Our Man In Canada
June 19th, 2006

Sanctuary
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

A few weeks ago, I got shanghaied into going to another meeting in the Capitol. Too bad there were more lawyers than foresters.

Anyway, as I can't use the underground parking (too many antennas on the roof of the truck), I have to arrive really early to grab one of the few outdoor parking spaces. Not too bad, as this gives me the time to have breakfast and get my thoughts in order before the coming ordeal.

As I was loitering around the front lobby, I was watching the city wake up,...unlimbering its parts,...going through its diurnal cycle. The start of another beautiful spring day in Quebec City.

I suppose that I am really too analytical, because as I was watching the growing hustle and bustle, I kept making comparisons with the river.

I love waking up early while camping out on the river. I like to be up an hour before dawn to experience the river waking up.

The 18 wheelers and straight bodies jockey for positions in the queues at the loading docks. They seem like the adult salmon and trout, moving from mid-stream to the banks as the sun comes out. They rub shoulders and jostle for the best positions to hold in.

A young college student runs after a transit bus, arrives just in time to realize that it's not the right one and circles back to the bus stop bench. Just as over-active Grisles (juvenile Salmon) sometimes do, driving hard off the bottom only to refuse a big dry at the last instant, circling back and taking up station for another offering.

A gaggle of preschoolers get shepherded out of a school bus, line up and make their way to the museum gates. They sound like a flight of swallows, chirping and chattering their way along.

Wandering around the halls a bit, I bump into some of my old IT crew who're now doing a project for the government. We chat over a coffee, exchange lies a while and promise to go fishing again this season. The same thing will often happen while on the river. I'll often run into fellow anglers with whom I've shared a run (or a pint). We'll catch up on news (and exchange some lies). These chance encounters are very often the highlight of a day on the river.

With a touch more of vim and vigour, I go up the stairs to the Minister's office. The cheerful (and highly competent) aid reminds me of Nicole, the ever present secretary at the River Association's office. Just like any organisation (even the river Association), you don't need to talk to the President, nor the best Guide. The Secretary can usually get you all the information you need. At least I get headed to the right conference room.

Sitting here waiting for the procession of lawyers, aides and secretaries to file into the meeting, I find sanctuary in my mind by wandering along the banks of my home waters. A brief moment of respite from the social calamity we call natural resource litigation. ~ Chris Chin

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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