strange fishing encounters

Fly Fishing with Harry, the Osprey-Mike Siena

I don't know what compelled me to return to that river after getting skunked 3 days in a row, but I do know that I prefer to be in the woods than lazing around at home. On my way to the river I was thinking back to the past couple days. I had not gotten a hit, nor had I even seen a fish. But there was one thing that stuck out. Harry.

That is the name I picked out for the osprey who so boldly claimed this river as his own. Each day I fished I saw Harry. And each day he would fly downstream and returned with a fish in his talons. As I strung up my rod and walked to my spot, I wondered if I would see Harry again today. A half hour into my fishing I did. He came, as he did everyday, from upstream and continued past me. I remembered how each day he had returned with a fish, and that's when it occurred to me. When fishing Harry's river, do as Harry does. And so I set out to find this fish supply that Harry had already tapped into.

Being mid July, the river was very low waist level at most. I began to move right down the middle of the river, checking behind large rocks and looking for feeder creeks that bring in colder water. After moving down river about a half mile I heard Harry's cry, and he flew over head, trout in hand. I was getting close. In another quarter mile I found what I was looking for. I came up slowly around a large boulder and couldn't believe what I saw. I had found the mother load---30 plus trout were holding in the shade of this gigantic pebble.

Being a noob at fly fishing (I took a class only one month ago) I was still iffy when it came to fly selection, so I went with a generic size 14 adams parachute. Being able to see the fish from my vantage point I watched as a few rose to the fly but stopped just as they were about to take it. With the water low and clear I diagnosed the problem to be my tippet. I swtiched from a 5x tippet to a measly 7x. On my first cast with the 7x tippet a 14 inch rainbow nailed the fly. I played him carefully and brought him to the net. This was my first fish on a dry fly, and my first fish on the stringer. I was able to to bring 1 other fish to the net on a self tied san juan worm, a major achievement for me at the time.

At about 4 o'clock there was a minor hatch of light cahills and I land 4 more on a #16 CDC cahill pattern. An hour later I met a man named Jim with whom I fished and exchanged stories with. From watching me cast and catch fish he guessed me to have been fly fishing for 5 years, and was rather surprised to learn it had been less than a month. As darkness set in I moved myself and my stringer full of fish out of the water and I sat.  I Simply sat on the bank of the river and watched the gentle rise of the fish, content with myself and with nature. I brought home a stringer of five fish and a memory of a day that would forver seal my obsessive love of fly fishing, and I have Harry to thank for it all...

-Mike Siena