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Over the weekend of October 11, the Roanoke/New River Valley program of PHWFF held their first overnight outing since the beginning of Covid-19, and this one was for the ladies only.

The women participants enjoyed two days and nights at the Knapp’s Creek Trout Lodge in Marlinton, West Virginia. Before the pandemic, the program would have bi-annual trips to the lodge; one in the spring for the women, and one in the fall for the gentlemen participants. The men will get their chance in a couple weeks to enjoy the lodge and get some fly fishing in.

Knapp’s Creek Trout Lodge is like our “home away from home.” Our hosts, Anne and Mark, always make us feel so welcome and comfortable. The meals are always incredible and the stream is just steps away from the lodge!

Roanoke Volunteer Kathy Mueller

Roanoke volunteer Kathy Mueller said that it was so good to see their friends and hosts, Anne and Mark again after the long separation.

“Unfortunately, with the lack of rain the water level was a bit challenging,” Mueller said. “However, we were still able to bring plenty of nice sized rainbows into our nets.”

Mueller said that the highlight’s of the ladies’ trips always involves participant Seyward McKinney’s excitement when she feels the tug of the fish on the end of her line. McKinney suffered a stroke in 2009, and left her without mobility in her right arm. McKinney uses the evergreen hand to help her with her fly-tying, and there is also a special reel designed for fishing with one hand. The reel is the Franco Vivarelli reel featured in this short film. It’s a semi-automatic hand-crank reel system, meaning that with one-hand an angler can control the rod and the retrieval of line using its clutch system. McKinney, however, prefers to use her own rod and reel set up.

“Each fish the ladies catch is always a celebration!” Mueller exclaimed.

Two of the women participants were able to experience bass fishing on the Greenbrier river with guide and host, Anne. According to the story, a nice sized bass was hooked, but got away!

Mueller would like to thank Anne Mitchell and Mark Hengemihle, co-owners of the lodge and the hosts for the ladies’ weekend.

“We always leave Knapp’s creek with dreams of returning next year,” Mueller said.

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