Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Meeting Minutes – August 9, 2023
Tom Vanderputten Keith Loutzenhiser Nick Christofeno Jim Mauck Ted Larrison
Mike Beachy Brian Wingard
- The meeting minutes for July 12, 2023 were approved.
- The Little Elkhart has been dismal. The river has been either too low or blown out from storms.
- The river continues to hold rainbows which is unusual for this late in the year.
- The river workday on July 29th was cancelled due to excessive water conditions.
- Keith Loutzenhiser was absent. He will report at the September meeting.
- Mike contacted Ed Evans (Elkhart Conservation Club) regarding a donation from LECTU. Ed stated that the hatchery was in good shape and did not need any equipment (LECTU’s preferred method of donation). Ed also said that he is receiving funding needs from the treasurer. Ed will forward the contact information to Mike, and LECTU will donate through the ECC treasurer.
- Matt Horsley (Indiana State Biologist) will contact the IDNR on behalf of LECTU. Mike estimated that LECTU will have $2,000-$3,000 of funds available for a donation. Matt stated that there is a matching federal grant available and the procedure is complicated. Therefore the application process will be handled by the IDNR.
Web-Site (LECTU.org)(This is reprinted from the June meeting minutes)
- LECTU has struggled recently with updating issues for the LECTU Web-Site.
- Brandon the LECTU website manager will provide both Mike Beachy and Keith Loutzenhiser with a tutorial on managing the site.
- Upgrades to the Wed-Site will be forthcoming.
Corson Riverwoods Park
- Mike (and Tom V) will be meeting with Ronda DeClaire of the Elkhart County Parks Department later this month. The purpose of the meeting is to receive a progress report on the park, and find out when LECTU needs to become involved with the stream management.
Tim Flagler Visit (Reprinted from July meeting minutes)
- SJVFF & Duneland Clubs have announced an intermediate Fly Tying Class for Thursday Sept. 21, 2023.
- Cost per student will be $75. More details will be available nearer to the event date.
Summer Work Days
- The summer workday schedule: July 8, July 29, August 5, August 26, and possibly Sept. 9.
- All the dates are Saturdays. Meet at Riverbend Park in Middlebury between 7:30am and 7:45am. And then the group will leave for the chosen river worksite at 8:00am
- The July 29th workday was cancelled due to excessive water conditions. Mike, Nick, Jim Mauck, Daniel Boyko, and Travis King were available but unable to work in the river.
- The August 5th workday was a team effort with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Mike and Mark Holcomb from LECTU and Ethan, Nathan, and Nick Kaufman from BHA cleaned out large blockages and jams between Tornado Bend and the Cut-Through. It was a very successful day.
- The next work day will be August 26th and this is the same day as the Middlebury Riverfest. All members interested in working that day meet at The End of Spring Street Cul-de-Sac (Spring Street is off of IN 13 as it runs through downtown Middlebury). Please arrive by 8:00am
- The Middlebury Riverfest will be held at Riverbend Park on Saturday August 26th.
- The Theme this year will be the Power of the River. There will be a river shocking, and a walk the river event.
- Tom Enright from The Parks Department may need some river guide help with getting kids into the river for exploring.
- Keith Loutzenhiser will have the LECTU Booth at the Riverfest (Tom V will assist).
Indianapolis Fly Casters
- Mike presented a Program on Wednesday July 12th to the Indy Fly Casters titled “Fly Fishing the Little Elkhart”. This was the same program presented at the Heartland Show with updated information. Mike was surprised by the number of LECTU members present who have actually fished the Little Elkhart.
- Ted Larrison introduced the topic of “Reel Recovery” an organization for men recovering from cancer.
- Ted talked of past retreats in other states that he has either been involved with or managed.
- Ted would like LECTU to sponsor an event in Indiana. LECTU will continue to discuss this possibility at future meeting.
Brown Trout Shocking Survey
- Matt Horsley meet with Mike when the state shocked the river to survey the trout population.
- The results were impressive. The survey area was 850 feet of river previously cleared by LECTU (from mid-Wellfield to Tornado Bend). Day One: 63 Brown Trout captured (fins clipped and released). Day Two: 58 Brown Trout (20 recaptured from day one).
- The total would be nearly 100 trout in the Wellfield section. The largest was a 17” brown.
- A state shocking in this area in 2008 produced 30 brown trout. This is great news regarding the LECTU stocking efforts.
- The Corson Park area was also shocked. This was 1,000 ft. near the lower end. Only 17 trout and no juveniles. A 20” brown did jump and hit a state intern but was not captured.
- In addition two small mouth bass (16” and 14”), and a 20” pike were captured.
Elkhart Conversation Club
- Ed Evans reported to Mike that the ECC has a new president and treasurer. Ed is now getting the funding he needs.
- The ECC now gets fertilized eggs from a Federal Hatchery in Washington State.
- During the shocking survey Mike spoke with the guy responsible for the stocking, and the state will only stock at river bridge crossing. Mike will said that the ECC is willing to stock the Little Elkhart in remote places accessible only by buckets.
- Sometime this summer the Elkhart County Surveyors (the Elkhart County Drainage Board) performed a “Snag and Drag” operation on the Rowe-Eden from US 20 to the confluence with the Little Elkhart. This essentially means the entire river was cleared of all trees, logs, bushes, and any other river obstructions. The banks were also cleared.
- This will obviously affect the trout population.
- Mike and Matt Horsley will walk and inspect the river on August 10th at 10:00am
Library Key Pickup
- Wayne, Keith, and Mike have been listed by the Library being able to secure a building key for our monthly LECTU meetings. One of them will pick up the key prior to Wednesday of the meeting.
LECTU Meeting Place and Date
- Middlebury Library in downtown Middlebury IN.
Next Meeting – Wednesday – September 13, 2023
Tom Vanderputten – LECTU Secretary