UPDATE: The search for a missing fisherman off of Tumbling Creek, near the Ocoee Lake in Polk County, has turned into a recovery mission.

The decision was made late Monday afternoon.

The man was reported missing Sunday, but went fishing Saturday and never returned home.

Polk County Sheriff Steve Ross says they decided to change this to a recovery mission because the man has been missing for over 48 hours.

Ross called in assistance from local raft guides to help in the search. He says their experience with water terrain will be crucial in the search.

"Most of the guides are swift water rescue trained. And they are always willing to help. Whatever we have asked from them, they've always been more than willing to help out," Sheriff Ross said.

Members of the community have also helped.

Local restaurants like Bradford's BBQ brought crews food and supplies, and Ross is thankful for all the help.

"It's typical Polk County. We ask for volunteers and they come in droves, and they are willing to help one another and that's just the way we are," Ross said.

Though there are many crews working the search, Sheriff Ross hopes they can make progress soon.

"We really need to today because when the water stops rising it just gives more area we have to cover," Ross said.

The search was called off for now due to lightning and heavy rain.

They will resume search efforts first thing Wednesday morning if the weather permits it.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS UPDATE: Channel 3 has learned that the search efforts for the missing kayaker on Ocoee #3 Lake have shifted to recovery.

Polk County Sheriff Steve Ross says that with expected bad weather on the way, they are working hard to locate the missing man.


PREVIOUS STORY: Officials in Polk County are looking for a man who went missing on his kayak on Ocoee number 3 lake.

The 68-year-old male went fishing early Saturday morning, but never came home.

He was reported missing Sunday.

Crews have recovered the kayak, but with the recent rainfall in the area and more on the way, Polk County Sheriff Steve Ross says search efforts have been difficult.

"All the creeks are up. As far as an exact it's up, I'm not sure, but it is over the roadway. And over the bridge coming in here. So the lake is pretty much at flood stage,” Sheriff Ross said.

Not only have water levels risen, crews say the water is murky from the rainfall, which could be dangerous for everyone involved.

"Water behaves different at different levels. So, yes. It does put a little more danger to it,” Sheriff Ross said.

Sheriff Ross hopes his crews can find the man soon.

"We are really hoping and praying we can find him today. So we can give his family some relief. And with the weather moving in, it could shut us down for several days,” the sheriff said.

Crews will continue their search efforts throughout the week if the weather permits.

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