How to Effectively "Not" Fish a Pool
Friends called Thursday and asked about
coming up late in the season for trout 'n
salmon. They wanted to know if early September
would have both adult and juvenile sea run
brookies in the river.
By Chris Chin
As my memory is starting to get skewed by age,
I dug out my old journals to compare dates etc
with "success" rates.
As I browsed through 10 years of notes for the
same period on the same river, I came to the
shocking realization that I was actually
connecting with less and less trout. (not a
very good revelation for a part-time Guide,
but then again, that's one of the reasons to
keep a Journal).
So what's the "problem?" No swear, global warming!
Aha! Not my fault after all! Or, in the grand
scheme of things, Mars just isn't lining up
with Jupiter in the right configuration, so
it really is out of my control eh?
With a slow sinking feeling of regret, I
started to think that I was doing something
different. To add oil to the fire, I thought
back to the previous week. Fishing had been
slow up and down the river. Absolutely no one
was connecting to trout nor salmon (so I thought).
While relaxing and working on strategy with
a client (we were working on connecting to
a salmon), we ran into Serge Vincent, a long
time Guide on the river.
Me: "Hi 'ya Serge, not much action today eh?
I figure the low water and brilliant sunshine
have put down the trout pretty well for the
rest of the day."
Serge: (in his typical calm manner) "Yup,
really slow, I only kept two trout and
released two others."
Me: "We saw your pickup over on the #43,
you must have been there at the crack of dawn."
Serge: "Actually, I got a slow start
out of the house and only started at 10h00."
My ego deflated by a few PSI, I could image
Serge fishing alone on the #43. A methodical
angler, he would have started at the head
of the run and worked his way down, dead
drifting a Juliet Hopper out in the current
with progressively longer and longer casts
(starting a mere 4-5 feet from the gravel bar).
He'd probably only cast 1-2 times to each
lane, figuring that if the trout was there,
it would take the fly on the very first
presentation (as he'd shown me years before).
If the trout (which ARE there we know) don't
take to that offering, he'll settle in on
the beach in the shade, leisurely select
another fly (a sparsely tied Mickey Finn?)
listen to the river for a while, then slowly
start up again at the head of the run.
Picturing this in my mind, I look back to
the way we've been fishing for the past
I don't fish alone anymore. Since meeting
my girlfriend and her son, we always spend
time on the water as a family. Being new to
the passion, the two of them find as much
pleasure in the act of casting as actually
catching fish, and therein lies perhaps the
Sea run brook trout (and I imagine, their
resident cousins elsewhere in Eastern North
America) are shy things. When a herd of
anglers comes stomping down the trail and
starts whipping up a pool or run, the results
are pretty well pre-determined. The trout
hunker down in lies or drift away to get
away from the commotion.
Vince & Pascal whippin' up a storm on the #47,
I wonder if the trout haven't sought refuge elsewhere?
I guess it all comes down to balance. We
fish for fun, to spend time on the water together,
not so much to fill the freezer with trout.
"Crowded" for my home waters
The gang is learning to relax and "rest a run"
That said, fly fishers want to catch fish.
Sure we can say we are there for the experience,
but deep down inside, a connection now and then
is the ultimate goal.
So take your time. Even in a group, try
rotating on a pool or run. If the trout
are refusing, take a break (or a nap). I
call this, 'Letting the trout reflect on IT'S errors.'
Jack Crawford working the run on #48 - and
taking his time and subsequently landing a nice Grisle
I look back on how I used to fish runs.
I'd often only actually cast a few times
every 10-15 minutes. Ever take your time
changing flies (maybe untangling some wind
knots) the BANG, splashy take on the very
Was it the new fly that did it? Or maybe
just the fact that the pool had "gotten a rest?"
Renée with her very first trout. First cast
after we had "rested" the slick for about 45 minutes.
I guess the old saying, "Slow down to get
there faster" is appropriate. Or as my old
Gunney would say, "You may only get one shot,
do it right." ~ Christopher Chin – Jonquiere Quebec
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
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,
~ Christopher Chin
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