The Sideshow

Move over, Jaws—huge goldfish invade Lake Tahoe

The Sideshow

Goldfish the size of canned hams are turning up in Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border.

A group of researchers from the University of Nevada at Reno discovered and documented the oversized fish, including one 18-inches long. Others had apparently spotted the fish in the waters of Lake Tahoe, but Christine Ngai and fellow researchers were the first to document their existence.

Ngai told KCRA.com, "You just see this bright golden orange thing starting to float up, and you’re like, what is that? And then you take a net and you scoop it up, and you’re like, it’s a goldfish."

[Related: Woman auctions off ex-boyfriend's secret fishing spot]

Experts believe that people dumping the contents of their aquariums into the lake is to blame for the problem. And it is a real problem. Researchers believe the large fish, which aren't native to the lake, could have a significant ecological impact, including creating a food shortage for native trout. Also a worry, according to Dr. Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada, is the goldfish's tendency to spur algae growth in a lake known for being crystal clear.

When Ngai and her colleagues examined the fish, they found that some were pregnant, meaning the problem is likely to get worse.

This isn't the first case of abnormally large goldfish showing up in a strange spot. In 2010, a fisherman in France reeled in a goldfish the size of a large dog.

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