Thousands of Allegan County catfish trapped following recent floods

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-24 22:20:16-04

GUN PLAIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Thousands of catfish washed up in lawns and ditches following heavy rains and flooding this week. Area residents say this isn't the first time it's happened.

Up to 4 inches of rain fell in a short time frame and it was too much for one Gun Plain Township private pond where catfish were being raised to handle. Thousands of small catfish were sent onto area lawns and into drainage ditches where they were trapped when the water began to recede.

While area residents may have used the flooding situation for exercising purposes or gardening, all agreed the catfish problem has to stop.

For residents like the Dear family, they're seeing the situation as an opportunity.

"They love to canoe and they see it coming so they want to canoe and go fishing," Anthony Dear said of his family.

Others see it as a health hazard.

"It just makes it a mess and you’re going to have all the stink from the fish and the fish are going to die," said Marsha Holden.

Holden has lived in Gun Plain Township for 37 years and it floods almost every year. She says she's tired of her garden getting wiped out every time.

"Right now we had onions, potatoes and hot peppers, bell peppers, cucumbers, watermelon...  they are going to be gone... we found a few onions in the fence here last night," Holden said.

Township supervisor Michael Vandenberg said the township doesn't have the resources to clean up after the dead fish. FOX 17 NEWS also learned that Vandenberg contacted the the health department about the fish and the road commission about the flooding, but so far has received no response.