Our Man In Canada
September 4th, 2006

The Quebec 2006 Fish-In (part 1 of 4)
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada

Well, school has started up again. The nights are cooling off and the juvenile sea run Brookies are starting to come into the river. Lots of stuff is getting back to "normal."

Jim and Deanna are back at it. The Board is back to its old familiar color. Time to finally get down on "paper" highlights of the Quebec 2006 Fish-In, (before I start forgetting too much stuff).

I started bouncing the idea off Jim before Christmas in '05... mostly in the Saturday evening weekend roundup in the Chat Room. After the Christmas holidays, we started to get serious.

Initial interest was fairly good, but as with any plan,... even the best intentions can get sidetracked by a myriad of events. In the end, the only ones from the FAOL community who could make it were Deanna, Jim as well as Faruk Ekich.

In the days before the Fish-In I changed apartments and the Internet and Phone didn't get hooked up in time. I sent a few messages off to Deanna to nail down when and where we would meet. On her first message back, she replies that they are flying into OTTAWA! (over 10 hours from here). Panic.

A quick flurry of e-mails and we get it straightened out and set up a meet at the same spot I meet all my out of town visitors.

So there I am, catching up in my Journals by the road side. A rented car pulls in and honks. Jim and Deanna pile out... severely jet lagged from a marathon week on getting the server back up, setting up two weeks of articles, numerous flight transfers, then the two and a half hour drive up from Quebec City.

Hand shakes and hugs. What else is there to do.

The next order of the day is to get out of town and find some food for these two. We stop off at a diner at the last village coming out of town. Jim and Deeget a first glimpse of a Quebec speciality when I order up for myself a Poutine. (French fries and fresh cheddar cheese curds, smothered in gravy).

Snacking here, I soon realize just how dependant these two are on COFFEE! The ever present travel mug seems bottomless.

Ste. Marguerite River sign

From there it's a 30 minute drive down the regional highway before we drop down into the Ste-Marguerite River valley. We stop at an observatory on Glass pool to spot some salmon and chat. A brief shower chases us into the picnic shelter where we continue to chat.

As we're going over some details and just plain having a ball, finally meeting after exchanging mail etc for the past two years, the Head Warden pulls up to his camp. Yvon Marie Gauthier has been on the river for the past several decades (37 years I think). He comes over to say hello and introductions are exchanged.

Yvon and I step over to his truck as I have some supplies for him. As we are catching up on reports, Deanna steps out of the picnic shelter and wanders back onto the observatory.

LF at observatory

Yvon: "Just who are those two anyway?"

Me: "Oh...just some friends from Washington...they run a Web site on fly fishing and used to teach 'n Guide a bit. Why ?"

Yvon: "Well, they are a real class act. When she came out of the shelter, she stopped and picked up a cigarette butt off of the ground. It wasn't even hers."

Me: "Yeah,...I know that."

(So one just never knows who's watching huh...We are all ambassadors for our sport.)

Back on the observatory, we decide that these two need rest so we move off to the #38 (Bardsville) on the way downstream towards their lodging.

The river

As on most Atlantic Salmon rivers in Quebec, one needs to procure a salmon license as well as daily rod fees. At the River Association office there at the #38, we get things all lined up. We shove off to hit one last observatory before settling these two road warriors for the night.

At the #23 pool (Alan's Arm), we meet a couple anglers who will be fishing the next day too in another zone. There is a lone angler fishing in the pool. We help her with her drift, lengthening and lightening her tippet too. No luck,...the salmon just don't want to cooperate. As we'll be fishing in this same zone tomorrow, I decide that Deanna and Jim are too tired to "tour the property" this evening.

A quick 10 minute drive and we're checking them into the "Farm." The 5 Star Farm (Ferme 5 Étoile) is a fairly nice set up. I've never stayed there personally, so I'll let Deanna and Jim give their comments if they wish.

I do credit Deanna for her self control. There is an Internet access station right there in the lobby of the motel reception. I believe she didn't even move towards it.

It's nearly 21h00 so supper is in order and we dine at the Farm (to not take the car again today). Over supper, we discuss strategy for the week and decide to take things pretty mellow.

Jim and Deanna (me too) have had quite a summer. In July, when I figured out that they were the only ones who could make it for the Fish-In, I was a bit relieved. This would be an excellent opportunity for them to relax on an almost real vacation before the big Michigan Fish-In.

After supper, back in their room, I left them some coffee and filters for the next day. We chatted for quite a while. Set up a meet for the next day around 9 o'clock. I promised them that the coffee would be ready.

I drove back up to the #23 where I would "borrow" the prospector's tent for the night.

Delighted at finally meeting these two and praying that the salmon and trout would cooperate this week...I finally nodded off around 01h30.

Tomorrow is another day. ~ Chris Chin, Jonquiere Quebec

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/.

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