average, 8,000 to 10,000 fish leave Lake Michigan each
fall to swim up the St. Joseph River. This year's numbers
are way below average. In fact, they are the worst on
record. Only 2,000 fish made the trip. The absence of
fisherman on the St. Joseph River this time of year is
unusual. "We're a little concerned those fish didn't make
it up here and we're not seeing a lot of people come up
this year," said Bob Bell of the DNR.
"We get a
lot of publicity in Field and Stream and other big sporting
magazines. People come up here to fish for big steelhead,"
says Dick Parker of Parker's Tackle. The steelhead
fish are bred at the Mishawaka Fish Hatchery,
then released into the wild. Up until now, the steelhead
had returned each fall. But according to Parker, "The
word's out, that there's no fish here. Sales are down."
situation can be partly blamed on low water levels and
warmer than usual water temperatures. Fishermen hope the
fish will spawn in the spring.