Access to Our Passion
While haunting the different fly fishing boards this
week, I noticed that several threads were related to
access to fishing, land tenure etc. Then I got an
e-mail asking about access to waters in Quebec.
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec
There seems to have been some misconception floating
about that Quebec water's are mostly controlled in
some way or another. Oooops,...not so.
To get this straight, one must remember that over 92%
of the land base in Quebec is public. (even more in the
Western Provinces). In a nut shell, fishing opportunities
in Quebec present themselves in one of 5 categories:
1. Public lands - Open waters. All one needs is a
Provincial freshwater sport fishing licence. In my
guestimate, this must cover about 95% of the 2 million
km² forests, lakes and rivers around here.
In 18 years of fishing in Quebec, I have never crossed private
land to access fishing. There some very rare places where this
would be necessary I suppose,...I just haven't run into them.
2. Public lands - Zec's. or Controlled access zone.
For a daily access fee, you can fish (and hunt) in areas
where a local management board looks after the resources.
One of the important management tools these boards use is
the setting of ANNUAL quotas on individual lakes or
sections of rivers. 99% of salmon rivers are run by
this management model.
3. Public lands - Parks and wildlife reserves. The
jewel (in my honest opinion) of Quebec's outdoor recreation
opportunities, 22 national parks, 16 wildlife reserves, 8
tourist resorts, +600 cottages and +8,000 camping sites,
this Crown Corporation offers fishing opportunities
throughout the province.
4. Public lands - Outfitters. The Quebec government
can lease out parcels of land to private enterprises that
then have the exclusive rights to use the wildlife resources
in that sector. Outfitters, by law, are also the only persons
allowed to market lodging/fishing packages. Note: Licensed
outfitters are also the ONLY persons in Quebec that work
in areas where Guides are mandatory.
5. Public lands - Federal parks and tidal waters. On
tidal waters, one doesn't even need a sport fishing license,
although daily quotas are set (and enforced). In National
Parks, daily (nominal) access fees are required. The best
fresh water fishing opportunity is in the Mauricie National
park which covers +500 km² only 2 hours from Montreal.
So, up here in Quebec, we don't need these either:
~ Chris Chin
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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