Saturday May 2 is the date for the LECTU Annual Spring Outing. Each year the Annual Outing seems to get bigger and better. It is LECTU’s one time gathering of our membership along with other like minded trout fishing enthusiasts. It is our one chance to provide information about our chapter and our goals for the Little Elkhart River. It serves as our primary fundraiser as well. The Outing is held at Riverbend Park, 511 East Warren Street, Middlebury, Indiana on the banks of the Little Elkhart River. Free admission/registration starts at 8:30 am with festivities wrapping up around 1:30-2:00. We do ask for a $5 donation for our cook out lunch at noon. The fundraising raffle/silent auction expense is up to you.
At 9:00 we will begin the stream access tour and it will run for about an hour. We pile folks into a mini bus and shuttle them on a tour of the popular access points along the river. Along the way we try to provide information about each area like where it is located compared the entire river, what kind of water to expect, when it fishes best and so on. For those attendees who are new to the Little Elkhart River and do not know where to start this is a great tour. We have found that this tour is very popular and demand for limited space is high. If you have been on this tour in the past we will not stop you from going again however please be considerate of those first timers who desire this information.
Also at 9:00 we will have LECTU’s “master” casting instructor, Charlie Ray on hand to assist you with perfecting your fly casting or starting you in the art if you are a beginner. Charlie is a great instructor and very knowledgeable in the instruction of fly casting. He has had a lot of experience teaching fly fishing and casting to all age groups. If you are having issues with your cast he is the guy to help you. Charlie will also have a casting course and will hold a no pressure friendly casting competition during the morning festivities.
Around 9:00 we will have a resident fly tier on hand demonstrating fly tying. He will demonstrate flies that have been local favorites and answer questions about the art of fly tying.
After the stream access tour returns around 10:00 we will have a stream habitat tour for those wanting to see some of our habitat improvement handy work. Hopefully the weather cooperates and the area that we wish to show off is not too muddy.
At 10:30 President Mike Beachy will give a few comments on the “State of LECTU” followed by our featured speaker Jay Anglin. Jay is an avid outdoorsman and both a hunting and fishing guide covering northwest Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Jay knows his stuff and is an entertaining speaker. Jay is the owner of Anglin Outdoors.
At noon we will serve a cookout style lunch. We ask for a $5 donation to offset the cost of the food. Last year we went through five gallons of beans just as an example of the volume of food gets consumed. Our goal is to break even not to raise any funds from the luncheon. The donation covers the cost of the food, drinks and paper goods.
We will be selling raffle tickets and taking bids on the silent auction items all morning however after lunch we will begin the fundraising portion of the Outing. Bob Hagin and Steve Mack our donation procurement co-chairmen have been busy collecting a nice array of items for prizes. In the past they have impressed everyone with quality items and this year should be equally impressive. Rods, reels, tackle, artwork, fly tying materials, LECTU logo clothing, boxes of flies, coolers, and the list goes on and on. We will also draw for the Adopt-A-Trout grand prize raffle of a Winston Boron IIIX fly rod and the Lamson Waterworks ULA fly reel or $400 cash winner’s choice. LECTU only accepts cash or checks for the fundraising portion so come prepared.
The Annual Spring Outing takes a lot of work on the part of the volunteers. We have made every attempt to provide the attendees with a great gathering. It is a good way to start the spring trout fishing season. We encourage everyone to make an attempt to attend. You do not have to be a member to attend so if you would like to bring a non-member buddy or family member along it is fine. This event is held outside in an open air pavilion and is a rain or shine event so please dress appropriately and pray for a warm sunny day.
Riverbend Park is on the banks of the Little Elkhart River so if you are inclined bring your fishing gear and do some trout fishing after the event. May 2nd is only a week after the opening of the catch and keep season so the river should have a healthy population of State stocked rainbows for your entertainment.