organised "journalist" in the world, so I reasoned that I shouldn't use one of those pre-printed ledgers that one can find in many fishing shops.

Instead, I found a nice hard covered blank book. I liked the way the paper feels in hand. Real linen bond paper is a joy to browse through. (Sorry, forest products background there).

As I'm holed up here in Quebec City when a winter storm has closed down all my escape routes back home, there's nothing on the "tube" and the wi-fi card in the 'puter is dead, I am leafing through a journal, 2002.

The entries speak of driving rain, sweltering heat 'n humidity, a roasted caribou feast on the #49, "the one that got away" when Peter got spooled on the #43. Lots of smiles.

Flipping back and forth through the pages, I notice there is actually not a lot of numbers. Fish caught, fish released etc are not the main theme of these journals. We don't match the hatch here either, so observations about bugs and stuff aren't very prevalent.

I guess the "memories" preserved in this book are more about the people I've met and fished with.

  • Charles who met the biology summer student in camp (and married her a year later).

  • The newcomer, William, who connected to a monster salmon alone on the #23 and held on for 45 minutes before some locals helped him land it.

  • Jack, smiling from ear to ear with his first ever salmon.

  • Sabine, cute as a button at 29 years old bundled up in 4 sweaters drinking cocoa beside the fire. (We went to her funeral 10 months later after a 6 week battle with cancer).

  • Gilles, … a monster of a man, over 6'10", giving a bone shaking bear hug to his Guide and jumping for joy after landing his first ever trout, and on his fathers antique bamboo rod.

  • Eddie, the camera man for the series Great Canadian Rivers uttering, "OK, the light is just perfect, catch a salmon NOW!"

I'll look though my journals quite often. Usually while in camp or when I'm on the road. As I get to the last entry of 2005, I turn the page to a fresh blank one and write "Opening day 2006." There is no date written next to it yet, but that'll be fixed in about 3 months time.

There are also many empty pages still in this one, waiting for more memories.

Here's hoping that some of you from FAOL will be in them. ~ Chris

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 in 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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