RIGGINS, Idaho (KTVX) – Idaho isn’t exactly known for its sharks, which makes the sudden appearance of a salmon shark on the shores of the Salmon River even more surprising.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) shared news of the strange discovery last week, saying calls and emails came “pouring in” concerning a shark that had washed up on the shore of the river on Aug. 15. Clearwater Region fisheries manager Joe Dupont, following an investigation, said the specimen appeared to be a genuine salmon shark. But he was initially puzzled as to how it got there.
The Salmon River, otherwise known as “The River of No Return,” is a freshwater river that runs in central and eastern Idaho. According to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the main stem of the river is home to a variety of fish, including several species of trout and salmon, among others. But salmon sharks are not among those other species.
“No sharks have been observed swimming up our ladders lately, and the only known shark that can live in freshwater is the Bull Shark,” said Dupont.
Salmon sharks, which can grow up to 10 feet long and nearly 1,000 pounds, are also primarily found in open ocean and coastal waters, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Typically, they swim around the Okhotsk and Bering Seas near Korea and Japan, and from the Gulf of Alaska to central Baja California.
As for how a salmon shark ended up in landlocked Idaho, Dupont has a theory. “I think it is safe to assume that somebody dropped this one on the shore for a good laugh. I certainly have laughed about it,” said Dupont. “This would have been a great April’s Fools joke.”
Nexstar’s KTVX reached out to Dupont and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to see if there was any update on the sudden shark appearance but has yet to hear back.