The Journey or the Destination?
What is more important/gratifying: The quest or the prize? The
hunt or the shot? The competition or the trophy?
By Chris Chin, Proulxville, Quebec, Canada
The journey or actually getting to the destination?
Over on the QuebecPêche forum, the sysop graciously opened a
forum for the Quebec Atlantic Salmon Federation. It's a nice
quiet place to exchange news and river reports for Salmo salar
enthusiasts in French. Because the format is relaxed (much like
here on FAOL), newcomers are pretty frequent. A few weeks ago,
a simple question popped up that incited quite a bit of
Why do you fly fish for Atlantic salmon?
I had to look back long and hard before posting an answer to that question.
Fly fishing for Atlantic salmon is a passion that is as simple
or as complex as one wants to make it (just like all fly fishing).
One can do their homework and immerse oneself in the history of
the old rivers.
This "cottage" was built on the shores of my home waters
around 1870 by the Hudson's Bay Company during the time
they had the lease for the river.
Another aspect that many pursue with vigour is the fly tying.
Examples of the Green Highlander in classic feather wing
and "modern" hair wing patterns. (Tiers unknown)
For others, the thrill of the battle is the high point of
angling for salmon. The strength and endurance of a healthy
summer salmon probably rivals some of the salt water species.
Showing good form, an angler tries to tire a 12-14 lb salmon in the #23
Of course, being the "fish of 10,000 casts," there is plenty
of time to chat, exchange tales and meet new friends while on
Over the past couple of decades on the same river, I've had
the opportunity to meet some wonderful people.
The fact that salmon are pretty unpredictable also gives us
ample time to practice our casting.
There is a simple pleasure in casting in open spaces that lends
to relaxation and meditation. (When we say that this is the fish
of 10,000 casts, we're don't count the false casts).
Jed! – Showing us how it's done on a blown out #37
Of course, there is the sheer anticipation that one
of these puppies will inhale your fly!
We (finally) went to C&R on all adult salmon on my home waters
in 2004 so the finality of the sport in now rarely the thump
of a "priest" on the head of a salmon.
- The subtle but affirmative take of a dry fly;
- The arm wrenching slam of a downstream wet fly take;
- The leaps (Salmo salar – Salmo = salmon ; Salar for leaping);
- The drawn out battles (we like to spool up our reels
with at least 300 yards of backing).
Looking over the "list" of aspects that might draw an angler
into this side of the sport, I realize that it's pretty
difficult to name one single element that makes this my passion.
We can also add to the list, as Betty mentions, "Trout don't
live in ugly places." That said, we quickly see that their
migratory cousins sure know how to pick 'em too.
Angela Lions casting to a pod of lunkers that are
hiding in the shadow of the bluff on the #23.
Whatever the reason which initially draws an angler to try
Atlantic salmon fishing, as we say up here, one hit from a
salmon and you're hooked for life. ~ Chris Chin, St-Séverin de Proulxville – Québec
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