Our Man In Canada
February 6th, 2006

The Look
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

I changed employers about 18 months ago. Smaller staff, more freedom and opportunities. Anyway, after the regular period of adaptation (the company finally adapted to me), the staff started to learn a bit about me.

It finally got out that I would sometimes Guide for Salmon and Brookies. One of the crew found that weird, saying that he fishes to relax and have fun, why would anyone ever do it for pay?

Being an analytical type, I reflected a bit on that one. And reflected on it a bit more. Well, I finally came up with (a part anyway of) the answer this past week.

The winter up here is pretty pleasant, no bugs, mud, even the Honda Civics slow down a bit, when they're not in the ditch. (ooops, .. sorry Rant). We tie some flies, clean the gear, tie some flies, tie up some leaders, tie some flies. Well, you get the idea.

Another "activity" starts after the Christmas break. We start seriously getting ready for the new season. About the same time, old and new friends start calling and sending e-mails, preparing their new season as well. Planning opening day, road trips.

I had chatted a bit with a fellow FAOL'er and we exchanged a few notes. Then he called. Dave (of Dave & Gundo) called. Made my day. Heck, I'm still smilin'.

Now Dave may not come up. Actually, I've found that any manner of coincidence can quite quickly side track the best laid plans. That's life. Why am I still smiling then?

Well, just the prospect, the slim chance, the possibility of showing a newcomer around on our Homewaters, well that's just grand.

That brings me back to why I like "guiding" friends around here or Guiding clients. The 'Looks' on their face, the twinkle in their eye when they come down the trail to the #43 and see the run spread out before them in the morning mist.

Joe M. exploring the #43

The Look on a stranger's face when they first struggle out of the SUV after a road trip from Ajax Ontario, almost painfully untangle their knees, then get a caress of cool (not air conditioned) air which flows out of the gorge on the #23 pool.

The Look of my girlfriend's face each time when the dishes are stacked and we sit out on the rocks on the #49 to watch the evening Salmo salar air show.

Finally back to the river - June 2003

The Look on Junior's face when I wake him up at 5 o'clock, he rubs the sleep out of his eyes and realises that there's no school today, we're on the river and the trout are stacked in the #8.

The Look on friend's faces as we explore the trails along the river. The photo on the right is exploring the trail along the 5A (the blur is dog Kenny just havin' a Hoot!)

The (knowing) Look on the head Warden's face when he ambles into camp mid day, sees us lazing around a fire, asks why we're not fishing, and I reply, "Oh, well the trout will always be there this evening."

I guess Dave just made my day this week. If (well,...when) we finally meet (or Deanna, or Jim, Mike, Lisa, Dennis, or, well heck, any of you), and we come down the ramp to the lookout on Big Pool, you won't have to wonder why I'm not looking at the pool.

I'll be watching your face, peering into your eyes. Looking for that Look. ~ Chris

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 in 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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