I have always loved and will always cherish the drive out
to the river. Granted, the drive is much longer now that I'm
based in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Still the five hour drive is
not stressful and helps me to unwind from the week's events
(or in the case the past 9 months). It is strange though to
make my way up the winding road which follows the river.
By Chris Chin
I decide to run up past the camp site and see if Romain Tremblay
has hooked up with the clients who were looking to book a Guide
for the weekend. It is getting close to six in the evening so I head
right to the #43. Sure enough, his pickup is nosed in to the pullout.
Another SUV is parked near by. I walk the 300 yards down to the
pool and meet up with the group on the beach.
Gentleman that he is, Romain offers his condolences along
with a firm and sincere hand shake. My Renee had passed
away two weeks earlier after a short but valiant battle with
cancer. I have come up this weekend to bring her home and
to retire her rod.
We chat a while then move up to explore a few more pools.
I'm signed if only for the next day so I just tag along to learn
some pointers from Romain (who has been fishing this river
since the early '80's.)
Back down to camp to settle in. I invite Romain to share the
prospector's tent with me. Deep down, I am grateful that he
accepts, not really wanting to be there alone after having spent
the past seven seasons there with my Love. Wake-up for his
clients is at 04h30, so we turn in early.
Bright and early the next morning, I find that one the Romain's
4 clients is laid up with a bad back. We decide to split up the
group. The duo of beginners leave with Romain to explore some
likely runs and I take Jean with me up into the #4 zone.
We pull into the far side of Glass Pool and string up to explore
the #48. If I can connect to the salmon holding there, I'll retire
Happy New Year).
I'm not really his Guide, but I send Jean up to the head of the pool
to explore for salmon. I'll content myself to the trout on the lower
edge of the pool. I have tendonitis in my stripping arm and a beat
up rotator cuff in my right shoulder, but it is still awfully nice to be
casting a fly.
The trout seem uncooperative this morning. Just when we are
wondering if there really are any fish in the pool, a magnificent
specimen of Salmo salar leaps straight out of the morning
stillness. (exactly where I had though she would be hiding).
I can tell from the dark coloration of her flanks and the type
of leap, this big hen will not be taking a fly this morning. I get
this weird feeling she was just popping up to say Hi and see
who was out and about at such an hour.
We head down to Glass Pool. I always like to start there
around about 08h00 just as the sun starts to illuminate the
pool. There had been some anglers there at 5 o'clock, but
with the morning fog and cool water, there was not much
to do there at such an early hour.
I set Jean up on the run and I move down to set up on dries.
There is something stirring up the surface and rolling in the
current occasionally. Now that's a much more likely prospect
than the big hen which gave us the air show farther upstream.
I set up a big Bomber into the current and let it dead drift.
A short cast. Only about 40 feet. The coils of stripped line
are in a bit of a mess in my left hand. As I look down to try
to undo the coils, a subtle "slurp" draws my attention back
to my fly (which is now GONE!).
I throw an upstream mend so as to not pull the fly free, left
hand goes left and the rod hand goes up. A rainbow of mist
is ripped off of the surface as the line goes taught and the
weight of the fish settles immediately deep into the butt of
I only have a 6 lb tippet and I think that it's a salmon, so I let
it run (the loose coils miraculously stream through my left hand
without tangling). The fish dives straight down deep into the
current and soon has 10 feet of backing out of the guides. It
turns slightly right, touches the edge of the back eddy and stops.
Then I feel the head shakes. It's a TROUT!
Even on an 8 wt salmon rod, the trout is a beast to lift. I lean
back on the rod straight to vertical. It won't budge. I decide
to lean the rod right (farther towards the back eddy) and walk
it back with me towards the gravel bar. Funny how one can't
muscle a big fish upstream, but one can simply walk and they
come slowly along).
It comes up to the surface and I see it roll. It's a female.
Well, that settles one question. If she's not terribly badly
hooked, she's going back. Now that I know she'll probably
be released, I hurry a bit more. I walk her even farther
upstream to get her out of the current.
A few minutes more and she is at hand. A quick photo from
Jean and she's back into the pool.
A nice female sea run Brookie Photo Jean Turcot.
We explore a few more pools together then head
back to the camp for lunch.
After a short rest and a snack, I took Renee's ashes
down into the #24. This is the pool where we used to
always take our morning coffee.
I clambered down the steep trail into the pool. This is
the same place where she first really seriously fished
Renee Sweeping for monsters Pool #24 August 2004
Her ashes gently mingled with the current and washed
away towards yonder pools and runs. This is what Renee
had always wanted.
Now she's Home Renee Jeanne Cote 1955 2008
I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank
all of you who have offered your prayers, kind words
and moral support during these past 9 months. Such a fine
community of human beings is a rare thing today. The e-mails,
phone calls and postings that we received were a true inspiration
to Renee and she was always very touched. Thank you.
~ Christopher Chin, Three Rivers Quebec.
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 44 years old as of this writing. He
is of Chinese origin although his parents were
born and raised in Jamaica.
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,
website. You can email Chis at: Flyfishing.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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