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Meeting Minutes – February 14, 2024

Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Meeting Attendees

     Tom Vanderputten   Keith Loutzenhiser    Mark Holcomb   Ridge Holcomb   Mike Beachy

     Ted Larrison   Jim Mauck   John Hollister   Jim Mock

Meeting Minutes

  • The meeting minutes for January 10, 2023 were approved.

Fishing Reports

  • Oliver Miller (big junk streamer) and Tom Sult (soft hackle) have been having some success. 
  • Small black winter stone flies are out.

 Treasurer’s Report

  • The combined balances in Everwise and Interra at the end of  January 2024 was $ 19,722.63
  • Printing expense: $505.32
  • A-A-T from Heartland show $ 335.00

Corson Riverwoods Park (No New Information) (The information below was reprinted from the November 2023 minutes)

  • The park soft opening has happened, and the parking lot is now open.
  • Mike found in the Indiana Register – Natural Resources Commission Information. Bulletin #7 (Fifth Amendment) regarding citizens petition. Mike took this information to Rhonda DeCaire at Elkhart County Parks. 
  • LECTU can anticipate a property owners meeting to present the Catch/Release philosophy to them. LECTU needs to convince them it is best for them and their property.

Cobus Creek County Park

  • Sherry Plank is the new manager at Cobus Creek Co. Park. She would like to continue the habitat restoration done by River Tenders.
  • This work will possibly be done by the SJRVFF. Mike offered LECTU assistance.

LECTU  Fly Tying/Education Sessions

  • The dates have been set for fly tying classes at the Middlebury and Bristol Libraries in 2024.
  • The sessions will be the Middlebury Library 1st Saturday of the month January to April.
  • The sessions at the Bristol Library will be the 2nd Saturday of the month January to April.
  • The times at both locations will be 10:00am to 1:00pm
  • The response for both locations has been great. The Bristol Library provided both food and drinks. The attendance at Bristol was 5 new fly tiers and 4 LECTU members.
  • The Middlebury Parks Department has requested that LECTU conduct a Fly Fishing 101 instruction session at Bonneyville Schoolhouse. The class would cost $10 and be from 10:00am to 2:00pm, the date to be determined.
  • LECTU is planning a group tying Fly-A-Thon. The date and place to be determined.

Trout Habitat/Rowe Eden Project (No New Information/The information below reprinted from January)

  • Mike and John Schwartz reached an amenable agreement regarding the Project.
  • IDEM, IDNR, Army Core paperwork for the plan is due January 29th. No Response at this time.
  • The information immediately below is a summary of the plan LECTU will conduct when LECTU receives an agreement from the Schwartz brothers and permission from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

Summer Work Days for Trout Habit Restoration (2024)(Information below reprinted from January)

  • Mike has drawn a comprehensive plan for the Rowe Eden Ditch from US 20 to the confluence with the Little Elkhart. This will be submitted to IDNR Fisheries and the Elkhart County Surveyors.
  • The Schwartz brothers are willing to help restore the curves for trout habitat and to prevent erosion. They are willing to cut and stack logs this winter in preparation for summer 2024.
  • The project includes six significant curves. This is a major project involving 50-60 logs, cabling, use of natural roots, earth anchors, etc.
  • Mike and Matt Horsley (Indiana State Biologist) inspected this section. Matt reviewed the LECTU work at the Yoder farm meadow, and is in full support of the Rowe Eden Project.
  • Matt will set a meeting with the state, and Mike will present the plan.
  • Mike will purchase the cable supplies ($500), and contact the Schwartz brothers.

Annual Outing

  • The annual outing will be Saturday May 4th  2024.
  • LECTU has the raffle license raffle from the state of Indiana.
  • The guest speaker will be Dominic Chaloner, Biology Professor from the University of  Notre Dame.
  • Mike will send a Certificate of Insurance to Middlebury Parks from Trout Unlimited.
  • The Outing casting instructor will be Rick Hinton (Keith will confirm with Rick)
  • Wayne Andrews will procure the Van for the stream access tour. Nick Christofeno will be the River Access Tour Guide.
  • There will be a fly tying demonstration. The fly-tier still to be determined (Andy Kitson if needed).

Outing Fundraising Items

  • Glen Blackwood from Great Lakes donated a book – Bug Water
  • Kevin Feenstra donated a Matching Baitfish book and 3 CDs on fly tying
  • Moving Waters donated an Echo River 2wt Glass fly rod and landing net.
  • Jack Johnson (Bimidji MN) owns Alaska Legends Lodge. He will donate a 50% off coupon

       for 5 days/5nights at the Lodge (Full Price $6,000 per person with coupon $ 2,900 per person).

Winter Fly Shows

  • Heartland Show, Lebanon IN. January 20th was a good show. Busy all day and 42 A-A-T tickets sold
  • 3RFF Show, Fort Wayne IN. February 17th at the Classic Café. Need sign-up for tiers and booth.
  • Bass Pro Event, Portage IN. March 16th and March 17th. This is Conservation Weekend.
  • Indianapolis CITU Film Tour (Broadripple at the Vogue Theatre) is March 23rd.

Green Day at Elkhart Co 4H Fair

  • Jane Robinson is contact. She has asked LECTU to participate Mark Holcomb will contact her.

Reel Recovery Update

  • Ted Larrison will send a Sponsorship request letter to Beacon Health Systems and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.
  • The request is to sponsor both the LECTU Outing and the Reel Recovery Retreat in 2025.
  • Ted Larrison reported that the Reel Recovery Event will consist of 10-15 participants.
  • The expenses at the Essenhaus will be approximately $4,000-$5,000. Ted and Tom will meet with the Essenhaus to discuss dates and reservation of rooms etc.
  • Ted has been contacting other foundations seeking financial sponsorship.
  • The national Reel Recovery Organization will assist the 1st year.
  • LECTU believes that June 2025 will be the best time for the event.
  • Tom V will serve as the Retreat Coordinator for 2025.

Core Committee Help

  • LECTU needs additional members to assist with LECTU activities and responsibilities since this consistently falls on only a few members.
  • We discussed methods to involve more of our registered members. 
  • Possible outreach programs (e.g. Sponsor Fishing Presentation at Lafayette IN or Kokomo IN for local LECTU members.)
  • Possible active outreach for volunteers at the annual outing. Specific signup sheets for various LECTU activities.

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 – March 13, 2024

Tom Vanderputten – LECTU Secretary