Salmon-Eating Shark Found in Landlocked Idaho

Warren Metcalf /
Warren Metcalf /

When you think of sharks, you typically imagine some large beast swimming around in the great blue of the ocean. And you’d be right for the most part.

So how, then, did one just end up in landlocked Idaho?

In an Idaho Fish and Game news release made on August 16, a shark was indeed found in the state recently. On August 15, swarms of concerned citizens began calling and emailing the department about the find, which appeared to wash up on a stretch of the Salmon River near Riggens.

Naturally, wildlife agency agents were sent to investigate.

What they found was indeed a shark. To be more precise, it was a salmon shark.

As you can likely ascertain from its name, this type of shark primarily feeds on salmon.

And seeing as how Idaho and its sportsmen are very proud of their salmon numbers, such a predator could be very bad news for The Gem State. According to the American Sportfishing Association, fishermen generate about $1 billion yearly for the state. If salmon numbers were to suddenly drop, it would be bad news indeed.

However, another thing to know about this type of shark is that it only lives in salt water. If you didn’t know, this is true for most of the world’s sharks. Bull sharks are pretty much the only exception, being able to travel quite far from saltwater and even live in freshwater successfully.

The Salmon Shark does not have this ability.

And as Idaho Fish and Game pointed out, no such sharks have been spotted “swimming up our fish ladders lately,” either.

So no, as Idaho Fish and Game’s Clearwater region fisheries manager, Joe DuPont, stated with certainty, “Rest assured, we have no sharks swimming around in Idaho.”

DuPont and others in the agency have summarized that the only logical explanation for the find is that some prankster out for a few laughs wanted to create a bit of a panic and dropped it off on the shore to make it look like Idaho has a shark problem.