NORTH RIVERFRONT – When the rainy season pours in, Chis Hykes doesn’t worry about his hilltop home flooding. It sits too high for the rising Mississippi River to reach.
An avid fisherman, Hykes, 30, is more worried about a nearby park in his North Riverfront neighborhood, hoping that it does indeed flood. And on Tuesday, there was Hykes with his fishing pole in river water that had flooded North Riverfront Park.
“This is excellent: For the past month, I’ve caught multiple fish,” Hykes said, whipping out his cellphone to show video and still shots of some earlier catches, most of them huge catfish.
Hykes then pointed to a narrow pier that he and other fishermen usually use to walk to the banks of the river to fish. It’s nearly covered and about 50 yards from where he and several others were happily and anxiously fishing Tuesday.
Unlike many in Missouri, the recent cast of violent storms here did exactly what he wanted them to do: unearth green worms. The worms, he said, are thicker than brown worms and attract more fish.
“The catfish love them, they come up and eat them,” he said, adding, “You could take these all over the country and sell them.” Hykes had a bucketful, but they were not for sale.
Others in the neighborhood aren’t so happy about the flooded park. People like to come here to chill, in or out of their cars, and to exercise, especially bike riding on the popular trail.
“People bike ride here every day,” Hykes said.
A playground is slated to be built; some of its materials sit about 10 yards from the water.
As for a flooded Mississippi reaching homes in the area, a passerby said, “It would have to rain 40 days and 40 nights.”
The flooded park also attracted Sara Foege, 38, who surmised that the water was about 1 foot below the level during the Great of Flood of 1993. She had driven from her St. Charles home, which was flooded throughout the basement.
She said she sometimes came to the park to fish, but on this day, she was just relaxing and enjoying nature, her feet in the water.
“I feel [bad] for the flood victims, but I came here so I could be one with nature, and I like the water because it balances my soul,” she said, continuing:
“Mother Nature will flood this place and the fish will come out, but she always comes back to get them.”