Our Man In Canada
October 20th, 2008

A Canadian Thanksgiving 2008 Recap
By Chris Chin

In Quebec, the annual Thanksgiving holiday isn't as Big as in Western Canada, and even less so than in the USA. It just doesn't seem to be as ingrained in the culture. There are however some traditions which are slowly taking shape.

Up here, Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. For some of us, this means that the run of juvenile sea run trout is (should) be in full swing.

For several years now, the October long weekend has become an opportunity to get one last outing into the journal.

The gathering on the #23 Pool … TroisD, Renata and SimB booting up

I arranged to meet up with a few friends from the Quebec Peche (the french language board up here). The community on the forum is smaller than the FAOL family, but they have been just as supportive for me this year.

This late season on the Ste-Marguerite River is a bit more relaxed than the Atlantic salmon season in the summer. The cold water and cool air mix well with a steaming cup of coffee. Add to that the Autumn colours, the wood smoke drifting out of the stoves plus schools of hungry trout and you find yourself pretty close to paradise.

Fishing for these juvenile sea trout is a bit different than hunting their adult counterparts in the summer. First off, these little trout (ranging from 8 inches up to a pound) actually do eat in fresh water. Secondly, the water is so cold at this time of year, one doesn't really need to be out at the crack of dawn. This lets us linger around the camp fire, enjoy a coffee (or two) and prepare a real breakfast (Sunday breakfast was French toast, jam, syrup and coffee).

Techniques and tactics vary depending on the angler. Of course, the ultimate is when the sun comes out, the pool warms up and the action moves to the surface. For me, after a summer of blasting #2-4 Bombers into head winds with 10 ft 8 weight rods, it is a shear pleasure to pull out a 9 ft 6 weight (I'm trying a new rod too).

The sun? Unfortunately, one of the big factors which influences the fishing (at any time) is the weather. On this October long weekend, we just didn't get the stable air we were looking for. Saturday was cool and blustery.

Things were looking promising. When I crawled out of my bunk early Saturday morning, the smoke from the wood stove was climbing straight up into the morning stillness. By the time I have the coffee perking, the smoke column collapsed and was hugging the ground like a mist. Not a good sign.

The windy conditions makes for difficult casting and limits the pools we can fish. When the wind comes out of the North/North-West, it funnels down the river valley and can make fishing an exercise in frustration!

Simon on the #23 ™ hiding from the wind

Since the conditions were a bit challenging, we decide to stick to some 'ole stand-by's. The big pool at Bardsville offers some shelter and we know that there are trout holding there.

TroisD (Manon) perched on the ballast rock at Bardsville

Over two days of fishing, we saw very little action on the surface. Occassionaly, a trout would chase a woolly bugger or woolly worm, but Manon was the only one in our group to actually release a trout (a simple act after I had shown her how to pinch down the barb on her fly). The rest of us had quite a few touches and a couple long distance releases. The trout were just nibbling at the flies and not inhaling them with the usual vigor.

As things settle down and the realisation that the trout won't cooperate set in, we break out the extra rods and give the gals a chance to see the difference between weights, lengths and actions (the two of them being realtively new to fly fishing).

Few trout and difficult conditions aside, the weekend was a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends (I had met them on the Quebec fly fishing forum).

The gear boxes are now cleaned and packed away for the season. The lines and waders are all cleaned and hibernating in the closet. I'll be in touch with my new friends over the winter … The 2009 salmon season is only 8 months away!

Casting lessons and rod testing by TroisD and Renata

~ Christopher Chin, Three Rivers 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 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, visit Christopher's website. You can email Chis at: Flyfishing.christopher@gmail.com.

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