Our Man In Canada
October 27th, 2008

From Atlantic Salmon to a River of Loggers and Kids
By Chris Chin

I find it fascinating, the rich history which seems to attach itself to rivers and waterways. I suppose in some ways, it's because they used to be the main system of communication. Knowing a bit about the culture and heritage of a river adds to any angling experience. Heck, when Joan and Jed were here, I think she knew more about the area than I did!

Being a tad passionate about Alantic salmon, as well as a bit of an Internet bug, I use a miriade of search engines to keep up to date on news and such from around the world. Imagine how my curiosity was peaked when the same articles started coming up with ALL of the same key words.

In fact, as I was reading up on Eastern Canadian Atlantic salmon rivers, I ran across the Humber River in Western Newfoundland. Wow!

"Known for its scenic beauty as well as great salmon fishing. The Humber River is the #1 ranked Atlantic salmon river in North America and its recreational salmon fishing industry. During the period 1764-1767, Captain James Cook surveyed the Bay of Islands, naming the river the River Hamberg. The Humber River, 153 km long, drainage basin 7680 km2, is the principal river of western Newfoundland. Named for the English river, it rises in the LONG RANGE MOUNTAINS west of White Bay and flows southeast and then southwest to Deer Lake, where it is joined by a tributary draining the 100-km-long GRAND LAKE. The Humber flows southwest from Deer Lake into Humber Arm at CORNER BROOK and on into the Bay of Islands, having fallen nearly 660 m from its sources. The river is rich in ATLANTIC SALMON and was, from the 1800s, a waterway for European trappers. Though its mouth had been charted by James COOK in the 1760s, there was little permanent settlement in the region until the mid-1800s. Flowing through great stands of timber, the Humber has been used by loggers since the late 1800s." - Author Robert D. Pitt

The Humber River flows into the bay at Corner Brook Newfoundland

As I read up more and more on this river, I started getting more and more "hits" about it pertaining to forestry, land use, forest management planning, …' and then Kids! Huh?

Well, it seems as though a long series of events led to a bunch of foresters in Corner Brook getting involved in a fund raising initiative in their neck of the woods.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Woodlands' staff, contractors and employees first got involved in fundraising in 2001, bringing the Log A Load For Kids Canada program to Newfoundland.

In reality, the staff used to donate hockey pool winnings to the program, then the 2004-2005 lockout in the NHL put a damper on that. What to do? …well, they organized a hockey tournament to raise funds, (initially it was the staff going head to head with the loggers!).

Some other innovative fund raising ideas have resulted in an increased awareness of the Program in that Province.

  • They have donated loads of pulpwood;

  • had raffles on chainsaws and tractor-trailer loads of birch firewood;

  • hockey pools; a mini-log race down the Corner Brook Stream;

  • lumberjack challenges;

  • harvested timber and pre-commercially thinned blocks to donate their earnings;

  • and raced down the Humber River on inner tubes.

As the salmon run starts in early June, guess when these folks race down the river in inner tubes? In May! The water is a tad chilly at that time of year, but wet suits and a good cause help to make up for it.

All this work and fun has resulted in a total contribution of approximately $130,000 to the Janeway Children's Hospital by CBPP Contractors, staff, employees and friends since 2001! This represents one-third of the total money raised across Canada to date through the Log A Load For Kids Canada program.

In 2008, the 4th annual tournament raised $20,520 for contribution to the Janeway. At the opening ceremonies, Maurice Saunders, a Janeway Child and Maurice's family representing the Janeway Foundation was presented with a Cheque for this amount. This brings Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Woodlands' fundraising effort through Charity Hockey Tournaments to over $ 74,000. Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Woodlands, a supporting member of the Canadian Woodlands Forum, hosted the weekend tournament. 130 players, making up 10 teams competing in two divisions, attended the tournament.

As of this writing, every one of the 20+ Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Woodlands Contractors and 1,000 employees have contributed in this fundraiser. - Just image that.

Through an even more strange turn of events, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the Woodlands staff this past October in Corner Brook. A finer bunch of professionals is a rare find these days. It is entirely possible, that I'll just have to find a reason to get back to the Humber in early July next year!

Some of the Woodlands staff in Corner Brook (and visitors) with the Humber River Valley in the background.

If you would like more information about the activities in Corner Brook, contact: Bruce Yates, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Woodlands at (709) 637- 3331 or mailto:byates@cb.kruger.com ~ 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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