Our Man In Canada
November 27th, 2006

First impressions (you only get one chance)
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada

(I'm beating this subject to death, but it is important to me, maybe it could be for you too)

My new day job has me slotted as point man on a big project. To get things rolling, I've been in a myriad of meetings, conferences, workshops etc. All the usual fixings to prepare the management plans for over 3 million acres of public forest lands. Lots of meet 'n greet.

At the same time, we are getting ready for the 2007 fishing season. The raffle for rod slots was drawn late in October, so anglers are starting to call to get the skinny on the best dates, strategies and general information.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a fellow FAOL'er this week when Frank V called. We agreed on getting together some time during his visit. Then, at the end of our conversation, Frank thanked me for my time. Wow,...that was weird.

It had never crossed my mind that anyone would thank me for information or a day on the river. I would rather thank THEM for taking the time out of their busy schedule to come to visit our home waters or our little part of the world. (While speaking with Frank, I could hear in the background the comings and goings, I believe at the shop, so I knew he was grabbing time to call during his lunch break).

So how do you react when you run across visitors on your home waters?

Up here, I have the opportunity to meet many newcomers. Quite often they don't know how to rotate into a run, which flies to use or even where to find a telephone. I've found that offering to help (if wanted) has led to some wonderful time spent sharing a run, a lunch (or a bottle of Port).

Take a moment to think about the encounters that you may have had on the water. You look down the run and see a stranger flogging away over a dead slick. His leader is too limp and too short. Even from 30 yards away you can see that their fly is 4 sizes too big. What did you do?

Did you mind your own business, smirking under the brim of your hat thinking "That guy is going to get skunked here" or did you spool up, approach the newcomer, introduce yourself and offer some help?

Is it possible that that poor fellow went home that night, exhausted after spending one of the most frustrating days of his life seeing the "locals" connecting while he had no luck? We've all been there. It's just possible that it was many many years ago.

I've often said that we are all ambassadors for our sport, our home waters and our regions while we travel. The same is true when we are at home.

I've caught some exceptional memories over the years on the water. Most of the best have a rod in hand and a smile on their face.


~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau 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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