Giant Goldfish Invade Lake Tahoe

Non-native fish appears to have been the work of aquarium dumpers

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Feb 22, 2013  |  Updated 6:17 AM PDT
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Biologists are worried that Lake Tahoe's clear, blue water may be affected by a

NBCBayArea.com

Biologists are worried that Lake Tahoe's clear, blue water may be affected by a "giant" visitor. Goldfish, including a 14.2 inch, 3.4 pounder, were recently found in the lake. Scientists say the goldfish likely got into the lake courtesy of aquarium dumpers.

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For the first time, researchers out of the University of Nevada, Reno have documented a Lake Tahoe fishing legend.

A new survey of the lake found giant goldfish. The fish are the same species you could find in a pet store aquarium.

The University of Nevada team was working with other researchers from UC Davis on a regularly scheduled survey of fish when they came across the creatures. The team uses a specialized boat with electrical probes that temporarily stun the fish for an official count. 

They told KCRA they were surprised when bright orange fish started floating to the top of the water.

Fishing guides have been talking about large orange fish in the lake for a while now, but the university researchers were the first to document them. 

This is not your average size pet store goldfish. These are ten times that size. 

The theory is that people with home aquariums are dumping the fish into the lake. Once outside the confines of an aquarium and into Lake Tahoe, the fish grow larger and larger.

Gold fish are not native to Lake Tahoe and there are fears they could upset the ecosystem.

Biologists told KCRA the goldfish could eat smaller fish. They also create new competition for native trout.

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