(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Erie has been inundated with rain. Minor flooding is reported throughout the city, drivers are encountering hazardous pooling water on roadways, and sump pumps are working overtime. While it’s worsening news for some homeowners near waterways, it’s pretty good news for fishermen.

Steelhead fishermen, in particular, will benefit from the abundant and persistent precipitation. For those who do not angle, a steelhead is a trout that hatches in a stream, lives its adult life in a large body of water (in the case of local steelhead, Lake Erie), and then returns to the streams to reproduce. And they’re big, so they’re sought after.

“This kind of rain brings the water level up for the fish to actually move in,” said Gary Heubel, manager of Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle Shop (6821 W. Lake Road in Fairview). “If a lack of water doesn’t allow runs to come in, then that prompts a slow start if we don’t have rains like this.”

Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Fairview has been owned by Brittany Campanella’s family for 26 years.

The rain began late on Sunday, Sept. 25. As of about 3 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, the JET 24/FOX 66 weather team was noting total rainfall of about 4 inches (in North East) to some 10 inches (in West Springfield). Erie International Airport had seen about 5.5 inches on Tuesday afternoon. And the rain was expected to continue falling into Wednesday.

“This is early-season lake effect rain that created almost a perfect storm for Erie,” said meteorologist Craig Flint. “If it had been snow, we would have been buried.”

“It would have been like the Christmas storm of 2017,” added meteorologist Tom Atkins.

All of the rain will bring the river water levels up, but it probably won’t be good fishing while the rain continues.

“Right now the water is probably too high to fish — a couple of guys are out there trying, but probably to no avail,” Heubel said. “When the water level falls, the water will clear up a little bit. But the clearer it gets, the worse the fishing gets. There’s a middle point where it gets really good. The fish can’t see you or the line or the split shot — there’s a happy medium there.

“It’ll be good, then really good, and then it’ll taper off again.”

It’s good news for steelhead, but it could be a mixed bag for other species of fish and the fishermen who target those fish. Walleye fishing had been hot for a while, but the cold rain that fell in sheets for several days could change that. Meanwhile, Heubel said it could mean that pike fishing turns on.

“It is fall and the pike are trying to feed,” he said.

Flint said the lake effect rain was a little early in the season, and it was a good amount of rain, but it wasn’t entirely unusual. Heubel said he’s never sure about any given forecast or season.

“You never know with Erie,” he said. Poor Richard’s hadn’t had a ton of foot traffic since the rain started, but Heubel was confident it would arrive. “Not in the last couple of days just because of the rain, but definitely after it ends. We’re expecting it.”