Our Man In Canada
March 20th, 2006

The Men's Club on Glass Pool
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

A few threads that were bouncing around the boards this past week caught my attention. One of them was about women fly fishing and if that "bothered" the boys.

That got me thinking. Is there a "Men's Club" over here on my home waters?

After a bit of real reflection on the subject, I can honestly say that I have never witnessed any form of discrimination against the ladies, well except for that one day on the #46 pool.

The #46 pool on the Ste-Marguerite is also know as Glass Pool because it is a large pool, smooth as glass. It's also the first rest stop for migrating salmon and trout, upstream from a long series of runs and rapids. Add to this the two cold water springs which seep in from the bottom as well as the cool water sweeping in from the Murailles arm of the river, and you get a world class Atlantic salmon pool.

I suppose that's also the reason that the Head Warden's cabin is also perched over the pool (as well as an observation gallery).

Glass Pool is a complicated and fantastic combination of the local geography and hydraulics. Water from the Main is joined by the flow from the Murailles Arm on the #48. The flow increases dramatically and squeezes past the point on the #47. As the river empties into Glass Pool (the #46), about 90 % of the flow hugs the left turn into the rapids, the rest setting up into a gentle clockwise rotation in the pool itself.

This split in the river's flow presents more than several prime targets for placing a fly. Unfortunately, current direction, targets and casting positions don't always come together for our needs.

Three main casting positions are on the "gallery" side (near side) of the pool. One out across the rapids in the tail out, a second straight upstream into the split, and a third out left into the pool. These are the "classic" positions where anglers have been tempting salmon since the mid 1800's.

In certain condition, anglers will need to set up in a canoe to get a proper presentation on a wet fly.

Boris T swinging a wet on the "near side" under the Gallery

There is another way to fish this pool. We enter the river from the #47 and wade downstream off the point into the pool. This past season around the end of July, the family and I were exploring the zone and decided to try Glass Pool. The water level and flow rates had been dropping all summer so we decided to try casting from the far side.

I sent Renée out to try for some trout which were lagered over for the summer. As she started casting into the pool, the Wardens and some friends took up a perch on the gallery. The Head Warden, Yvon Gauthier, being the joking fellow that he is, calls out, "Renée? Get off the point! That's a Man's casting position! Too far for a WOMAN!"

We all knew he was kidding, trying to get Renée riled up. Deep down, I knew however that some of the anglers taking a break on the gallery actually thought that. Glass pool is a Classic pool. The Prince of Wales once said it was one of his favourite pools in the Kingdom. A woman couldn't possible cast across the pool!

Renée has only been fishing for a few years, so she really couldn't cast out across the pool and into the left to right flow where the trout set up over top of one of the springs.

I knew though that there was a second bunch of trout hanging in the slow current THIS SIDE of the pool where another spring was bubbling up. We waited for the anglers and Wardens to retreat back to the camp to refill their coffee cups. Quickly I slid out to her left shoulder, had her strip in 40 feet of line, strip OUT another 20 feet off the reel, then cast up and right a mere 30 feet.

Mending two gentle sweeps in the line, Renée had the chopped #6 Bomber drifted perfectly towards the pod of trout. As the BIGGEST male at the head of the pod ripped the fly off the surface we let it turn away and dive back to sanctuary in the deep BEFORE I had Renée strike once. The fly was thus set on the left hand side of the trout's jaw. I quickly retreated back to the point, leaving Renée alone in the pool.

Of course, the first thing the big Buck did was run left again in the slow current, drive downstream in the main flow, then turn right back into the pool, pulling all the loose line as well as 15 feet of backing along. At that VERY instant, The "Glass Pool Men's Club" came ambling back onto the gallery to see how the fairer sex was doing.

As they looked down into the pool, all they saw was an 8 lb trout under the gallery, tight line running back towards a smiling young lady 100 FEET AWAY on the other side of the pool, 7wt 10 foot rod bent into a deep bow trying to get the trout from going too far into the backing! They could see the oversized dry fly in the hinge of the trout's left side jaw! How did she ever cast such a BIG FLY, SOOOO far and then set the hook perfectly?

I credit their self control as not one of them actually dropped their coffee. The sound of their jaws dropping 20 feet into the pool was already making enough noise!

We never did tell the gallery how we connected to that big trout. Fishing the far side to the "near side" lie is (was) my secret.

Side bar:
Spring is fast approaching. You can be sure we will be back to the #46 shortly. Drop by to see us...Just don't drop your coffee.

The gallery on Glass Pool, Home of the Glass Pool Men's Club, The Point off the #47 is in the background ~ 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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