Point of Observation
We have it good here. On my home waters, there are galleries
and observation points scattered up and down the river. Over
the years (well, decades), the Wardens and Guides have cut back
the underbrush and cleared trails. Finding lookouts is pretty
easy. Folks have been leaning out over the pools in the same
places since before the 1870's.
By Chris Chin, Proulxville Quebec, Canada
The old ladders propped or nailed to trees have however been
removed. Apparently, they were a bit too much of a liability
Visitors here are often amazed at the amount of time that we
spend watching salmon and trout. While rotating in and out of
pools, we'll sometimes spend hours chatting amongst ourselves
and observing the fish. (photo – Luc watching over Boris on
These hours and hours of observation have given us some insight into
how fish react to our presentations. Where and how do we want to land
dries? How fast do we want to swing wets?
We also get the opportunity to watch salmon and trout taking the fly
(or at least move to one and refuse our offering). The sight of a
salmon taking a dry fly will never cease to amaze me.
Further, the different manner in which salmon take a dry can vary
enormously depending on conditions and of course, the salmon.
One of my favourite casting positions is on the far side of Glass Pool.
In low water, we can wade out off of the gravel bar and right into the
pool. The salmon holding in the gentle current don't "seem" to be
disturbed by our presence. (wading slowly and quietly does helps some).
In the morning sun, I can see the pods of salmon lazing in the current.
As the salmon are holding high in the water column, I can actually see
them easily. The pools turn slowly in a clock wise direction, so my
presentation of a #6 White Bird is right to left on a dead drift.
Not too far off, I only have to strip out about 30 feet of fly line to
get a nice presentation. A couple of false casts and the big bushy fly
is perched high on its hackles in the morning sun. I like to drop the
first presentation a bit far out; just inside the peripheral vision of
Hmm,...a bit too far. This gets absolutely no reaction from the 4-5
salmon holding there. Another cast, this time shortening up three
feet and left two feet over. The fly drop lightly but solidly in
the "window" over top the lead salmon. No movement from her, but
the second salmon in the line drifts ever so gently upwards to
have a leisurely look.
No take. I let the cast drift out.
Third cast and I aim one to two feet farther to the left again.
Maybe the second one in line will take a look at this. The fly
drops. The second salmon in line again starts drifting its
behemoth like form upwards. In a flash, the fourth salmon in the
line, a small male rockets out of the queue and breaks the surface.
I love fishing this drop. As I've waded out into waist deep water,
my perspective is closer to the water's surface. In the adrenaline
charged moment, everything is running in super slow motion. I see
the bulge in the surface as the nose then mouth of the small salmon
break the surface.
The next instant and the fly is gone! I wait. Did he really take
the fly or has he simply sunken it in the boil? I watch the end
of the fly line as it drifts on, and then dives under the surface.
He HAS taken the fly. (1)
Left hand going left and rod coming up off of the horizontal, the
salmon knows that something is wrong at the same instant that I know
something is right. That magical moment. The fly line lifts out of
the water in a sparkling rainbow pointing directly towards the running
In Glass pool, the battles are not to long. Since we've gone to 100%
C&R, we're using lighter tippets and leaning harder into the rod. The
leader will break or the salmon will come in. As the water was pretty
warm, already over 62 degrees, I leaned back really hard. The salmon
didn't want to turn at first and got into about 30 feet of backing. I
walked him backwards towards the gravel bar.
Once out of the current, the fight was over. A quick flick of the
fly and he was released without even touching him. I reeled up to
inspect my fly and make a coffee. Christopher Chin – Proulxville Quebec
(1)Note: Many Guides will tell clients to count to three before
setting the hook on a dry fly take. I prefer to watch the tip of
the fly line for movement. As an experienced Guide once said on a
Gaspé River, "You will rarely set the hook too late on a dry."
~ Christopher – Proulxville Quebec, Canada
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,
Our Man In Canada Archives