Spring has finally sprung. The song birds are chirping,
the black flies have come out of wherever they spend
the winter and the Poplars start leafing out. Specifically
Balsam Poplars, Populus balsamifera.
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec
A sure sign that summer is just around the corner, the
evening air is laced with the sweat perfume that this
species of tree gives off. Hmmm, smells, odours. That
magical sense that can send memories rushing back into
We all have these flash backs. Some are comforting, like
the smell of fresh baked bread drifting down main street.
Others just familiar, like hot Jet-B exhaust fumes in the
I can remember being on the river, the sights, the sounds.
But when I image that I'm there, it is the smells that make
it all so much more vivid. Wood smoke from a smouldering
camp fire. Not the sickly sour day old smoke from a forest
fire. The crisp sweet smoke from quarter rounds of spruce
wisping through the camp.
I like to wake up early when I'm on the river. An hour before
the family and clients start to stir, I'll set the percolator
over a burner and light the wood stoves. While the waders hung
next to the stove start to warm, I like to stroll over to the
pool to see how the water level looks. I set up a perch on the
bench over the #24, looking for salmon.
It has cooled off a lot during the night. Heavy dew covers the
grass as well as the rods in the rack. A light mist has settled
over the river. The atmosphere around the camp is laden with the
scent of the fir trees. This won't last for long.
The morning mist burning off the 5B Ste-Marguerite River
We can look forward to another sweltering day on the river.
Early July and the Forest Fire Warning Index has been in the
red for 2 weeks already. The cool scent of the sleeping forest
will soon be replaced by the hot humid air and the omnipresent
perfume of mosquito repellent.
As the cool night air is still flowing down the valley, the
wood smoke and aroma of fresh perking coffee mingle and drift
through the forest towards me. A reminder to get back to camp
before the coffee boils over.
Thirty minutes later and a skillet of hash browns and bacon,
a serving bowl of scrambled eggs and a pile of toast is on
the table in the client's cabin, same thing as well as in
Mario - Inspecting Glass Pool on an early July morning with a mug 'o java
Wood smoke has seeped out of the stove. It mixes with the
aromas of hot cocoa and steaming piles of breakfast goodies.
For the family, these are the aromas of morning. I often
wonder if these are the olfactory triggers that will have
them remember days on the river. Long to be there again.
~ Christopher - Jonquiere Quebec
Only two synapses separate the olfactory nerve from the
amygdala, which is involved in experiencing emotion and
also in emotional memory (Herz & Engen, 1996). In addition,
only three synapses separate the olfactory nerve from the
hippocampus, which is implicated in memory, especially
working memory and short-term memory. Olfaction is the
sensory modality that is physically closest to the limbic
system, of which the hippocampus and amygdala are a part,
and which is responsible for emotions and memory. Indeed
this may be why odour-evoked memories are unusually
emotionally potent (1996). ~ 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
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,
~ Christopher Chin
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