Our Man In Canada
May 1st, 2006

Just a Bunch of Fly Fishers
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

As many of you already know, Atlantic Salmon rivers in Quebec are managed by Z.E.C.'s (Zone d'exploitation contrôlée) or Controlled Exploitations Zones.

Non-profit organizations, they are mandated to manage and market the resource. You can read more about this management model at the Atlantic Salmon Federation's web site: http://www.asf.ca/Journal/1999/sum99/99sumqcmid.htm Anyone can become a member for about 20 bucks per year.
Depending on the Association, your membership card gets you a few advantages. For instance, on the Ste-Marguerite River, as members, we get a rebate on daily rod fees, a free day every 6th day, a "family plan", so junior fishes for free and the right to vote at the annual general meeting.

The AGA for the Ste-Marguerite River Association was held this past Sunday in the town hall in Sacre-Coeur (Holy Heart). As in many non-profit organisations, the AGA isn't a big deal. About 30 members show up each year to sign off on the books, pass resolutions on some administrative stuff, the usual.

The reason we do the 240 km round trip is really to meet our friends. This is also usually our first opportunity of the year to check out the river.

Driving down this past Sunday with Renee, we took our time and looked over the runs and pools. Did the ice jams carve out any new pools? Has the spring run off deposited any new gravel bars? Are there any big dead falls hung up mid-stream anywhere (which form good holding water)?

We also noticed that the stabilisation work on the #23 has been completed over the winter. The damage done by Katrina therefore won't be adding any more sediment to the spawning beds just downstream.


The aftermath of Katrina ripped through Quebec in '05, blowing out a minor arm of the river.


Ballast rock was used to shore up the banks of Alan's Arm

As we pulled in to the parking lot, we were so pleased to meet up with the Warden's, some fellow anglers, lots of friends. Over steaming cups of coffee, we catch up on news, complain about old and new aches and pains that sprung up over the winter, all the while just chomping at the bit to get the season under way.

Claude, the Warden from the North Branch is back from South Carolina. I have to get him Jim Hatch's number. We get invitations to hit the estuary with another Warden in mid May.

The meeting's high point is the presentation of last season's statistics. Apparently, returns of Salmon and trout were about the same as in recent years, but better than in 2002. A good indicator also is that there were more Grisles (juvenile salmon) last year, so there should be an even better return of adults this year in 2006.

We also learn that the Quebec Atlantic Salmon Federation has given an award to a long time member of the Association, Serge Vincent. The Association will be transmitting the award to him at the Benefit Supper next June 17th.

I move over to offer my congratulations to his wife. Nicole seems a bit distracted and not so cheerful over the news. She explains that Serge, a long time Guide and now college professor has been diagnosed with ALS. The news is a bit of a shock. We ask if there is anything we can do to help out, but Nicole says things are starting to settle down.

Seems, once they got the news, got all the papers etc in order, she asked him what he wanted to do now? He replied, "Well, get in as much fishing as possible of course!"

They plan on hitting several of the big North Shore rivers this summer before Serge's mobility gets hampered.


Serge Vincent - Initiation to Atlantic salmon
(Hmmm .. the reel seems to be rotated outboard a bit)
(Photo - Ste-Marguerite River Association)

I guess this just proves one again, after years of guiding some of the big guns in the industry, teaching and forming a generation of outdoor enthusiasts, introducing scores of newcomers to the sport, and getting recognition for one's contributions with a lifetime achievement award, we're still just a bunch of fanatics "standing in a river waving a stick."

I wish the very best to Serge and Nicole and admire them for their courage. ~ 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 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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