Our Man In Canada
October 9th, 2006

A Day
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada

Beep Beep...Beep Beep...Beep Beep...

The alarm clock is ringing. ...Huh? It must be getting pretty late in the season when I get woken up by the alarm clock.

I roll over and look at the red numbers...Yup...04h00.

Groggily, I slid quietly out of bed (so as not to wake up Renée or disturb the Dawg) and shuffle over to where I had laid out my "work" clothes the night before. It rained all day yesterday and all through the night so I pull on cool weather clothes. T-Shirt, fishing shirt, sweater, thermal underwear and slacks. As I'm fighting my way into the sweater in the dark, my right shoulder is reminding me that it's damp. A full season of salmon fishing with 8 wt 10 ft rods is taking its toll. As I'm pulling on a wool sock, my knee is also throbbing a gentle reminder that I'm not 20 years old any more.

The coffee maker is already set up so I switch it on. As I'm loading up the ice chest, the smell of the coffee has stirred Kenny the Dawg and he ambles into the kitchen to have a look around. I think he knows that we aren't fishing today. He must notice that the family's gear isn't spread out in the living room. He simply muzzles up to me for a slice of bacon.

Three days worth of provisions go into the ice chest. The truck is still loaded up with gear from last week, so the only things to go in are new batteries for the camera and the food. I leave a quick note on the kitchen counter for the family and I'm off.

The drive to the river in the early morning is refreshing. There's no fog in the valley so I don't have to worry about a head on with a moose. The river has come up almost two feet over night. Forget the light-weight rods today. This is going to be long distance casting into high water with big woollies, worms and muddlers. (I just hope we don't have to go to sinking tips).

I pull into the parking area on the #37 and sign in. I'm early, today's visitors will be arriving in about an hour. Good, I have a chance to see if the trout are holding high in the water column. I quickly string up a 6wt 9 ft rod. I pour another cup of coffee from the thermos and scramble down the ballast rock to the water's edge.

In the grey overcast light of the dawn, I can see that the forest is in full autumn colours and about half of the leaves have already fallen (into the river). This makes it easy to discriminate between the pool and the run, finding the seam where the bigger trout will be holding. I decide to try out one of the flies I had tied the previous evening, sort of an abomination of a hydride between a flat head muddler and a Mickey Finn!

I strip out about half the line and let it pile up at my feet on the grass. Coffee in hand, I watch the seam, waiting. Will there be any interested trout coming out to play?

An urgent boil stirs a way's out in the seam. I set down my coffee cup and cast up and out about fifteen feet upstream from where I saw the boil. A dead drifting presentation in the film gets no reply from our friend Mr. Brook Trout. I present the same cast but mend quickly a downstream belly. The fly instantly pops under the surface and starts "swimming" back towards the bank. Ten feet into the swing and a splashy take has the hook set in a flash.

I love out and across presentations because the line is always tight and takes are instantly on the reel. In the high water and on a 2 lb tippet, the trout pulls away from me and I have to palm the reel to keep him from getting too far out. A bit of (if I may say so myself) fancy rod work and the trout is at hand in a few minutes.

A gorgeous male Brookie in full spawning colours. 14 inches of Eastern North American natural heritage. Back 'ya go.

I hitch the fly into the rod and climb back up towards the truck. In a little while today's visitors will be arriving. The thrill of the seeing such a fine specimen of a trout and the anticipation of meeting some new comers has easily cleared the cobwebs from my head.

Funny, the shoulder doesn't seem to hurt as much anymore either. ~ 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/.

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