Our Man In Canada
October 6th, 2008

The Dreaded Words
By Chris Chin

Saturday (the other week) was a beautiful day. The river had risen earlier in the week then slowly dropped back to a perfect level. I had arranged to meet up with Ian (a client) late Friday night for a day of fishing on Saturday.

After getting stuck on the phone for almost an hour enroute, I finally pulled into the camp near ten in the evening. Greetings and some discussions about strategy for the next day, then the sack.

Saturday morning dawned as any perfect September morning in paradise. A light mist covered the river and the air temperature was hovering just above freezing. I started the coffee, making just enough noise to rustle my client awake. A leisurely breakfast and we were locked and loaded before 7 o'clock.

I set Ian up on the #38 to get an idea of how he could cast and fish. He had explained over the previous week's of e-mail and telephone exchanges that he was relatively new to fly fishing and wanted pointers on casting as well as fishing for these elusive sea run trout.

A few moments later it was evident that he was a fine caster with very few "problems" even though he was self taught.

There was very little action on the pool. We saw a few splashy rises out in the current and some nice urgent boils on the slick, but no real action for us. We changed runs and tried different flies and tactics.

Over lunch, we chat and Ian says those famous words dreaded my many a Guide, "I don't really want to catch a ton of trout, I'm just anxious to see how it feels to have a REALLY big trout on the end of the line".

Oh crap!

Ya see, even though sea run trout in this late season DO eat (unlike their adult conterparts in the summer, there is really no guarantee that they will cooperate. In fact, over the entire day, very few trout were taken. I make no promises when clients are booking, but I guess some folks just make up there own ideas.

We pack up the lunch dishes and try a few more runs and pools. To finish out the day, we return to the 38 as we know there are trout there and it's a wide open place to cast.

After a few drifts in the small bay, Ian set up in the current to see what was moving there earlier in the day. A short 30-40 ft cast, drift, … he goes to pick up and his rod loads over. I think that it is an adult trout. Then the line starts playing out of the guides and deep into the backing. It's a Salmon!

I quickly explained to Ian how to use the rod properly (not like this!)

On a 7wt rod in the current, the salmon easily unspools about 200 ft of line and backing then miraculously drifts back into the pool of is own accord. I explain to Ian how to keep good tension on the line and how to keep the rod at 90 degrees to the line. It's a Grisle about 20 inches and the fight takes about 30 minutes on a 5lb tippet. The water is only about 54 degrees, so there is no really worry about killing the fish through exhaustion.

Even so, it actually took a few moments to make sure the fish was well revived before letting it swim away (and the water was soo cold, we shared duties).

We finished out the day explored another pool where Ian got another couple of trout. They were all nice and about normal in size for the season (10-14 inches). I guess he DID get to feel the fight of a nice big fish anyway though.

Ian Seger with a first ever Atlantic salmon - While trout fishing to boot! ~ Christopher Chin, Three Rivers 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 44 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica.

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website. You can email Chis at: Flyfishing.christopher@gmail.com.

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