Our Man In Canada
August 1st, 2005

My Home Waters Aren't Your Home Waters... or

(Who Needs Tradition?)
By Chris Chin

One of the fun parts about fishing up here is meeting anglers from all over the place. I am lucky and have the opportunity to wet a line along side anglers from all over Canada, the US, Europe and elsewhere. I'll learn as much from clients and friends as they do from me.

The fun starts when we start comparing gear and flies.

A regular everyday rod for me is my 10 ft 7-8 weight. Light is a 5 weight 8.5 ft. Contrary to many places, my big rod has a 24 ft leader and the shorter one only 16 feet of leader. Which seems to run against the norm in places where the "big" rods are for bombing the banks with heavy streamers,...in which case the leaders get shorter...Weird eh?

Well, salmon and sea run trout here get pretty skittish in low clear water, so even the salmon rods get the extra long leader (just like in the Central Interior Plateau of BC).

I accompanied a client this past week. The water was very low and the salmon and trout had already seen many many flies drift by. Two nice prospects were lazing around in Glass Pool and within easy casting distance from under the gallery.

After a few tries on a Bomber, we suggested that he tie on the smallest salmon wet fly he had. As Mr. Gauthier is an accomplished angler, I didn't climb down to tie on the fly. He does so,...strips out some line and starts his presentation.

Not always long casts to Salmo salar...Trying to "excite" some salmon on Glass Pool

As soon as it hits the water,...my friend and I look at each other in amazement. We can see his fly! Must be at least an #8! I let him try a few swings,...then climb down to change flies.

A typical size of Black Bear for Salmo salar,...and one of mine!

As he shows to me the Black Bear he has tried, I explain that when we say small, we mean something smaller than a #12 (I know I know,...in the US,... a #12 is a monster,...Just goes to prove my point here).

I pull out my idea of a small fly and he looks like he's going to pass out. I need to tie on a 6 lb tippet so I can pass the mono through the eye. The client is looking at the tippet,...the salmon,...the tippet,... the salmon.

I explain not to worry. The salmon is only about 14 lbs,...there's no current in the pool and the water is over 60 deg. The light tippet will do fine. We try this fly a while, ...but the fish just won't take anything that day.

I suppose the folks who know me also "expect" of me to show them new ideas. On the same pool we tried these two flies:

They're both my best imitation of a Royal Wulff (with my apologies to Mr. and Mrs. Wulff..I'm just not very proficient).

Then again, you'd try anything too to connect to one of these!

Bruisers hanging out in the slick on #48 - The big hen in the foreground is around 22-25 lbs!

The client had a blast. We got some good rises,... unfortunately,...no connections. I also spent some time explaining how to balance the leader and tippet for the fly to be cast. The client learned some and I learned a bit more about "teaching."

Then there's also "regional" differences I find when we try to talk shop. A wanted a friend to "pop" a Muddler on a run. He tied on one of his, but couldn't get it to "pop" out of the water like I was doing. I slide over to him and showed him "my" Muddlers:

There's more than one way to dress a Muddler

Needless to say,...we soon sat down on the bank and started comparing flies.

That's the joy of it all. There is no right way or wrong way to go about it. For certain situations, on certain water,...there could be a "traditional" method,...or even a "productive" method. In the end, there is always a "better" method somewhere. I just haven't found it yet.

So the next time you're on the water and things are slow,...try something out of the ordinary. You just never know. ~ Christopher Chin – Jonquiere 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 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 last October 2002."

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website http://pages.videotron.com/fcch/. ~ Christopher Chin

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