Our Man In Canada
November 24th, 2008

Chance Encounters II
By Chris Chin

My home waters offer some wonderful opportunities. There are Atlantic salmon in the Spring, adult sea trout in the summer along with Grilses. Then in the Fall, a second batch of sea run Brook Trout arrive. There is also the pictureque landscape, the colours of Automne, the peace and quiet.

I can add to this list of opportunities, the chance encounters one can have while exploring a run or when you settle in at a picnic table to have a snack.

A few years ago I had one such opportunity.

I had come down to fish for the second batch of sea trout in late October. The season for these juvenile Brookies had been fabulous up until then. I signed in and pulled in at the #8 pool. I walked out onto the beach just as two elderly gentlemen were coming back along the beach.

As we met, I asked how the fishing had been that morning (it was now about 10h00). One of the two replied: "We're been coming here for the past three years and we've never caught a trout."

Wow! This won't do. I asked if I could have a look at their fly.

Sure enough, they were using some sort of streamer, almost 00 long shank. I said they must be from Quebec City. With a surpised look, they said yes. I quickly explained that the fellow who sold them their flies has never fished here and always sends folks here with that rig. (the shop there closed several years later).

I explained that there were some trout on this side of the river, but the real action can be found on the other side in the eddy. I offered to ferry them across. Introductions were made. They were both named Fernand.

The younger of the two accepted, so I pulled the canoe down to the beach and we were shortly on the other side. I re-rigged his leader and put on one of my flies.

Fernand (#1) asked me to cast first so that he could see how to fish the pool. I stripped out thirty feet of line and layed down the #14 Red Tag (dry) on the pool. In a heart beat a nice little trout took the fly. When I went to release the trout, Fernand said he'd keep it if he could. I said, there would be no need.

Fernand set out too and promptly brought to hand a half a dozen trout. Of which he kept 4. As he was fishing, I called across to Fernand #2 and asked if he was sure he didn't want to give it a try. Still no, … he prefered just to take in the show.

An hour later, Fernand #1 was back on the dry side with his partner. We exchanged numbers and adresses, promising to meet up again some time.

For nearly a decade we'd cross paths on the river during the September or October. It would always be a friendly and cherished moment.

About six weeks after our first encounter that late September morning, I got a package in the mail. Unwrapping it, I was just dumbfounded. Fernand #2 had done a watercolour of the scene. While we had been on the far side fishing, he had been sizing up angles, colours and textures. Burning the memory into his brain.

A few years ago, I met Fernand #1 again. He was accompagnied by a young fellow, but Fernand #2 wasn't there. Apparently, he had passed away that year.

In memory of Fernand Auger

I hope all of you have the opportunity to meet need friends while pursuing your passion. I know my chance encounters are all cherished moments, and I'm grateful for them. ~ 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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