The recent cold spell has meant ice fishing at more lakes in Michigan. Some anglers go after a tiny fish called smelt in the cold water. In the past, people went after them during spawning runs using dip nets. But smelt populations have crashed.
Bob Ruleau with Ruleau Brothers, Inc. in Stephenson, Michigan is a commercial fisher licensed to catch smelt. He says a lot of things combined to devastate the smelt fishery over the last 30 years, including predation by larger fish, zebra and quagga mussels, and the climate.