Experts Warn About Football-Size Goldfish Taking Over Lakes After Owners “Free” Their Pets

It’s a gorgeous day in Minnesota, so you decide to do some fishing. Before you know it, you feel a powerful tug on your line. Awesome! But you can’t celebrate just yet. This potential catch is proving to be a lot stronger than you expected, and it’s quite a fight to reel it in. You eventually win the battle, but what you find on the end of your line is totally unexpected. You’ve caught a goldfish — but no ordinary goldfish. It’s the size of a football, and to make matters stranger, this isn’t a even rare discovery around here. These things are becoming more and more common — and dangerous — by the year.

Mind-boggling comparison

Now in most cases, a standard goldfish will tip the scales at little more than 8oz, at most; length-wise we’re talking 1-2 inches. They’re perfect for smaller fish tanks at home, as well as being easy to manage. But the giant goldfish that are wreaking havoc in Minnesota’s waters blow those numbers away. The creatures are absurdly large, some weighing about 4 pounds. That’s the equivalent of a laptop! And they’re leaving aquatic experts slack-jawed.

“Hard to imagine”

One of those experts spoke to the KARE 11 news station in July 2021 by the side of Keller Lake in Minnesota. His name is Caleb Ashling, and he’s Burnsville’s natural resources specialist. He noted, “I knew that [goldfish] could get a little bit bigger than what we see in the pet store, but it is hard to imagine that these tiny little animals can grow to that size.” On top of that, the sheer numbers of them found in the lake was stunning Ashling, too.

Looking for help

“We had some reports from residents of some increasingly large groups of goldfish out on the lake,” Ashling explained in a different interview with CNN in July 2021. “Folks were seeing them from shore, or if they were out kayaking, they would catch a glimpse of them when they were out in their boat.” As a result of that, the community then reached out to Carp Solutions — a local organization that deals with “invasive common carp” — for some help.

“Pretty significant”

An investigation was launched into the strange sightings, but no one could’ve predicted the results. Continuing his chat with KARE 11, Ashling revealed, “So far, between our two rounds of surveys, we’ve caught 28 of these very large goldfish. The largest I believe is about 15 inches in size, and many were kind of close to that range. So they’re pretty significant.” Imagine coming across nearly 30 of these things in a lake!