Our Man In Canada
June 26th, 2006

The River Report
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

Before the Internet had become a household word, the daily River Report could draw anglers to the fly shop like moths to a porch light on a warm summer's evening. Whether in a fly shop, barber shop or next to the breakfast menu at a lodge, these miniature chalk boards were the first thing many of us read in the morning or the last thing at night. All in an attempt to glean the freshest information from returning groups or Guides.

Today, things have changed. For one, the Internet has become a major source of information on water conditions, hatches, tides, success rates, catches to date, angling pressure. Well, you get the idea. A search on the Internet got 3.4 MILLION hits.

Next, communication of information has gotten really FAST!

While visiting a river several years ago, I saw a group of Guides drifting a really tough stretch of river. They were using cell phones and two-way radios to send reports upstream to other Guides on flows, rises missed and honey holes.

Over the past couple of weeks, the salmon have started arriving on my home waters. As I'm tied up at the office, I've been relying on friends to get information to me (so I can in turn inform some clients and friends correctly).

On my home waters the information we exchange is fairly succinct. Pretty close to number one on the list of information is water quality and quantity. Flow rates, water clarity, temperature and whether the river was rising or dropping. This information gives us a good idea if there are problems wading, if there are certain sections or pools which are not fishable and which ones will be really good to try.

As there are no hatches to match (Atlantic Salmon don't eat while in the river), we don't get too much into the "bugs" side of reports. Actually, some of us have found that a good hatch of something will sometimes put down Salmon (just a little theory of mine).

Of course, there are the ever present notes about where the salmon and trout are holding and in which sections of the river. We are lucky on my home waters and salmon hold in lies up and down the river all season. (We just have to find them).

Then there are the success rates, salmon moved, fish connected, numbers released. Hmmm. Now, I'm not a sceptical person by nature. I just wonder sometimes how come those who fish alone have more success than a lone client fishing with a Guide (i.e. Witness)?

On Atlantic salmon Rivers, the River Report an important piece of equipment. Whether it be from the local shop, your guide or an I*net bulletin board, you should use this information to adjust your plans accordingly.

Saturday, I'm off to the river, scouting out some pools and meeting some folks Sunday. Monday, the report should be posted to the boards. ~ Chris Chin

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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