Our Man In Canada
July 24th, 2006

Simple As It Gets
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

While wrapping up Friday evening on the river after six straight days, the Warden leaves a note on the windshield for me to try and get in touch with an angler for a Saturday outing.

I drive out of the valley far enough to get a cell phone signal and get in touch with Peter Jasko. Apparently, this is his second trip up to the river and is still trying to figure out the beasts (salmon that is).

We arrange to meet up bright and early. Up at 03h30, I arrive at the office in time to set up the coffee and have a snack.

I look over the books and see that there are quite a few anglers booked into the #4 zone, so I change Peter's booking for the #2. A muffin, coffee and we're off!

Peter is a successful trout fly fisher, but wants some pointers for Atlantics. I change his leader and set him up over a number of salmon on the #23 pool.

The #23, Alan's Arm is a classic salmon pool. Cold water runs in from a side stream, a deep run is carved into the boulder strewn bottom and the salmon have just come up through a series of runs and shallow slicks. An excellent holding/resting pool.

I have read a lot about fishing for Atlantics. All of these books are very good, well written and full of useful information. Then again, sometimes, too much information can complicate things too.

I explain to Peter how to get an even, medium fast straight line swing over the salmon. No mending, no stripping, no reaching, nor pointing. Straight down and out, tight line.

As Peter starts casting and working his way down, I set up on the Gallery to watch.

It is a shear pleasure watching people cast.

Peter works his way down the run, SIX INCHES AT AT TIME.

From speaking with him, I realized that he was working runs too quickly and stepping downstream too far between casts.

As he works his way into salmon, I see a flash, the salmon peels out, turns back, takes and the rod is soon loading.

There is only mild current here. The salmon moves in, then out and down.

On 8 lb tippet, Peter is trying his best to wear down the young salmon and keep from breaking off.

At one point, the fish holds head down out over some rocks and we start wondering if we're not hung up. I wade over to scare the salmon out of the hole and he finally runs, putting Pete into about 10 feet of backing.

The water is still cool, so we're not worried about exhausting the fish. We try walking the salmon upstream. Nothing doing. Slowly working down stream we can finally get beside him.

After 20 minutes, the small male is finally tiring. We work our way into the shallows. He runs again. Not as far,...not as hard.

We finally get him to hand,...a quick pic and handshakes are in order.

We spend the rest of the morning going through some pointers and reading the water. We do a run up to two other observatories.

The ten-minute drive up to Big Pool is worth it to see the 30-40 lb salmon milling about in the slow current.

I had a wonderful morning with Peter. It was an honour to witness his first ever connection with an Atlantic Salmon.

Somehow, I'm not sure it will be his last.

~ Chris 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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