Trout Lines

President’s Message
Man o man this has been one long cold winter. An early February thaw has begun to stir the spring fever blues once again with hopes of warmer days to come. April will be here before you know it and now is the time to get yourself ready for the approaching trout season. I have been pretty busy this winter making fly rods and tying flies. I hope you have been busy too. It seems that no matter how many flies I tie I will always find myself in a shortage of some pattern at some point in the spring and summer or needing some modifications of a fly I have already tied in the usual fashion. April and early May is rainbow time. These freshly stocked trout will cooperate very well. I like to use a black bead head woolly bugger fished down stream. It is so easy it is almost not fair to the trout. I will let it hang in the current in front or under a log occasionally sweeping it back and forth in the current or retrieving it in short strips. It always amazes me how many times these trout will hit just letting it hang motionless in a hole. This is a great time to take someone out who hasn’t had much experience fly-fishing. Casting experience is really not required. I think you could catch rainbows with a wooly bugger on a cane pole. These rainbows do become educated pretty fast and after a few weeks in the stream begin to act like real trout and get harder to fool. Last year I took Ben Martin, a Goshen College student, with me on opening day. He had no experience trout fishing. Since he Winter, 2009 had never used a fly rod I recommended that he stick to his spinning gear. I tied him up some 1/32 oz jigs in a black woolly bugger pattern the night prior. The jigs were so light it was difficult for him to cast them however he was able to pay line out and drift the jig into cover. He took his fair share of rainbow trout that morning and has since become a fledgling fly fisherman. It was neat to see his enthusiasm peak for the sport. Last years trout season was a good one for me. I learned a lot about the Little Elkhart River and trout behavior. Last year was the first year that I ever took trout with regularity on dry flies in the Little E. It was truly a joy. I would recommend having a good supply of Parachute Adams, Griffith Gnats and Grasshoppers in various sizes and colors readily available. Early morning and late afternoon is classic for fishing dry flies on the Little Elkhart. Late in the summer I used a lot of hopper and dropper combinations throughout the day with good success along grassy banks. I have been primarily a nymph fisherman for the majority of my fly fishing career. This past summer was no different. Caddis in various stages of development were very productive along with the classic trout nymphs like a pheasant tail, prince and especially a gray scud. I generally will fish these under a strike indicator and use a bead head version or weight them with a split shot and sometimes both, depending on depth and flow. The indicator helps to avoid the multitude of snags waiting to foul my drift.

Inside This Issue: Winter 2009
Presidents Message............... 1 Annual Spring Outing ............ 2 Revised Fishing Guide........... 2 LECTU Apparel ....................... 2 Adopt A Trout ......................... 3 Feature Fly by Lee Troyer ..... 4 LECTU Website....................... 5 LECTU Officers Directory...... 5 In the late summer when I was sight-fishing brown trout that were not rising I sometimes had to resort to a non-weighted pheasant tail cast upstream and free drifted into the trout’s feeding lane. A strike was never detected by feel. Only by watching the trout’s movements could I tell that the trout had moved to take the fly triggering my hook set. It was really a neat way to fish for these spooky browns in the low clear water. If I sound enthusiastic you are right. I can hardly wait to get back after these trout. The ones that eluded me from last year because I spooked them or snagged a limb or just plain made a bad cast are the trout that fill my thoughts all winter. I ventured out to my favorite stretch the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday. The stream was pretty much the way I left it last fall. I never landed any trout but it was good to just get out and visit my old friend, The Little Elkhart River. Michael L Beachy President LECTU Page1

Annual Spring Outing
Mark your calendar for May 9th for our annual Spring Outing at Riverbend Park in Middlebury. This annual event has grown every year since our chapter first started. Last years event was well attended and hopes are high for another stellar outing this spring. Once again we are planning to have stream tours to highlight the access points along the Little Elkhart and talk about what an angler can expect to find at each access. We will once again take guys out for a fishing short course on the river and explain what types of flies’ work for us throughout the course of the trout season. You can get a chance to learn from local experienced Little Elkhart trout fishermen. We will have a casting instructor available to help you fine-tune your casting technique. We will have a cook out where the finest of Little Elkhart fishing stories can be shared. Last year it was good to see many members who we otherwise would have never gotten a chance to meet. This is our one and only fundraiser for our chapter and we plan on offering a fine selection of trout fishing gear to raffle off. Last year many of you took home quality fishing gear and this year promises to be of equal quality. We will be holding our Adopt-A-Trout drawing at our outing again this year with a grand prize of a custom made Orvis Zero Gravity 9foot 6weight with an Orvis Battenkill mid arbor reel valued at over $700. More details will follow in the coming months but by all means plan to attend.

Revised “Guide to Trout Fishing the Little Elkhart”
Thanks to our communications chairman, Brandon Rasler we now have a revised Fishing Guide. The guide highlights the Little Elkhart River’s access points and includes maps showing the bridges and county roads that cross the river. This guide is of great value to anyone who is a first timer to the Little Elkhart River. The guide is now in a tri-fold format so it is easy to put it in your pocket for quick reference when venturing out to the stream in pursuit of feisty trout. This guide can be yours for a $5 donation to the chapter or better yet get one free when you purchase an Adopt-A-Trout raffle ticket with proceeds going toward our chapter’s efforts to stock the catch and release area with brown trout. The guide can be obtained by sending $5 and a Self Addressed Stamped Envlope to Don Fiwek. LECTU Fishing Guide 17585 Ireland Road South Bend, IN 46614

LECTU Apparel
It’s here! The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited is proud to offer a line of LECTU apparel. We are selling our LECTU logo clothing at a minimal mark up to our members. The proceeds from the sale of these items will go towards our chapter’s projects however the board is not after large profits. We would like to see as many members as possible on the Little Elkhart River wearing our LECTU logo apparel this trout season. We have tried to offer fishermen friendly items, the kind of outdoor wear that most fishermen would be wearing anyhow. Fishing shirts, fleece, hats and soft shell jackets all have their place in a trout fisherman’s wardrobe.

You can order the apparel and have it shipped to you, or save the ten bucks shipping and pick up your items at our chapter meeting. The apparel will be custom embroidered after we receive your order eliminating our need to purchase large quantities to have stockpiled in advance. This will hold down the expenses to our chapter. The downside to this process is that it will require some time to process each order so please allow several weeks for delivery. Show your support for the chapter by showing off in LECTU logo apparel this year. See the apparel order form at the end of this newsletter or online at Page2

Winter, 2009

The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been working diligently to establish a year round trout fishery on the Little Elkhart River. A late season fishery is dependent upon a resident population of brown trout. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources does not stock brown trout in the Little Elkhart River therefore all brown trout have to be stocked from private sources The Elkhart Conservation Club has been stocking fingerling brown trout for years in the Little Elkhart River and we appreciate their efforts. The results of their stockings have been evident however the river still needs more browns to sustain a consistent brown trout fishery. Now, the Little Elkhart has an area of catch and release protected waters. This protects these fingerling browns and allows then the chance to grow and if caught returned to the river. The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited has begun to stock larger brown trout in an effort to jump- start a resident population of brown trout within the catch and release area. Last year LECTU put in 500 browns 8 to 10 inches in size. Our stocking proved to provide a start to the necessary brown trout required to realize our dream of a year round trout fishery. The best part of this program is that those trout are still there protected by catch and release/ no bait. Again this year LECTU is planning to stock another 500 brown trout into the catch and release protected stretch. We need your help to establish this resident population of required brown trout. We are holding a raffle to raise the funds necessary to purchase and transport these brown trout. The Adopt-A-Trout raffle tickets are 10 dollars each with an impressive grand prize of a Custom Built Orvis Zero Gravity 9foot 6-weight fly rod coupled with an Orvis Battenkill mid Arbor fly reel. A prize valued at over $700! As an added bonus for each person purchasing raffle tickets you will receive our newly revised “Guide to Trout Fishing the Little Elkhart”. This guide highlights the river access points complete with color maps in a tri fold pamphlet (one per person). The deadline for Adopt-A-Trout raffle ticket sales will be May 9th. The drawing for the fly rod will be held at our Spring Outing on that day. Please allow mailing time when sending in raffle tickets to be eligible for the drawing or you can purchase your raffle tickets at the outing prior to the drawing. We encourage pre- outing ticket sales so we know where we stand with this fund-raiser. We understand that in these tough economic times extra money is sometimes difficult to come up with. This program shows great promise that will result in years of pleasure for all those involved and future generations of conservation minded trout fishermen. The drawing and prize is the “icing on the cake” the real prize will be catching brown trout long after the state stocked rainbows have vanished due to the warming waters of summer for years to come. Instructions: Please complete the form below for each Trout you would like to “Adopt.” Photocopies are o.k. If you do not provide an e-mail address, please enclose an S.A.S.E. so that we m ay send you the fishing guide. Mail the form and SASE along with $10.00 for each trout to: LECTU Adopt A Trout 17585 Ireland Road South Bend, IN 46614

Adopt A Trout Fundraiser
Name Phone E-Mail
$10 for EACH trout you would like to adopt

Full sheets of Adopt a Trout forms available online at

Winter, 2009


Feature Fly “Elk Hair Caddis Peacock Style” by Lee Troyer
Caddisflies are a very prolific aquatic insect and are an important bug to the fly fisher. They come in many varieties. Compared to the mayfly, the mayfly has 200 species in 30 genera and 12 families while the caddisfly has roughly 1400 species, 147 genera, and 22 families. While we do not have emergence charts for the Little Elkhart, a number of Michigan stream hatch charts show caddisfly hatches occurring from late April through the end of August, with hatches generally occurring in the afternoons The elk hair caddis has been tied in many variations since Al Troth first originated the fly. One of the variations is to use peacock herl for the body. Peacock herl is a wonderful fish attractive material because of the various colors and hues it presents under various lighting conditions. There are also opportunities for other variations with the proliferation of new synthetic materials that have come on the market recently. One of these materials that I plan to experiment with is to use ice dubbing for the body. The elk hair caddis is a dry fly and needs to be fished like one. This means drag free drifts. However, don’t be afraid to fish the fly when there is no caddis hatch present. I have caught as many trout on the elk hair caddis without a hatch present as I have during a hatch. I have had my most success in the smaller sizes of 16 and 18. The elk hair caddis is a relative easy fly to tie. Tie up a few now so that you will be ready for the trout season.

Hook: Dry Fly Hook Sizes 14 – 18 (Mustad 94833 or TMC 100) Thread: Brown or Tan 70 denier (Uni-Thread 8/0) Body: Peacock Herl Ribbing: Fine Gold Wire Wing: Cream Colored Elk Flank Hair Hackle: Ginger

Wrap hackle to rear of hook with open spirals. Tie off hackle with three wraps of the gold wire and trim the excess hackle.

Attach thread and wrap to the hook barb. Attach fine gold wire.

Spiral wire to the front of the hook, taking care that you do not trap too many hackle fibers. Tie off wire and trim excess.

Attach 3 – 4 strands of peacock herl at rear of hook.

Wrap thread around peacock herls and wrap body to within one hook eye of the front of the hook. Trim excess material.

Prepare the elk hair by cleaning the under fur from a small bunch of elk hair (about the diameter of 1 – 2 match sticks depending on the size of the fly). Stack the elk hair and tie in immediately behind the hook eye. Keep a tight pinch on the elk hair while tying it in to ensure the elk hair stays on the top of the hook. The wing should extend to the back of the hook.

Attach hackle of appropriate size by the butt end at the front of the hook. Whip finish and trim the butt ends of the elk hair even with the outer edge of the hook eye to represent the head of the insect.

Winter, 2009


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............................ Don Fiwek .................. Newsletter Editor ................ Brandon Rasler .......... ..............................574-333-3349

Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited Web Site is the place to go to find out what is going on in the chapter. Brandon Rasler our Communication Chairman and Web Master has been doing a fine job updating our LECTU web site. Find past newsletters, meeting minutes and updates on projects on the web site. You can find order forms for LECTU apparel and fishing guides. There are contacts listed for the chapter officers that you can contact if you have a question or want to get a fishing update or stream conditions. Brandon has proven to be a great asset to our chapter and his work on the web site has not gone unnoticed. I invite everyone to browse the web site. There is a lot of good information to be found there.

The Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited 17585 Ireland Road, South Bend, IN 46614 Editor Email:

Meeting Notice
Second Wednesday of every Month at the Middlebury Public Library Next Meeting: Wednesday, March 11 7:00 P.M.

Winter, 2009