Under a Covered Bridge

I had to go back East for a few weeks. Yes, had to. Montreal. Every time I return I hope I’ll have a bit of time to myself but that never happens. The week(s) are always hectic and if I get an hour or two on one morning or evening to wander around, I’m lucky. Time there simply blows by and before I know it I’m in Dorval at the airport boarding my flight back West, and wondering where it all went.

When I do get a spare moment I simply want to re-visit the countryside southwest of Montreal, where I grew up. I like driving the narrow back roads fringed with corn fields. There are also large stands of Maples around where you can search for the remnants of an old sugar shack, or as they say around here a “Cabane a Sucre’. Sometimes I drive a ridge along the border between Quebec and New York State and simply take in all the apple orchards; row after row of carefully pruned trees. Rural Quebec is really quite beautiful. For those of you south of the border think New England but with a Québécois twist and signage, and rougher roads; much rougher…check the ditches for hub caps.

This trip I got up real early one morning and drove south through the Chateauguay Valley to a covered bridge which crosses a classic stream. I didn’t have a lot of time…which I guess is a running theme in this post…so I quickly breathed it all in, got back in my car and left in order to get back on time. The brief stop spawned many memories. It’s where I started fly fishing for trout. That was a long time ago. I remember seeing anglers with creels hanging from their shoulders, many smoking pipes. The smell of Amphora tobacco still makes me feel all is right with the world.

I use to pedal my heavy indestructible one speed CCM bicycle to the bridge from my home, a half day journey, and camp in a field that was leased or owned by Boy Scouts Canada. I’d fish for a day or two and then cycle back home. When I got a little older I’d hitch-hike there, cover the water with a big dry, then thumb back. I took a couple of pictures of the bridge on this trip but haven’t figured out how to download them from my phone. Technology, yikes! Here’s a couple of photos I found (stole) on the internet. I didn’t even give the photographers credit. Ok, call La Police!

percy bridge, quebec

percy water (2)


I flew back to Alberta on a Saturday and although tired decided on Sunday to fish one of my favorite rivers. It would be my last chance this season. I didn’t do well. My head hadn’t caught up to where my body was. It wasn’t jet lag but more like mind lag. It had been an emotional visit.

bridge coffee

photo by B L Garnier

It was calm out and there were a few bugs around (tiny olives and midges) but for the most part the fish laid low. Late in the afternoon I managed to find a few good rising trout where insects were collecting. It pays to know a river. I shared the spot with a lone sheep…but he wasn’t in waders. He seemed stranded at water’s edge with an eight foot high bank looming above him. He hadn’t found an escape route even though there was one upstream. He just sat there looking kind of lost and defeated. I tried to “shoo” him in the right direction and he got up and moved well but missed the exit sign.

sheep on bank


When I left the river I made it a point to stop at the Hutterite Colony where I spoke to a child who was pretending to drive a large tractor. He turned his machine off with his imaginary keys and then pointed to the “Sheepman” who was sitting in an aged pick-up truck thirty feet away with another fellow. I informed the Sheepman about the stranded animal. He said, “We know about him…he’s one of the stupid ones”. I grimaced and explained that the sheep looked distressed being alone and in unfamiliar territory. He looked at me for a second or two with a poker-face, slowly put his truck in gear and as he drove off said, ” Thanks”.


a rare calm day

Anyway, I did manage one nice fish on a dry-fly. It made my day just like it did forty-five years ago while standing under a covered bridge.

good angle

rainbow trout on dry fly


P.S.  Sheep aren’t stupid…they’re just sheep.




3 thoughts on “Under a Covered Bridge

  1. Nice to reminisce Bob isn’t it? I recently visited Boston for the first time in over thirty years. My brother and I concluded that if would could visit one venue for viewing a hockey game it would be the Forum in Montreal.

    By the way, does the trout season close for the winter in Alberta?

    • Hi Les: Yes, nice to re-visit places and remember. The Montreal Forum was a special place…I took in some games there and once lived within walking distance of it. Quite the buzz on Saturday night and I must say the biggest buzz was when the Bruins were in town. Now the Canadians play at the Bell centre (progress?) but electricity is still in the air when Boston is in town. For baseball I’d go to Fenway..second choice Wrigley field.
      Yes, we have some year around fisheries…one river near my home fishes well in winter..nymphing.
      Right now I’m on the Mo. Spent the past 2 days on it…tough going for the dry fly angler…few bugs and big wind. Caught some on dries and yesterday had to swing a streamer. Hooked and landed a nice brown on a dry yesterday late day when wind died. Got him in inches was water…when got set up to photo he bolted. Best fish of the trip…colorful, hooked jaw. Oh boy!

      • Good thing that you got out when you did Bob. It’s probably pretty frosty on the MO this morning.

        Thanks for the rink clarification. I forgot that the Forum is no more…..I share your sentiments as regards the baseball venues…

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