Rainbow trout held by fisherman. (AP image)
ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) - The flooding is impacting Michigan's $4.5 billion sport fishing industry.
The Rouge and Grand rivers began rising during the prime time for steelhead fishing, and many anglers will now have to wait until next year. The problem isn't a lack of fish, but that it has been unsafe for anglers to get to them this past week.
Mike Schneider and his fishing buddies didn't have much luck Wednesday at the Rogue River Dam.
"A few weeks ago, we needed a warm rain to push the fish up. I think we prayed too much," he says.
The trio had to leave their waders behind, trying to catch fish from the edges of the dam.
"Our steelhead catch rate has been very, very slow," says Glen Blackwood, owner of Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company.
Even though the water level has dropped a few feet, the river is still moving too fast for people to get into the water. However, the recent colder temperatures in Rockford mean steelhead will spawn a little longer, so anglers may catch the tail end of the season.
Also, because fewer fish were caught this year, their future catch may be greater.
"We'll have the potential for more fish when those fish migrate down out of the system, go to Lake Michigan, and return three years from now," adds Blackwood.
So anglers, mark your calendars for spring 2016.
Blackwood says it is too early to tell what the flooding will do to the entire fish population, but he says some will die because they cannot adapt to the swifter river currents.