Shaver Lake Fishing Club member Art Shepard (grandson of Judge Arthur Shepard, an early club member) swears the following story is true.

On Memorial Day weekend, 1997, when club members traditionally gather to "open" the club area, fill in ruts in the road, trim brush and hook up the water system, Shepard found some time after the basic work was done actually to go fishing.

But his luck was poor, despite his well-honed skill, dedicated patience and an impressive collection of lures and bait.

Working his way along the shore, he eventually decided to try near a downed tree dipping into the lake in the small cove below the water pump and well system, hoping fish might be lurking around the submerged branches. He had made several casts when he heard a bird cry above him, which he recognized as the cry of an osprey. A pair of the rare fish-eating members of the hawk family had been nesting somewhere in the club area -- an official wildlife sanctuary since the1970s.

Art looked up and saw, several hundred feet above him, the osprey clutching a good-sized fish in its talons. As he watched, he said a bald eagle -- also rarely seen in the Shaver Lake area -- came out of the sky behind the osprey and attacked it for its catch. The eagle's white head and neck was clearly visible, he said. In the airborne melee, the osprey dropped the fish.

"I watched the fish fall, and it seemed to tumble slowly," Art recalls. Then, with a plop, it landed on the beach, within a few dozen feet of the rather astonished fisherman. The fish was still alive and wiggling a bit when Art picked it up to claim it as his.

"It was the best fish I caught all weekend," he said.

He swears it is true.

Jay Thorwaldson - May 27, 1997

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