The annual Chapter Trip to Penns Creek took place from May 19th to 22nd at the Lykens Valley Camp near Poe Paddy State Park. This year's participants were Dick McKinny, Rich and Jason Terry, Mike Mulray, Dennis O'Gara, Al Kahoun and Mike Wilson. Ralph Herbst ( former Chapter member ) made a quest appearance.
Over the years our annual trip to Penns Creek has been a study in contrasts. The weather can vary from cold and rainy to clear and sunny, with the creek reflecting the weather conditions. This year was our year for rain. Oh man did it rain. It rained ( a lot ) before we got there, and it rained most of the time we were there. Penns Creek was the highest I've experienced in the 10 years I've been making the trip. It was 5 feet above normal and really muddy on Thursday / Friday, and totally unfishable. By Sunday morning it had come down quite a bit, but was still very muddy.
Fortunately we stopped at the Feathered Hook Friday morning, and the owner - Jonas Price directed us to the Little Juniata River. It was high, but fishable. We fished the Little J both Friday evening and Saturday evening with varying degrees of success. The fish were more active on top Friday, and pretty much everyone caught a couple on dry flies. Fewer fish showed on Saturday, but we managed to get a few, with a couple of nice 15" - 16" browns recorded.
One highlight of the trip was dinner Saturday at the Spruce Creek Tavern in the town of Spruce Creek ( located at the junction of Spruce Creek and the Little J ). Jonas had suggested we get the fries - the servings are large. We ordered the tray of fries ($ 4.50) for the 3 of us ( Dick, Al and me ). They brought us a serving tray piled high with fries. We couldn't come close to eating them all. You could probably feed 6 people and still have a couple left over. If you ever get to Spruce Creek - try the fries at the Tavern. FYI there was a larger order that the tray, which was $ 6.50 - I have no idea how big that order would be, but you'd need an army to eat them.
While the fishing was spotty, we got to spend more time hanging out at the camp. As a result, there was a higher than normal number of 'fishing yarns" being spun. Memories from previous Penns Creek trips mingled with stories from Chapter trips out West, to form a steady stream of fish stories and boldfaced lies. Good cheer and belly laughs were the order of the day. I think everyone will agree that while the fishing didn't live up to our expectations, the trip is one that we'll remember fondly for years to come.
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