Christine Ngai wasn’t sure if it was an orange soda can or a plastic cup. It certainly wasn’t a largemouth bass, the fish Ngai was researching at Lake Tahoe in 2006 as part of her master’s thesis.
During her survey at the Tahoe Keys, Ngai first spotted a giant goldfish, and dozens more have been seen since, with some weighing in at 4 pounds.
“As it approaches you realize it is some sort of fish,” said Ngai, who studies fish for the University of Nevada, Reno. “And you scoop it up, remove the vegetation and there it is — a goldfish that is the size of your head.”
Research in the mid-2000s prompted funding for a warm-water fish control program to remove invasive, nonnative fish from locations along Lake Tahoe, mainly in the Tahoe Keys.
The project, which began in 2011, has removed thousands of fish, including about 90 giant goldfish.
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