Our Man In Canada
July 2nd, 2007

A Good Night's Sleep
By Chris Chin, Proulxville Quebec, Canada

I have the wonderful opportunity to meet lots of newcomers to the river here. Actually, for many of them, the first time we meet, it is also the very first time they are going to fish a Salmon River. The excitement of the coming day, jet lag, weird schedules, long evenings; it all adds up.

For many anglers, the first night sleeping in the cottage on the #23 pool is either way too short or way too long. The excitement of the coming day, new surroundings, new foods; one can find oneself tossing and turning the whole night.

We met up with Frank V and José this past Friday. As Renée and I were waiting on the road side for our visitors to arrive, she asked how we'll know it's them. Pretty easy question to answer as we see a mini van drive up, Frank hanging out of the passenger side window, smile beaming from ear to ear, waving his arms and hollering.

José was driving as he had hopped on board in Montreal. Frank was co-piloting as he'd left Toronto during the night. Hand shakes and 'Howdy's' and we're off for the hour long jaunt down the river valley to the cottage.

Once we got Frank and José settled in, we start talking strategy. IMHO, every Salmon River is different. A particularity on ours is that many of the pools "wake up" relatively late in the morning. Sure you can get out at the crack of dawn and whip up a storm. We prefer to go a bit more slowly, actually waiting on certain pools for the sun to slide in. (not all the pools, but some).

We looked over flies, buffed the lines, tied up some leaders and sampled some rum. Planning to head out at 0630 the next morning, wake up would be at 05h00. Time to hit the sack.

There is something magical about sleeping in the old (well new) Prospector's tents that we have set up on the river. We light up the wood stove to ward of the chill and to pump any humidity out of the tent. I suppose too that a real mattress is a pleasant change from a sleeping pad rolled out on a picnic table. It could also be the patter of rain on the canvas roof, the song birds chirping at 04h00 or the crackling of the spruce in the fire.

Whatever the reason, I usually sleep very well here. Around about 04h45 I'm watching the clock, waiting for 05h00 to roll in. After a good night's sleep, the excitement of the coming day is all the more invigorating.

At 5 o'clock I can hear Frank and José bumping around in the cottage next door. Time to roll out of the sack and get the coffee brewing. This will be a wonderful day.

For our road warrior friends, there are a few tricks to help you get a good night's sleep:

  • You may want to bring your own pillow. Sounds dumb, but it can make a difference;

  • Sadly, Café Cognacs are a killer combination of sugar and caffeine so take care to not over do it while rigging up in the evening;

  • Depending on your itinerary, try to schedule meal stops at "normal" hours. It's better to stop somewhere a bit early for supper than to arrive late and eat at 10 o'clock at night (unless you're sed to this);

  • Scout out the river the day before. If you can, do a bit of recon during the afternoon. This will help to take off some of the "unknown" factor and help you to put your mind more at ease;

  • Lastly, just try to relax. The worst thing to do is to worry that you're not sleeping. Even if you don't sleep soundly, the rest will do you some good.

    José roaring to go after a good night's sleep (Photo Frank Vitelli – 2007)

    A first day on a new river is a magical experience. If you're having trouble sleeping, don't worry. It's normal. We all do it! ~ Christopher – Proulxville Quebec, Canada

    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/.

    Our Man In Canada Archives

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