Trout Lines

President’s Message
I have been fishing for Little Elkhart River trout exclusively with a fly rod for going on three years. Fly-fishing has opened up a whole new world for me. It has made me a student of trout behavior, an observer of water bugs and made me focus on reading the water as trout habitat. I did my undergraduate studies in college as a Biology Major and fly-fishing had allowed me to utilize that background. It has invigorated me as a fisherman. I fished the Little Elkhart heavy this summer and have made several observations. The brown trout seem to feed the best at water temperatures at or below 67 degrees. Once the water warmed above 68 degrees the trout started to be uncooperative and if the water was 72 degrees or above you might as well walk back to your vehicle and head for home. I’ve fished the river enough times to know where many resident browns are and where they hold while feeding. I would stand in the shadows on the bank and observe them. If there was any kind of hatch going on the brown trout are focused on the surface film. I have observed the trout taking emerging insects on or just below the surface and have seen them jumping out of the water after damselflies and millers several inches above the surface. I have seen these same trout feed on subsurface nymphs. By observing their movements in the current and watching the flash of the white inside of the mouth I could tell the trout where taking underwater Volume 2, Issue 4 -Fall, 2008 insects. Many times I stand and watch the trout almost as long as I fish for them. A trout working its feeding lane mesmerizes me. I let the fish tell me what kind of fly they want me to serve them for dinner. I know that I have caught several of these trout many times over and over again this summer. Brown trout must be very territorial because even after I have caught and released them; they return to the same spot within several hours. It usually takes a week or so before they are ready to take another fly and they are getting educated. These trout were willing to take any fly in the spring but are now very line shy and aware of bad casts and shadows. They refuse larger flies making me downsize to “match the hatch”. In April and May I was getting away using size 10’s and 12’s but not anymore. Lately I have been using size 18 dry flies and no larger then a size 16 on nymphs. This time of year the trout’s food sources are smaller than in the spring so it all makes sense. I used to be a “hole” fisherman. That is a throw back to my worm dunking days. I still believe that is where the large browns and any hold over rainbow dwell during the summer. Those fish are down deep in the snags where you cannot reach them with a fly very easily and a natural drift is impossible. In the spring these trout were willing to dart out and take a streamer but with the summer low water they have become more reluctant to do so. I believe these large browns are nocturnal feeders

Inside This Issue: Volume 2, Issue 4 Fall 2008
Presidents Message............... 1 Warning to Fall Fishermen .... 2 Report Fishing Success ........ 2 Trout Season Synopsis ......... 3 River Clean Up Report ........... 5 Feature Fly by Mike Beechy .. 6 LECTU Logo............................ 7 Meeting Minutes ..................... 7 LECTU Officers Directory...... 8 and difficult to catch out in the open away from cover. Smaller feeding browns however are often in shallow flat areas or along the banks. I do not know how many times I have walked up to the bank with the intentions of stepping in when I spook a trout right out from under my feet. These browns like some cover like an overgrown bank but it does not have to be deep water. They like to be in an area where they can clearly see food drifting to them. They will lay in the smallest depression waiting for a meal and many times it is right out in the open. That is when they are the easiest to observe right now while the water level is low and gin clear. So what is my point? To become a better trout fisherman you need to become a student of your prey. Invest in a thermometer and see what the stream temperature is.


President’s Message
Take time to pick up a rock or log off the bottom of the stream and see what is crawling around on it. Next time you catch a large creek chub kill it and cut it open and see what is in its stomach. Chances are it is eating the same thing the trout eat. Prior to fishing a spot have a seat on the bank and watch for signs. Is anything hitting the surface? Are any bugs hatching off or flying over the surface? Catch one and take it home and identify it and see what the nymph looks like, size and color. Read the water by watching the bubbles on the surface. Where is the main flow and are there any boils signifying an under water obstruction for a trout to hide behind or lie in front of. Always be listening for a trout rise, they will give themselves away. Invest in a good pair of polarized glasses and start looking for trout. Once you see one you will begin to see many more, kind of like finding morel mushrooms in the spring. Read articles and books on trout, not stories on trout fishing adventures but about trout and their behavior. Like the old “TR7 Fish Call” advertisement said, “It is more fun fishing when you catch fish”. Trial and error is the long way to learn. Observation and education is the short cut. Watch and learn…. Michael L Beachy President LECTU

Warning to Fall Fishermen
Little Elkhart River trout fishermen need to be aware that deer hunters will soon be invading the stream side woods in pursuit of white tail deer. Many Amish property owners along the river hunt deer or grant hunting rights to others. There will be deer hunters in the woods that border the river. During this time of year it is imperative to secure permission prior to fishing private property. You do not want to be mistaken for a deer. You could inflame a property owner by trespassing during the hunting season, jeopardizing the chances of securing future fishing permission for yourself and others. Deer poaching is unfortunately still prevalent especially during archery season. I would suggest wearing at least a blaze orange hat when fishing the stream even in an area where you have permission during deer season for your own safety. Never assume that you are safe when venturing into the woods in the fall. Public fishing areas that do not allow hunting can be found within Bonneyville Mill County Park property and on the Middlebury City property from the Well Field through town to Krieder World’s Fair Park. These areas are the only truly safe open fishing areas. Otherwise private property owners must be consulted prior to fishing elsewhere. Be Careful! Don’t screw things up for yourself and other future fishermen. We are dependent upon the private property owners to allow us access to the river for trout fishing. It is a relationship we cannot afford to jeopardize.

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. 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. 6. Fishing satisfaction: (poor, okay, completely satisfied). Please send your response by e-mail to Jim Phillips at

Volume 2, Issue 4 -Fall, 2008


2008 Trout Season Synopsis
In response to angler requests, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources imposed catch-and-release (artificial lures only) trout fishing regulations beginning in 2007 on a short stretch of the Little Elkhart River near Middlebury. The purpose was to (a) extend the trout fishing season beyond the typical two-week frenzy that historically prevailed under catch-andcreel management, and (b) increase the number and size of trout inhabiting the catch-and-release stretch. To assess the impact of the regulations, the Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited in 2007 and 2008 asked members to provide catch data for each angling trip. The following summarizes the 2008 data and compares it to 2007. The data is from the April opening date through August.

Fishing Summary
Anglers brought to net and released a total of 553 trout during the spring and summer of 2008, a 128 percent increase from the 242 reported taken in 2007. Because a number of anglers who visited the stream are not LECTU members, and some who are failed to report, the number of fish caught must be viewed as less than the actual total.
Catch per Hour 2.5 2 Trout 1.5 1 0.5 0 2007 2008

Total Trout
600 500 400 300 200 100 0 2007 2008

In addition to the total number of fish taken, a corollary and perhaps more important measure of angling success can be found by the number of trout netted and released per hour.

The data disclosed by anglers over the course of the 2008 season averaged 2.1 trout per hour (tph), compared to 1.7 tph in 2007. This represents a 24 percent increase.

Monthly Catch
A key component of catch-and-release involves extending the season beyond the initial two-week traditional fishery. The following graph shows the total catch by month. Monthly Catch Anglers brought to net and 250 released greater numbers of 200 fish in all months but June (when heavy rains caused the 150 stream to flood and turn 100 muddy, resulting in greatly 50 reduced fishing pressure.) In 0 2008 a total of 235 trout were caught during the peak month of May, compared to 140 during the same month in 2007. This represents a 68 percent increase.


2007 2008






Monthly Catch per Hour

An equally important metric involves the monthly catch-per-hour, as shown in the graph to the left.

As you can see, the 2008 catch rate increased in all months but June. The improved 2008 trout per 3 2007 hour rate during high summer (July and August) 2 2008 was largely due to LECTU’s pre-season stocking 1 of 500 eight-to-ten inch brown trout. This 0 suggests that with continued stocking, coupled April May June July August with greater brown trout distribution along the catch-and-release stretch, the catch rate can be further improved, notwithstanding the fact that the increases in the hourly catch rate from 0.7 to 0.9 tph in July and 0.3 to 1.0 tph in August must be viewed as significant. These represent catch-rate increases of 29 percent in July and 233 percent in August.

Volume 2, Issue 4 -Fall, 2008



2008 Trout Season Synopsis
Species Considerations
As we reported last year, the Little Elkhart River embraces a two species, two season fishery. Rainbows are the dominant species in the early season, with brown trout prevailing as the season progresses.
Catch by Species
400 300 200 100 0 Rainbow Trout Brow n

Anglers netted and released 322 rainbows in 2008, a 50 per cent increase over the previous year’s catch of 215 rainbows. The brown trout catch totaled 23l, a 755 percent increase over the previous year’s catch of 27 browns. Rainbows accounted for 89 percent of all trout taken in 2007, but only 58 percent in 2008. The higher 2008 percentage of brown trout can be attributed to increased brown trout stocking efforts.
It is important to note that the species composition changes over the course of the April-August season. In both 2007 and 2008 the percentage of rainbows netted and released declined as the season progressed, while the percentage of brown trout increased, as you can see in the following graph comparing the 2008 catch composition by species over time.

As the graph shows, rainbows accounted for 64 percent of the catch in April-May, while browns totaled 77 percent of the July-August catch.

Species Percentage by Month
100 80 60 40 20 0

Prior to catch-and-release, the declining percentage of rainbows was attributed to two factors: high initial harvest and subsequent mortality due to rising water temperatures. However, our observations suggest another major factor is involved.

Brow n







As mentioned in our 2007 report, rainbows appear to be possessed by wanderlust. We observed pools in the spring teeming with rainbows, pools that for no discernable reason were virtually empty of trout three or four days later, a process that repeated itself into late spring. To further test the wanderlust hypothesis, on opening morning of April 2008 we tail-punched and released slightly more than 50 rainbow trout in the upper reach of the catch-and-release section. Only three were recaptured. One was caught late in the afternoon of opening day, one was found dead approximately two weeks later, and one was caught and released June 18 in the lower catch-and-release section. This strongly corroborates our initial observation that rainbows are highly nomadic and do not remain in the area where stocked for any meaningful length of time. As for brown trout, LECTU released 500 eight-to-ten inch browns in April 2008 and the Elkhart Conservation Club stocked approximately 5,000 three-to-four inch fingerlings in August 2007. All were stocked in the catch-and-release section. Additionally, all LECTU brown trout were fin-clipped for identification. The total catch of each can be seen in the following graph.
Brown Trout Catch
200 150 Trout 100 50 0

As the graph shows, LECTU’s fin-clipped (FC) browns dominated the 2008 season catch. Anglers netted and released 231 browns, of which 149 were fin-clipped. This accounted for 65 percent of the total brown trout catch. The catch of non-fin-clipped browns (NFC) totaled 82 fish.
-- James H. Phillips Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Volume 2, Issue 3 – Summer, 2008


Little Elkhart River Clean Up Project
Ten volunteers from the Little Elkhart Chapter put in over 60 work hours, on four separate Saturdays this summer, in an effort to clean out the Little Elkhart River. Our focus was on the lower end of the catch and release section of the river working from the footbridge at Riverbend Park in Middlebury upstream to the Middlebury City Well Field property. All work was done on city owned land and is open to the public for catch and release, artificial lure trout fishing. The volunteers removed debris from logjams allowing better water flow. All work was done by log rearrangement. Strategic placement of logs to accentuate the natural meandering of the stream, bank erosion control and snag removal where the main goals. Some wing deflectors were constructed to guide the current, constrict the stream and deepen runs and holes. The end result was nearly a half a mile of much more fisherman, and trout friendly stream. Volunteers not only had an enjoyable time “playing” in the river but also learned the river intimately. We were amazed at just how deep some of the holes were with plenty of gravel and rock on the bottom to support bug life and ultimately trout. As we cleared the jams of small sticks and debris that had accumulated over the years you could see the silt being washed away and the current beginning to scour out the bottom. Revisiting these work sites weeks later you could already see improvement. We primarily tackled the worst problem areas and left a lot of the natural stream alone. Mother Nature does a pretty good job of creating trout habitat however some of the logjams were restricting the flow too much and causing the river to widen and slow the current. Faster deeper water creates more oxygen and helps to hold the water temperatures down. These clogged logjams also make fly-fishing next to impossible. Our special thanks go out to all the volunteers who helped with this clean up project. Those member volunteers were Joe Quarandillo, Dick Koch, Bill Myers, Brandon Rasler, Chris Miller, Don Fiwek, Mike Gibbs and Mike Beachy. Goshen College students Ben Martin and Scott Lehman, who were interested in learning about local trout waters, also helped and provided some much needed strength in moving the water logged timber. I would invite all of you to investigate the enhanced section of stream and see for yourself what a little time and effort can do, to improve our home waters. Michael Beachy, Conservation Chairman

Before Stream Improvement

After Stream Improvement

Volume 2, Issue 3 – Summer, 2008


Feature Fly “Super Scud” by Mike Beachy
This August, while working on the river during one of our clean up work sessions, I discovered some rather large scuds. The scuds were light gray to transparent in color and were abundant in number. I made the comment to the other workers that after seeing the size and color of these scuds I was going to try using a scud fly imitation that same afternoon. I had never used a scud in the Little Elkhart before and to my surprise did very well on them. The only scuds I had were from a Colorado trip I had taken last summer. They were tied with a bead head to give them sinking ability however I did not like the bead since a real scud had no “head” and the bead looked unnatural. In this version of a scud I eliminated the bead head and replaced it with a strap of lead across the top of the hook for sinking ability. The lead also gives the fly bulk from the belly to the back without making the fly wider side to side just like a real scud profile. This fly has been a super performer in the late summer fishing season. I have used it as a dropper off of a floating grasshopper or in a standard nymph rig and have taken both rainbow and brown trout with regularity. The scud back material can be substituted with clear plastic like a sandwich baggie cut into a thin strip. Scud back material is made of latex and stretches over the back in a form-fitting manner and is slightly easier to work with. Any dubbing will work but I prefer Sow Scud Dubbing due to the length of the fibers. It picks out well to form the legs in the last step of fabrication. This is an easy quick fly to tie once you get on to it and the best part is it works!

Beachy’s Super Scud Hook: Scud hook #14 Lead: .030 dia. Thread: 6/0 tan or gray Fibers: Grizzle hackle Back: Scud back 1/8” Rib: Small gold wire Body: Light gray scud dub Attach the thread to a size 14 scud hook. Lay a single piece of .030 lead wire over the back and tie down. Coat with “fishin’ glue” to fuse.

Do not over dub the head or it will cover hook eye when you tie off. Use a half hitch tool to tie knot between eye and head fibers

Pull scud back stretching it across the middle of the back and tie it with half hitch tool and trim excess

Adjust hook in vise for access. Wrap on grizzle hackle fibers for tail. Attach small gold wire for ribbing and overlay 1/8 inch wide clear scud back Wrap ribbing wire in even spaced wraps pulling downward to make divisions in scud back

Readjust hook in vise. Wrap head fibers of grizzle hackle under hook eye. Using waxed thread/rolled dubbing technique dub the body with light gray sow bug/scud dubbing.

Tie off wire and trim excess. Glue knots and trim thread. Pick out dubbing to form the legs on the finished fly. Page6

Volume 2, Issue 4 -Fall, 2008

A final logo for LECTU was approved at the September meeting. You may have noticed it at the top of this newsletter. Thanks to LECTU Member Andy Kitson and Imagemill for their work on the logo.

Treasurer’s Report There was no Treasurer’s report as Chris Miller was not able to attend the meeting. However, Mike Beachy reported that we need to file an annual financial report with Trout Unlimited by November 15. They are also asking for additional information such as man-hours spent on certain activities. Mike will get with Chris in order to complete the report. Chapter Re-Chartering Mike Beachy received a letter from the TU National Leadership Council about the need for TU Chapters to go through the re-charter process. Lee Troyer reported that he had been in contact earlier with TU and been told that since we are a relatively new chapter, we may well be last on the list. There is some confusion as the letter states that the re-chartering process is initiated by the TU State Council, and Indiana does not have a State Council. Lee will follow up with the NLC chairman. Communications Brandon Rasler asked that if anyone has any fishing pictures, to please send them to him to be included on our web site. Brandon also asked for a brief write-up on the history of our club to be included on the web site. Brandon will publish a newsletter this month and include a warning to fisherman about the upcoming deer season and to use caution. Mike Beachy will put his scud pattern into the newsletter for the featured fly section. Catch and Release Signage Jim Phillips contacted the Indiana DNR about the use of their name on

the signs. There are no restrictions. Mike Beachy also contacted John Stout of the Middlebury Parks Department and they also had no issues with the signage we are planning to the C&R section. We will need a work party to install these signs. Conservation Mike Beachy reported that 10 volunteers spent 61 man-hours in cleaning up the Little Elkhart from the foot bridge to the well field. This involved cleaning trash and debris from the stream as well as some log rearrangement. This has improved the fish-ability of this section significantly. A day was also spent at Chris Miller’s property on stream improvement work including log cabling and the use of duck bills. LECTU Logo and TU Apparel Imagemill provided some sample caps with our newly selected logo. We will now need to determine what type of order we want to place for apparel along with pricing of the items. Old Business None New Business There was a suggestion for a chub tournament this fall as a fun thing, but there was not much enthusiasm from the attendees. Next Meeting – October 8, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Middlebury Library Lee Troyer – Secretary

September Meeting Minutes September 10, 2008
Mike Beachy brought the meeting to order. Meeting Minutes The minutes from last month were approved. Fishing Reports Jim Phillips presented a five page document on fishing statistics for the Little Elkhart catch and release section. The data represented was from April through August of this year. Total trout caught and released was 553, compared to 242 last year. The catch rate was 2.1 trout per hour versus 1.7 trout per hour last year. While the majority of trout caught were rainbows early in the season, brown trout took over the honors later in the season. The purchase and release of the catchable size browns by the club this year has been important in extending our trout fishing season throughout the summer and even into the fall. It was suggested that this statistical report be put into the next newsletter.
Volume 2, Issue 4 -Fall, 2008 Page7

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

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, October 8 7:00 P.M.
Volume 2, Issue 4 -Fall, 2008 Page8