HAMPTON, Ill. _ Motoring slowly against the current on the Mississippi River, Leroy Althiser and his uncle dropped their nets in a spot that usually is a riverbank, now submerged by near-record flooding.
Back on land a few hours later, a state conservation police officer confronted Althiser. The fishing trip could have cost the commercial fishermen far more in fines than they earned for 1,500 pounds of carp.
"We can't make no money," Althiser said Thursday after the officer warned him not to go out on the river. "The flood is hardship enough."
Already struggling with floodwaters invading their homes and low prices for river fish, the few commercial fishermen who still troll the Mississippi's upper reaches are hurting even more because of a ban on river traffic.
Even as flooding has crested and moved downstream this …