The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Volume 1, Issue 6 November 2007

Trout Lines
Message From President, Mike Beachy
In the words of a Bob Dylan song “the times are a changing” and so it goes for the Little Elkhart Chapter of T.U. During the course of this past year our T.U. Chapter has begun to define ourselves. What are our objectives and how can we achieve our goals have been the focus of many discussions and frustrations. In this issue of Trout Lines I wish to bring our chapter members up to speed on our projects, give you an idea of what we have been working on and possibly stir up some volunteers. One major accomplishment has been this newsletter. It has allowed our organization to communicate with our widely scattered membership. My thanks go out to our Communication Chairman, Chris Miller who has put in hours of work producing and distributing this publication. Chris is still working out the bugs in the system and fighting the cost of mailing the newsletter to those with no e-mail address. The more newsletters we can send out electronically the more control we have over printing and postage costs. If you have an e-mail address yet receive this newsletter by way of the U.S. Postal Service, please register your e-mail with T.U. Go to the T.U. web site and update your personal information to include your email address. Presently costs incurred through printing and mailing of this newsletter is by far our greatest overhead expense. This money could be utilized in other more effective ways. I wish to invite the membership to submit articles to be included in this publication. Have you been trout fishing lately? If so send us a fishing report. Do you have a spe-

Inside this issue:
Presidents Message Safety Warning Fence Stile Crossing Project Willow Creek Project 1

would be welcome.
Photographs always make a story or article more interesting. At the Little Elkhart Chapter’s October meeting a bylaw was passed to more closely follow the photographic guidelines used by Trout Unlimited Magazine in our newsletter. The bylaw reads as follows: It



shall be the policy of the Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited to publish only images that portray responsible fishing practices. Fish photos shall be limited to trout and salmon that could be returned to the water alive, with a reasonable expectation of survival.
Trout Lines will accept photographs for publication provided that they fall under the guidelines outlined above. Some photos in the past have fallen outside these guidelines. In the spirit of conservation we are attempting to improve. Michael Beachy Little Elkhart Chapter President

Hot Fly


Brown Trout Stocking


Stream Improvement Project Advertisements



cial fly that has brought you success? Send us a recipe and photo to share with others. Any story focusing on trout and salmon that you feel is interesting

Special points of interest:
• Presidents Message • Hot Fly for the Lil’ Elkhart • New Officer Elections

December Meeting Guest Speaker
Guest speaker David Arrington Ph.D. Dave is Senior Wildlife Ecologist and President of LGL Natural Resources Associates. LGL Natural Resources has been contracted through LaGrange County Soil and Water Conservation District to formulate and implement a Watershed Management Plan for the Little Elkhart River drainage system. Dave’s study and focus is on water quality. He and his team are now to the implementation stage of “best management practices” in an effort to protect the river from contaminates. Dave’s work fits with our chapter’s efforts. Water quality improvement is essential to providing trout survival and habitat

• Chris Miller’s Last Newsletter - Wahoo!

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Fence Stile Crossing Project
The fence stile-crossing project is off and running however it still has a long way to go. Stile crossings are very convenient for fishermen needing to cross a barbwire fence while decked out in waders. Farmers appreciate the stile crossings as well because it prevents stretching of fence wire and eliminates their fear of a gate being accidentally left open. Each stile is stenciled with the wording PROVIDED BY LITTLE ELKHART TROUT UNLIMITED, which promotes our organization to each fisherman using it. Our thanks go out to Bob Roth for the stile design and fabrication and to Ace Hardware of Middlebury for donating the lumber and hardware. Stiles are still available for placement. If you know of a place that could use a fence crossing please consult the property owner and see if he would be open to the idea then let Mike Beachy know where the spot is located. We will do our best to construct a crossing where our members would like to have one. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

Little Elkhart Chapter Involved in Willow Creek Project
Chapter members Mike Beachy and Mike Gibbs volunteered to assist St. Joe River Valley Fly Fishers in an initial clean up project on Willow Creek in eastern St. Joseph County. Willow Creek is a small tributary to the St. Joe River yet has suitable water temperature and habitat to support brown trout. SJRVFF is entering into a 100-year lease agreement with A.E.P. Power Company for exclusive fishing rights on several miles of the creek owned by A.E.P. The club will be granted fishing privileges in exchange for stream restoration, improvements and maintenance. The initial clean up project included rearrangement of logjams and general trash removal. Logjams were cut open and the debris was placed along the banks to enhance habitat and prevent bank erosion. Beachy and Gibbs work on a crew with John Law, co-chairman of SJRVFF’s conservation committee. John is very experienced in this type of stream work and was willing to share his knowledge. A clean up similar to this project is being planned for the Little Elkhart River this spring.

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Hot Fly For The Little Elkhart—Mike’s Maggot by Mike Gibbs
When asked at our last T.U. meeting to come up with this issues fly, I went into a panic of wide-eyed wonderment of which possible pattern could I teach. After all, everyone knows the wrapping of the wooly-bugger,the laymanship of the egg sucking leach, the ease of the egg pattern, and various other well known popular patterns. So, again, what should I share? The answer came a week or so ago. I was out doing some steelheading with (heaven forbid) my spinning rod. It was a spur of the moment trip after work as the wife had other plans. Arriving at the stream, I realized, in my haste to peace and tranquility, I forgot to pick up some wax worms, a favorite tipping to flies. After throwing several usual patterns to no avail, I scoured my fly box and spied an old personal tried and true personal favorite. "Mike's Maggot" A few casts later, a hit. No fish, but, a hit at least. I picked up several more hits, but, no hook-ups. As I made my way home, I knew what I would choose to pass along. "Mike's Maggot", was something I came up with after a brief chastising for "CHEATING" by my friend Jim Phillips. He had just conveyed his opinion on the spin fishing thing for steelhead versus the "right and only proper -fly rod method" And that even though I was drift fishing FLIES with my rod, it wasn't the same. And that "tipping" my fly with wax worms was wrong in that it defeated the purpose of using a fiy due to the baiting of the hook. After I retreated from the telephone, I realized he had a point, Not about the rod of choice, but about the fly issue. That got my ire up like an Irishman at an English Ball. How could I possibly give up using wax worms? They have been a staple in my success for years. And not just steelhead, but, rainbows, browns, bluegills, large mouths, walleye... When I finally came to my senses, I realized there was only one thing left to do. Since suicide is to messy, and there are too many fish I wish to catch, I better come up with a fly pattern replacement. Searching book after book to no avail, Dr. Frankenstein decided to go to work and create one himself. After several unsuccessful attempts, "life" was given to the form in my fingers, and my uprising inside stilled to a quiet calm. I had transformed material to maggot form. This fly can be weighted to a variety of weights, depending on how deep you want to go. Mike Gibbs

Hook: 10 - 12 (long or short shank, depending on the size you want) Thread: Dark or Light Brown (Golden Tan works well) Weight: .10 - .15 (weighted to preference) Ribbing: Fine Copper/Gold Wire Body: Cream/White dubbing (cotton like) Head: Brown thread built up (dubbing may be substituted for larger ties

Volume 1, Issue 6

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Brown Trout Jumpstart Stocking Project
Brown Trout Jumpstart Stocking Project The Little Elkhart Chapter is looking into raising money to purchase hatchery brown trout and stock the catch and release section with 8 to 10 inch fish. The number of trout for stocking will be dependent on the money available. Essentially what we want to do is jumpstart the brown trout population. Recently all of the Little Elkhart River’s brown trout come from the Elkhart Conservation Club. The ECC purchases eggs and hatches them in their private cold water hatchery. The trout are released as small fry. Unfortunately natural attrition is high on these small trout yet some do survive and grow to be nice sized trout. We are very appreciative of the Elkhart Conservation Club’s efforts and wish for those stockings to continue. Historically the state of Indiana stocked brown trout of a larger size. In those “days of old” fishermen realized a better brown trout fishery with bigger brown trout reported. The conditions of the Little Elkhart River are adequate for brown trout survival. The catch and release regulations will protect the brown trout population from harvest. We want to jumpstart the process by once again stocking larger browns. Initially we consider this to be a one-time event and then to evaluate the project’s success. Future stockings may be needed to maintain an optimal population however that is not in the plans at this point. The project is presently stalled with the Indiana DNR. A stocking permit is required before we can go ahead with any such stocking of brown trout. They want to determine if this project has merit and if the water can support more trout. We are continuing to work with the DNR and eagerly await the Departments evaluation

Little Elkhart River Fishing Guide Project
The Little Elkhart Chapter is presently working on a “Guide to Trout Fishing the Little Elkhart River”. We realize that the majority of our chapter members do not live conveniently close to the Little Elkhart River and may not be familiar with it. We want our members to have a favorable experience while exploring our home waters. The guide will provide the unfamiliar fisherman with vital information when making the trek to Elkhart and LaGrange Counties to try out the Little Elkhart River. We intend to have a map of the river including near by county roads and directions to access sites. The guide will also include a short description about the river at each access so a first timer can plan out an outing with some sort of direction. There are several public fishing areas such as city or county parks. The city of Middlebury owns a large section of the catch and release waters and these areas are open to fishermen without permission however the majority of the Little Elkhart River flows through private property. We realize that by popularizing this river we run the risk of elevating problems between fishermen and the property owners. We plan to continue to work closely with the property owners to maintain as much open trout fishing along the river as possible. Fishermen play a large role in these potential conflicts. We ask that you be good stewards of our sport and respect the properties along the river, it can go a long way towards good property owner-fisherman relations. Please be mindful that while fishing most of the Little Elkhart River you are the “guest” of the owner who is permitting you to fish on their land. Under Indiana law the water is owned by the state however the ground under the water belongs to the property owner. Asking for permission to fish is always a good idea prior to entering the stream

November Meeting Minutes
Members nominated chapter officers for the year 2008 at the November meeting of the Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The election will be held at our December meeting, with new terms beginning in January, 2008. The nominees: President: Mike Beachy (incumbent) V P: Leonard Gustin (incumbent) Secretary: Lee Troyer Treasurer: Chris Miller Conservation Chair: Mike Beachy Communication Chair: Brandon Rasler Note: Members can nominate a different candidate for any office prior to the vote at our December meeting. -- President Mike Beachy reported environmental consultant Dave Arrington will present an update on The Little Elkhart Watershed Management Plan at our next meeting. This issue is key to our future trout fishing, and members are encouraged to attend. -- Members Brandon Rasler and Jim Phillips said work on a LECTU guide to trout fishing on the Little Elkhart River was near completion. -- Member Jim Phillips was directed to pursue further negotiations with the state for permission to stock eight-toten inch brown trout this spring in the lower catch-and-release section of the Little Elkhart. Our initial request was denied.

Volume 1, Issue 6

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Stream Habitat Improvement Project
The habitat improvement project has been stalled for quite some time. We have attempted to get assistance from several different sources however each time it looks like we are making headway it never seems to materialize. need to be reviewed and accepted by the DNR, Indiana Department of Environmental Management and sometimes the Army Corp of Engineers prior to issuing of specialized permits. Grant monies need to be applied for and accepted for any matching funding. This all takes time and expertise. If all goes as planned the Little Elkhart Chapter could very well have a permitted project for the Little Elkhart River in the near future. There are a lot of hoops to jump through but it looks like we are finally on the right track. There are some improvements that can be done without permits and those are areas we are working on for clarification. At the very least we will be doing some river clean up of logjams this spring and summer. In order for these types of projects to be successful we will need volunteers- lots of volunteers. We will need manpower to accomplish the needed result and your assistance will be welcomed

Recently we have joined forces with the St. Joe River Valley Fly Fishers club based out of Mishawaka. They have expressed interest in helping us out. Their conservation committee has experience in this area and has a good reputation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Stream habitat improvement projects require careful planning which

An example of a river section in need of cleaning out to improve flow and stop erosion.

Members in Action

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The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Mission Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.

The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited 13777 C.R. 8 Middlebury, IN 46540 Phone: 574-825-4467 Email:

Next Meeting Dec. 12th
Mark your calendars:

December 12th next Little Elkhart meeting

Meeting Notice
The Little Elkhart Chapter Meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7:00 P.M. at the Middlebury Public Library