March is one of the best times to trout fish on the Little Elkhart River. The water usually is somewhat on the high side but if you catch it right between rains the river will be running just off color and warming coming out of the February cold. That means streamer time. The trout are on the feed and are tired of eating the tiny midges of winter. The water is still cold and the trout are cold blooded so you cannot strip too fast quite yet. In April and May you can rip the streamer back but not in March it is more of a hang and strip in a slow steady long return. Did I mention slow? Slow and wait, let it hang then another slow steady strip and hang. The only thing difficult about the return is the wait on the hang. You need to be patient.
The trout usually will not hit on the first time working a good hole or run like they do later in the spring. Sometimes they take on the third or fourth trip through. There are times when you will get a "short hit". The trout will strike the streamer but not with enough aggression to get hooked. When that happens bring in your streamer immediately and attach a 20 inch section of trailing tippet onto the streamer and add a flashy nymph then run it back through. 9 times out of 10 the trout will take the nymph on the next trip through. I generally use a small streamer tied on an oversize hook to minimize the tail length or place the hook tip further back in the tail section, however you want to look at it. That will increase the percentage of hook ups on these tentative hitting trout.
On Sunday March 22 I was able to take several nice browns on the CR 35 section of stream. Most of them took a white and grey Clouser type streamer I call a "Trout Charlie". The trout pictured above went 18 inches which is a decent fish on the Little Elkhart.