Sarah Dallof reporting
A bizarre find in Pioneer Park Pond in Brigham City has biologists stumped. A fish with fangs was discovered; now officials are trying to figure out what exactly it is.
Craig Schaugaard, Aquatic Manger for the Department of Wildlife Resources, said, "When we first saw that fish, we thought, ‘What in the crap is this thing?'"
Where did this fish come from, and more importantly, what is it? The mystery started a couple weeks ago when every fish in the pond went belly up.
Ben Boyce, with the Brigham City Corporation, said "Approximately 4,000 fish, when the ice came off the pond, were discovered to be dead."
The pond may have been poisoned, or the water may have run out of oxygen due to the thick ice. "We just have no way of knowing," Schaugaard says.
Among the dead were the species the pond had been stocked with, along with the unexpected -carp, goldfish, and the mystery fish that was found in the parking lot, apparently dragged by an animal.
"It's been decomposed. It's been run over," Schaugaard said.
Biologists say it's not a new species. They believe the fish could be a Lake Trout whose tissue decomposed rapidly, making its teeth more prominent. It could also be a cast-off, a pet fish dumped by someone tired of taking care of it. "We would be appreciative if the aquarium fish didn't come to our pond," Boyce said.
Aquatics biologists say if they can't figure it out, they'll let the fish decompose then examine the bone structure to determine the species. While they wait, the fish stories will only grow. Schaugaard says, "It definitely could become an urban legend."
Officials will soon begin restocking the pond with fish of their choosing. It's safe to assume that won't include any aquarium fish or mystery fish.
Besides adding the new fish, park officials are also applying for a grant to improve the pond. They want to make it deeper and add rocks and tree stumps to make it a better habitat.