Our Man In Canada
December 3rd, 2007

The Journey or the Destination?
By Chris Chin, Proulxville, Quebec, Canada

What is more important/gratifying: The quest or the prize? The hunt or the shot? The competition or the trophy?

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 discussion:

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.

1870 Cottage

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.

Green Highlander>
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 the beach.

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

Spotting the Salmon

Of course, there is the sheer anticipation that one of these puppies will inhale your fly!

  • 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).

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.

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.

Lunkers hiding in the shadow
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

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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