Home waters. Do you know yours?
Back a long while ago; I announced to my (then new) girlfriend
Reneé that we were going fishing that weekend. She was a bit
nervous, saying that she didn't want to meet a whole bunch of
new people and that she would rather just spend quiet time
together. I explained that we would be pretty well all to
ourselves. There really aren't that many people on the river.
A REALLY busy day here on the Ste-Marguerite will see MAYBE 50
anglers on the 100+ kilometres of runs, rapids and pools.
By Chris Chin, Bay Comeau, Quebec, Canada
While we were loading all my junk into the pickup, she asked me
what I had in the attaché case. I replied that it was all the
usual stuff just in case visitors or friends needed any information.
I keep in the truck the field guides for birds, plants and trees.
Also, I have the updated tourist guides for the region and road
maps for the province. There are topographic maps of the river
valley as well as flyers for the river. I also keep under the
seat multiple copies of the provincial fishing regulations as
well as contact information for other regions such as over
Malbaie River Outfitters. Some fishing books, fly tying references
as well as catalogues from a dozen or so manufacturers rounds out
When the Wardens on the river noticed how I would chat up visitors
and tourists, they'd kind of wonder if I was "giving away" the very
best secrets of the river. Actually no. I would point folks to some
of the easiest fishing. Not necessarily the "best". I mean, I will
send an inquiring newcomer to spots where they are sure to have an
easy time of sight casting over pods of salmon. I WON'T counsel them
to some of the "sweet spots" where they'll have to bushwhack a mile
then roll cast 60 feet (even though there are some nice salmon hidden
in the pots.
Maybe the context here is different than on other rivers around
the world, but I figure courteous and polite replies to questions
is a sure fire way to leave a lasting impression on visitors
to our piece of Paradise.
A year after our first excursion to the river together, I was in
the canoe casting to some prospects in the #49. Renée was by
herself, warming up with a cup of soup on the tailgate of the
pickup. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a rental car pull
up (Tilden seems to have a lot of Ford Taurus').
I'm wondering if the tourists will need any information, but I
don't want to spook the salmon by pulling up anchor (it had taken
me 30 minutes to drift down to the casting position). As I strip
in to change flies, I look over to shore and I see that Renée
has the briefcase out and that there are guides and maps spread
out all over the picnic table. She is animated and pointing up
and down the valley, explaining something.
By the time I decide to pull anchor and come in for supper,
Renée is waving goodbye to some new found friends. I pull
in to shore and ask her who they were.
Renée replies (grinning): "Oh, just some Spanish tourists. I sent
them up to the B&B and they'll probably call the River Association
tonight to schedule an Introduction to Fly Fishing course tomorrow
with the summer student."
Apparently, these visitors couldn't speak French and none of
the folks they had met so far that day could speak English.
With a minimum of effort, Renée had managed to pull out her
High School English and have a wonderful conversation.
How about you? Think back to those occasions when you have
had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with a newcomer
to your home waters. Were you indifferent? Were you down right
hostile? (thinking, Ha! This new guy isn't getting any of the
skinny from me).
Or maybe you politely replied to inquiries, exchanged a few
flies and lies. You shared a glass of wine and left a pleasant
and lasting impression on a visitor.
We are all ambassadors for our Sport, our Region and even our Countries. Try it … Maybe you'll like it ?
~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau, Quebec
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
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,
Our Man In Canada Archives