By Chris Miller, KUTV 2
As the temperatures rise, more people are headed to the lake to cool off. If you’re headed to Utah Lake, experts warn you may bump into an unwelcome guest.
This time of year there is a lot of splashing in the shallow waters. Once in awhile you get a sighting as well.
Bill Loy is a fisherman on the lake. He says there indeed is a monster lurking in Utah Lake.
“He lives over there in the forbidden zone,” says Bill, who admits he’s seen it. “Just glimpses, but I’ve heard of him taking out boats and stuff and skiers off the back.”
Rusty Croft is a sand sculptor, who hasn’t seen a monster, but has a feeling it would look a lot like the alligator/hippo/elephant hybrid he sculpted out of several tons of sand dumped this week on a Utah Lake beach.
“We got a big gnarly mouth. Huge mouth, because it has to eat all those big carp,” said Rusty.
Then there’s Joe Arave, who runs the paddle board shop. He’s from California and hasn’t lived in Utah long enough to understand the myth. Joe openly admits, “honestly, I know nothing about the monster. I’d like to meet him though.”
There may not actually be a monster in Utah Lake, on par with say … Loch Ness, but everyone agrees there are unwelcome creatures in Utah Lake.
“They come in the form of invasive species,” said Michael Mills, a biologist who oversees the removal of an invasive carp species thriving in Utah Lake. “They do really well in Utah Lake, they’re very prolific and they’ve destroyed a lot of the habitat out here.”
The state, along with federal funds, designated to invasive species, is paying fishermen like Bill Loy to catch the carp and remove them from the lake.
“We just go out with big nets and set them and pull them in,” said Loy, who admits many people eat carp, but there’s not a market for the fish out of Utah Lake.
The program is working. The destructive carp population is on a steady decline, but now there’s another invasive species they’re trying to get rid of.
“Northern Pike, they were actually illegally introduced,” said Mills, who believes if the carp and the pike are removed, Utah Lake could become a desired playground for more anglers and adventurers. “It’s a huge dead end with a species that isn’t very useful and freeing up those resources would open up a world of possibilities.”