The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Trout Lines
Some rainbows will however survive. This year alone our members have reported more hold over rainbows being taken then in years past. I attribute this to two factors. Primarily we now have catch and release. This provides protection for these rainbows and at least gives them a better chance of survival then the frying pan. The other factor is last year we were blessed with a lot of high water providing deeper cooler holding areas required for rainbow trout survival. The brown trout fishing this season has been stellar. Brown trout are much more tolerant of the warm low water of the summer. The Elkhart Conservation Club has stepped up their brown trout stocking program in the catch and release area and it is beginning to show. That coupled with the fact that our chapter stocked 500 eight to ten inch browns, has made brown trout fishing really good.

President’s Message
It was a mid-June morning and the sun was just starting to create a warm glow on the eastern horizon. I found myself launching my boat on a nearby lake in search of walleye. Walleye, what the heck am I thinking! As I climbed into my boat and picked up a spinning rod I realized that I had not held a spinning rod in my hand for over a month. The entire month of May I did nothing but fly fish for trout. I opened my bail and grit my teeth. I should be trout fishing. It was a perfect morning to be wading the Little Elkhart in pursuit of left over stocked rainbows and resident browns. I was beginning to regret my decision to go walleye fishing. This May proved to be a very good month to fly fish for trout. This is the second year for catch and release protected trout fishing on the Little Elkhart River and it has proven to be a wonderful asset. The early season rainbow trout fishery held up extremely well. The Indiana DNR stocks nearly 600 rainbow trout at the head of the catch and release section. In years past those trout would make a mad dash downstream and within several weeks the rainbows would be evenly distributed though out the river. Not so this year. We were blest with high water levels and cool night temperatures that seemed to cause these rainbow trout to hold in the upper section. This was great news. It greatly extended the rainbow trout season. Later in the summer as water temperatures begin to rise and water levels drop we unfortunately will see our rainbow trout population migrate in search of cooler places. The bad news is many will never find cool enough water and will most likely perish. Volume 2, Issue 3 - Summer, 2008

Inside This Issue: Volume 2, Issue 3 Summer 2008
Presidents Message............... 1 Warning to C&R fishermen ... 2 Report Your Success In the Catch and Release Section ... 2 Fly of the Month From Mike Beechy............................ 3 Volunteers Needed................. 4 Spring Outing ......................... 5 June Warm Water Rainbows ..................... 6 April - May Trout Tally............ 7 Meeting Minutes.................................... 8 Little Elkhart Officers Directory ................... 9

You can tell the difference between the brown trout that were stocked by the Conservation Club and those placed by LECTU by the fin clipping. Our brown trout have a right pectoral fin clipped where the Conservation Club browns do not. Presently many unclipped browns are being caught and released in the lower sections of the catch and release water signifying the brown trout population is holding up well.

These scrappy browns are a blast to catch on a dry fly during an evening hatch or a soft hackle fished just under the surface. They seem willing to take a fly and for their size fight amazingly hard. Next spring you need to reserve the month of May for trout fishing. We are striving to produce a year round trout fishery but this past May has proven to be a month that is going to be hard to beat!

Michael L Beachy President LECTU Page1

Warning to Catch and Release Fishermen By Mike Beachy
The summer months are upon us and with it warm water temperatures. Catching and releasing trout when the water temperature is 74 degrees or higher can prove fatal to trout. The trout have a hard time recovering from a battle in water temperatures that are too warm. I would suggest a voluntary moratorium on trout fishing any water that is in the mid 70’s due to fish mortality. Keys to successful catch and release: a) Do not over play a fish to exhaustion. Get them in as quick as possible and get them back into the water b) Always wet your hands prior to handling a fish. This will reduce the damage to the trout’s protective slime layer. Better yet never touch the fish. Slide your hand down the line to the fly and unhook it. c) Keep the fish in the water as long as possible. Unhook the trout while it remains in the net in the water. d) Turn the trout upside down. If you have to handle a fish turn it upside down. This will disorient the trout and it will temporarily hold still and not flop around. It also eliminates the need to squeeze the fish. e) Pinch the barbs down on your hooks. You may loose some fish but it speeds up unhooking and reduces the chance of damaging the fish’s mouth. f) If a fish takes your fly deep cut the tippet as close to the fly as possible and get it back into the water as quick as possible. Do not tear a fish apart in an attempt to recover your fly g) Face the trout into the current free from sediments to revive a fish if necessary. Silt in a trout’s gills will decrease its ability to take in needed oxygen. Release the fish gently back into the river. Do not toss it.

Sandy Troyer

Don Fiwek

Report Fishing Success on Catch and Release Section:
We need detailed reports from you on your success or failure this year on the catch-and-release section of the Little Elkhart River. This information is essential for our reports to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The data allows the IDNR to assess the continued viability of the program. The Little Elkhart River is only one of three streams with designated stretches of catch-and-release fishing. We need the following information from you for each outing this season: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Date of outing. Number of hours fished. Number of rainbows caught and released Number of brown trout caught and released. Number of brown trout with a clipped right pectoral fin. Fishing satisfaction: (poor, okay, completely satisfied).

Please send your response by e-mail to Jim Phillips at Volume 2, Issue 3 - Summer, 2008 Page2

Fly of the Month Soft Hackle Beachy’s Version
Hook: TMC #2488 size 14
(Straight eye scud hook)

down and around part of the hook curve. This gives the fly a buggy look. Most nymphs that are drifting usually ball up slightly and are not laying flat. Over the thread cone wrap a coating of body material. You can use what ever turns you on. Leonard Gustin likes to use colored floss in yellow or orange. I prefer a bit of sparkle so I opt for a combination of Superfine Dry Fly Dubbing with a twist of Ice Dubbing over the top. Wrap it in a cone shape up to the back of the bead. Tie it off with a couple of half hitches to secure the body then jump the thread over the bead to the front.

Thread: 8/0 dark brown Body: dubbing of choice Bead: 3/32 copper Hackle: partridge flank During the early season I discovered brown trout feeding on surface insects. The soft hackle has proven to be very effective at catching these browns. The trout were focused on the surface and looking upward for their food source. The soft hackle fly imitates a hatching nymph or pupa moving along with the current just under the surface scum layer. Instructions: Start by sliding a 3/32 copper (nontungsten) bead on to a #14 caddis/scud hook. Mount in vise. Secure the bead on the shank by wrapping a thread “football” just thick enough to wedge the bead over.

It is tricky at first. You only need to go around the shank once or twice with the hackle feather. Tie off and trim stem. Glue with head cement. It is easy to over do the hackle wraps thinking more is better however these hackles represent the legs of the emerging pupa. When wet and moving the hackle fibers will fold back over the bead. Too many hackles will hide the body and make the fly look like a cocoon. You want your hackles to be somewhat sparse.

Next prepare the partridge flank feather. Cut or tear off the fuzzy base hackle fibers from the stem of the feather. Then cut off the tip of the feather leaving a small triangle at the tip to tie onto the shank. You only need a ¼ inch section of hackle fibers remaining on the stem. Then anchor the small tip of the hackle feather to the shank in front of the bead.

Wrap the thread in front and in back of the bead crossing over the bead with the thread. You want to place the bead just far enough back from the eye to allow the wrapping of the hackle feather later on. Grab the base of the stem of the hackle feather with a pair of hackle pliers and lift it straight above the fly. Lick your finger and thumb of the other hand and fold both sides of the hackle fibers straight back towards the tail of the fly. Wrap the hackle feather stem around the shank of the hook while at the same time holding the hackle fibers back with the other hand.

I personally use a small copper bead on my soft hackle to assist the fly at breaking through the surface layer and not floating on the surface until it is pulled under. What I particularly like about a soft hackle is how you fish it. It is so simple. You cast it to the bank and allow the current to sweep the fly out and away. You want your fly line to drag in the current. When your line is straight in the current you simply pick it up and do it again. You do not have to worry about getting a drag free drift or mending your line to correct for the current. You do not have to worry about underwater snags since the fly is only an inch or two under the surface. You can fish this fly right over submerged trees without fear of snagging. The takes are dramatic rod jerking slams. There is no doubt about the strike.

Next wrap thread in a cone shaped under body from the back of the bead Volume 2, Issue 3 - Summer, 2008


Volunteers Needed for River Work
The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been given the responsibility of cleaning out a one-mile section of the Rowe Eden Ditch. This project was originally ear marked as a de-brushing project according to the Elkhart County Drainage Board. Plans were to clear cut all trees 20 feet back from the waters edge and remove all woody debris from the stream. This type of de-brushing project comes as a precursor to stream bed dredging. The property owners residing along the ditch initiated this project and petitioned the drainage board. Apparently they have been experiencing flooding issues during high water events. The section of ditch requiring cleaning out runs from County Road 18 to the confluence of the Little Elkhart River. The Rowe Eden passes under County Road 43 and State Road 20 in this project site. This ditch is a legal drain under the jurisdiction of the Elkhart County Drainage Board. The Little Elkhart River is not a legal drain. The name Rowe Eden “Ditch” is a misnomer. This is a cold water trout stream and home to many brown trout. It connects to the Little Elkhart River in the catch and release section and is the major contributor of cold water to the Little Elkhart in this section of river. The Little Elkhart Chapter was opposed to this project as originally planned due to loss of trout habitat in the streambed and the warming effect eliminating bank side shade trees would have on the stream. We did not however stand in opposition to the project since we did not want to oppose the property owners who grant us permission to fish along its banks. The Indiana DNR came forward and stopped the project as written. The reasons were due to required permits not being granted for such a project and the future dredging would be a state court battle since the Rowe Eden Ditch is one of six stocked trout streams in Indiana. The DNR Division of Fisheries would never willingly grant the dredging rights for such a stream without a court battle. As a result the project was rewritten to one of logjam removal by rearrangement, not removal, and general cleaning of the streambed and banks to increase drainage and water flow and prevention of future logjams in a trout friendly manner. The newly written project was granted to the Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited. LECTU volunteered its services to help out the property owners, the County and to preserve our interest in the stream. This type of project requires no special permitting form the DNR or the Army Corps of Engineers. Recently our efforts have been delayed due to the Elkhart County Drainage Boards concern of liability issues and monies we have requested to do the project. Originally the board planned on spending upwards of $16,000 for the de-brushing phase of this project. We have asked for less than $5000 to assist us in purchasing equipment necessary to do this project and to equip our chapter with the needed equipment for future conservation projects. At this point we are scheduling “workdays”. We need your help in manpower. In the event that the Rowe Eden Project is put on hold we will tackle other areas of the Little Elkhart River. We have plenty to do. We need to open some logjams along the Little Elkhart by removing debris restrictions and accelerating the flow. This will make the river more fishable and increase the oxygen content. Restricted water is slow water and it is easily warmed. General trash removal also needs to be addressed. We require your help. The more volunteers the better. Friends are welcome. Volunteers should expect to work in the water. You will need waders (I recommend an old pair), work gloves and bug spray. Presently the chapter does not have any equipment for volunteers. An old garden rake or hoe is a good instrument to pull out old sticks from logjams so bring one with you if you have one. I also recommend that you pack a lunch and drink depending on how long you plan to stay. Plans are to meet at Riverbend Park just east of Middlebury at 8:00 am. We will leave for the work site from there. Weather permitting. If it is going to be a for sure rainout we will not work otherwise we will. Workdays are Saturday July 12, July 26, August 9 and August 23. Please plan to attend as many workdays as possible. Thank you in advance. Mike Beachy Chairman; Conservation Committee Volume 2, Issue 3 - Summer, 2008 Page4

Little Elkhart Chapter Spring Outing
On May 10 the Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited hosted it’s third annual spring outing at Riverbend Park in Middlebury on the banks of the Little Elkhart River. This years outing was well attended. Many of our chapter’s members took advantage of the scheduled activities. Chris Miller did a great job, taking members around on the stream access tours. Chris was able to show off the access sites and explain a little about the river in the process. Members were able to get a good idea of where to fish and what to expect at each access site. Mike Beachy took several members out for some hands on fly fishing demonstrations. Don Waldrop of Goshen and Patrick Ilada of Warsaw where successful at landing trout during the morning exercise. In the after lunch session a group was taken streamside and explained how to probe logjams utilizing a streamer and the “dangle technique”.

Don Waldrop showing off his catch

Lynn Roose providing instruction

Lynn Roose judged a fly casting competition on the park’s duck pond. Lynn’s three ring casting targets and limitations of back casting challenged participants. She then gave casting instructions to those wanting to fine tune their skills. Thank you to Lynn for sharing your expertise. Lee Troyer was confined to a fly tying demonstration table due to a broken ankle he suffered on opening day of trout season. It turned out to be a good addition to the outing. He gave tips on how to tie flies suitable for use in the Little Elkhart River and was surrounded most of the morning by interested onlookers. A bratwurst lunch was served around noon followed by a “pick of the table” raffle. The raffle netted the club over $300 and many of the attendees went home with some quality prizes. We wish to thank all those who donated so generously to the chapter’s brown trout stocking program through the Adopt-A-Trout raffle. Special thanks go to Bill and Penny Myers who ran the signup and information desk, collected money and gave out general information. The Myers team was a great asset serving as greeters to the attendees and helping to organize the event.

TU Members waiting for their numbers to be called during the raffle

Over all, the outing was a great success. Members from outside the immediate area were able to take away a lot of good information about the Little Elkhart River and about our chapter. Our mission was to stir up interest in our home river and that was accomplished. I hope that all those who attended left with a feeling of being connected to the chapter and the Little Elkhart River. We are still learning about how to run an outing. Plans for 2009 are already in the works. We should be more efficient with our instructions and better organized. We hope to see all those who attended again next year. If you were unable to make the outing this year, please plan to attend next year. Generally our outing is held the first or second Saturday in May.

Volume 2, Issue 3 – Summer, 2008


June Heat Can Prove Detrimental to Rainbows By Mike Beachy
June greeted northern Indiana with several weeks of higher than normal temperatures. Daytime temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s and warm nights combined for a spike in water temperatures along the Little Elkhart River. The Little Elkhart had water temperatures in the low to mid 60’s during the month of May however June water temperatures were in the 70’s. Rainbow trout can stand these water temperatures for a short period but several weeks of mid 70’s water can prove fatal to rainbows unless they have plenty of oxygen and shaded deep holes. The high water temperatures have caused the state-stocked rainbows to vacate the extreme upper sections of the catch and release waters. I assume that these rainbows have gone in search of cooler more suitable water downstream. Near the midpoint of the catch and release section the Rowe Eden Ditch enters the Little Elkhart River. It generally runs several degrees cooler then the Little Elkhart and provides a needed cooling effect for the Little Elkhart downstream. Water farther downstream is further influenced by springs and runs cooler yet. Fortunately these high June temperatures did come with unstable weather conditions that resulted in high precipitation. The water levels have remained higher then normal. That could be the saving grace for these rainbows. Provided that these fish can find sanctuary in deep shaded holes they may have a chance of surviving this unusually early heat wave.

Patrick Ilada with a Little Elkhart Rainbow

I would not be surprised to find new populations of rainbows showing up in sections of the river downstream from Middlebury that classically are cleaned out by catch and keep fishermen during the first couple weekends of the season. Rainbows seem to migrate up and down the river in search of suitable habitat. By taking the water temperature reading prior to fishing and looking for the coldest water, might be the best way to find these wondering rainbow trout populations.

Volume 2, Issue 3 – Summer, 2008


TROUT TALLY By Jim Phillips
Trout fishing continues to improve along the Little Elkhart River catch-and-release section, with significantly more trout this year brought to net than during the same April-May time period in 2007. The total number of trout taken from Opening Day (the last Saturday in April) through May 31 can be seen in the following graph:

April-May Catch
500 400 Trout 300 200 100 0 2007 2008

A total of 197 trout were taken in 2007. This jumped to 432 in 2008 – a 119 percent increase. (These figures must be regarded as minimal, since not everyone who fished along the catch-and-release section reported their catch.) By species, it worked out this way: RAINBOWS: Anglers reported netting and releasing 185 rainbows in 2007 and 278 in 2008 – a 50 percent increase. BROWNS: Anglers reported bringing to net and releasing 12 browns in 2007 and 49 non-fin-clipped browns in 2008 – a 310 percent increase. The latter total is exclusive of the 500 fin-clipped browns we stocked this spring. If we add the 105 fin-clipped browns taken by anglers, the total brown trout catch jumps to 154 – a 1,183 percent increase. (Our fin-clipped browns totaled 24 percent of the overall catch and 68 percent of the brown trout catch.) Thus, we find that during the 2007 April-May time period rainbows accounted for 94 percent of the catch, while browns totaled only 6 percent. In 2008 the percentage of rainbows declined to 64 percent, with browns (including fin-clipped fish) increasing to 34 percent. Anglers reported fishing a total of 135.5 hours, resulting in an average catch rate of 3.2 trout per hour.

Volume 2, Issue 3 – Summer, 2008


June Meeting Minutes June 11, 2008
Mike Beachy brought the meeting to order. Meeting Minutes There was one correction to the May meeting minutes. They were approved as corrected. Fishing Reports Jim Phillips presented statistics on fishing success in the catch and release section. There is a marked increase in the number of trout brought to net this year compared to the same time period last year. The catch rate this year is 3.2 trout per hour. Brown trout have made up a larger percentage of the total catch than last year. This is partly due to the brown trout that the Little Elkhart Chapter released this year. However, hold-over browns (no fin clip) also increased this year over last year. Fund Raising Mike Beachy reported that we received a donation of a fly rod and reel combo from LL Bean. We also received an Orvis 9’ 6 wt. Zero Gravity rod blank through TU, which Mike has built into a finished rod. We will be able to use these items for future raffles. Communications Brandon Rasler will be sending out the next newsletter by the end of June. Mike Beachy will include a soft hackle fly for the Feature Fly section. If anyone has photos that they would like to be included, please send them to Brandon. Web site – Brandon Rasler reported that the domain name is still available. He also reported that the cost of registration and hosting of our own web site would be $153.84 total for three years through The site comes with 10 gig of space. Mike made a motion that we go ahead with the web site. Leonard Gustin seconded the motion. The motion carried. Brandon will be responsible for the site. It was felt that we will be able to cross link with NEITA and Southern Indiana TU on their sites. Catch and Release Signage Mike Beachy stated that we have grant money for signs denoting the Catch and Release section. Tom Taylor volunteered to investigate the making of the signs. LECTU Logo and TU Apparel Andy Kitson, owner of Imagemill reviewed the process for coming up with a logo for the club and also the various options for putting the logo on apparel. He stated that caps sell the quickest. Fleece also sells good, however, there are shirts and other articles available as well. His company will design the logo and digitize it free of charge. His staff will come up with several logo designs and present at the next meeting. Conservation Rowe Eden Ditch project – Mike Beachy submitted a list of equipment to the County Surveyor to be used for the Rowe Eden project. The equipment totaled approximately $4,500. It is hoped that if this equipment is approved, we will be able to retain this equipment for ongoing projects. The County Surveyor will need to take this request to the County Drainage Board on Tuesday. Mike has already purchased an Echo brush cutter and donated it to the club. A big thanks to Mike. Mike also brought up several dates as possible work days, but no final decision was made. Mike will discuss possible dates with Chris Miller and then finalize the work dates. The Little Elkhart also needs some trash cleanup. The fence on the Schwartz property has a lot of trash in it that needs to be cleaned. This was cleanup up last year but it looks like this will be an ongoing challenge. Old Business Wayne Andrews spoke with Lowell Miller about parking at the Middlebury well field. Lowell stated that parking is not allowed there for security reasons; however, we can still walk along the stream in that area. Parking is available on Spring Street in the cul-de-sac. Next Meeting – July 9, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Middlebury Library Lee Troyer – Secretary

There were a total of 50 rainbows tail punched when they were initially caught. Only one has been caught a second time. The water temperature at the CR 43 Bridge was 70 degrees. It was 68 degrees at Riverbend Park and 67 degrees at CR 35. Treasurer’s Report There was no Treasurer’s report.

Volume 2, Issue 3 - Summer, 2008


Little Elkhart Chapter Officers Directory
President ............................ Michael Beachy.......... ................................574-534-1123 V. President........................ Leonard Gustin........... ..................260-463-5020 Secretary............................ Lee Troyer.................. .........................574-875-5432 Treasurer............................ Chris Miller ................. .......................574-825-4467 Newsletter Editor ................ Brandon Rasler .......... ..............................574-333-3349

Little Elkhart River and Rowe Eden Ditch junction

The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited 13777 C.R. 8 Middlebury, IN 46540 Editor Email:

Meeting Notice
Second Wednesday of every Month at the Middlebury Public Library Next Meeting: Wednesday, July 9 7:00 P.M.
Volume 2, Issue 3 - Summer, 2008 Page9