Monday, September 01, 2008

Recent Shark Found in Lake Michigan No Surprise

I read in the newspaper this morning that a gentleman from Traverse City, Michigan found a dead shark in Lake Michigan. This did not surprise me. Rick Fasi discovered the two-foot long fish while boating and had it identified as a juvenile blacktip shark by an expert from the University of Florida. This species surprised me. I would have expected it to have been a bull shark. Let me give you some historical background on Lake Michigan and some surrounding freshwater rivers to explain why:

In September of 1937, the patience of Alton, Illinois anglers "Dudge" Collins and Herbert Copes was completely exhausted. More times than they cared to count, something—something big—had destroyed their Mississippi River fish traps while helping itself to a quick, easy meal. They guessed it was an opportunistic, gigantic catfish. They decided to end its marauding once and for all by setting a seine net to snare it.

When they returned they found that the trap had apparently worked, as the net’s buoys showed signs of a terrific struggle beneath the muddy water’s surface. What the men pulled up, though, left them shocked and scared. Ensnared in the net was a bull shark that was over five-feet long and 84 pounds. For those not familiar with bull sharks, here are a few facts:
- They can reach eleven feet in length.
- They are considered by divers to be the second most dangerous shark (after the great white). Unprovoked bull shark attacks on humans are not uncommon. Some studies have shown that bull sharks kill more humans per year than any other shark species.
- These unusual elasmobranches can not only survive in freshwater, but have been known worldwide to actually prefer it to saltwater. They are common inhabitants of—or visitors to—rivers that enter the ocean, such as the Ganges in India, the Zambezi in Africa, and our very own Mississippi and its tributaries.

Many authorities, presumably wanting to prevent panic among river dwellers and water-sport enthusiasts, insist that, due to the extensive lock-and-dam system built on the river shortly after the Alton catch, it would now be impossible for a shark to wend its way up the Mississippi, Illinois, or Ohio Rivers. That sounds comforting, but how can the authorities account for the following horror and oddity that occurred in 1955 and 1969 respectfully, well after the completion of the locks?

The day was beautiful, and consequently many were cooling off by boating or swimming in Lake Michigan. Among them was George Lawson, a boy from Chicago, who was swimming not too far from a boat off the shore. While splashing and playing, George was abruptly pulled underwater. Upon resurfacing, his screams for help brought John Adler to his rescue. Nevertheless, by the time he was brought into the boat, George’s right leg had been severed. The boat’s stunned passengers could do little but stare in dumbfounded awe at a large "tell-tale dorsal fin" that headed out to deeper water.

"I just couldn’t believe it, but I had to believe what I saw happening right before my eyes!" exclaimed a stunned Adler.

Doctors were certain that the boy’s injuries were inflicted by a shark, but were unable to explain from whence it came.

The second inscrutable encounter also played itself out on Lake Michigan. Anglers Gil Scharnek and Cal Lukasavitz literally stumbled upon a second shark specimen—much smaller, but a shark none-the-less.

"We saw a seagull sitting on what we thought was a piece of flotsam," recalled Scharnek. "When we got closer, the seagull flew away and we saw it was a fish. Cal said ‘Look, it’s a sturgeon,’ but when we got up to it we could see it was a shark."

The two brought the curiosity home with them, froze it and eventually had the identity of their find verified by a museum ecologist as a bull shark. Even though the lake’s temperature was a bone-chilling 42 degrees, the ecologist confirmed that even that was not too cold for a shark.

Out-of-place animals have always fascinated me, but these sharks may have a purely biological origin...though blacktips are not known for their freshwater forays. The Michigan DNR, of course, proposed that "someone might have caught the shark of the Atlantic coast and kept it on ice while bringing it to norther Michigan." This begs the question: who keeps a two foot blacktip shark?

92 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not questioning this happened -
but sources on the internet differ whether he actually had his leg bitten off or was just injured. A newspaper clipping would be interesting. Also, I have never seen a more accurate date than just 1955. Where did you find the details of this attack?

Dan K. said...

A lot of false info, but just minor stuff... still a pretty interesting read.

Scott Maruna said...

The source of the info on the Lake Michigan shark was the book "Man-eating Sharks" by Felix Downs, Castle Books, 1976. Thanks for asking.
--Scott Maruna

Mr. Skeptic said...

Impossible for the shark to have come up through the Mississippi. The fish would have to go the wrong way through all the locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, then through all the engineering that reversed the flow of the Chicago river, up the Chicago River and through the final lock into Lake Michigan. I lived in Chicago for many years and I never saw any fish of any kind in the Chicago river.

Anonymous said...

A long time ago,80'sish. There is a marina just south of traverse city, Farankfort. During trout season two charter boats the SeaJoy and the Tiny Bubbles went out wirelining for lake trout. After a few hours one boat hooks into something large enough to drag them around. In passing the other boat their downrigger lines get caugt in the same fish. After being dragged around the Herring whole in Lake Michigan for 2 hours this thing turns out to be a huge 300 lb catfish.
www.rachelmullins.com

brandon adamson said...

To the person who said it would have been impossible for the shark to come up through the locks and dams...
It is possible that some sharks may have made their way there before any of that ever existed and have simply maintained a small population there, maybe even for hundreds or thousands of years. Theoretically some could even be native to that area.

Anonymous said...

Sharks can get in through the Mississippi, and also lets mention the St. Lawrence seaway. Never say never. I have heard of bull sharks being caught on Lake Michigan but never turned in to DNR.

Anonymous said...

locks and dams are great to keep any fish of any sort in a specific place, however what happens when you have floods? how many times have we had floods where small sharks can feed into rivers or lakes and adapt? the bull shark can adapt to different levels of salt water, and or live in fresh water. there has been accounts of bull shark attacks in many fresh water rivers, and it is found that they must be breeding there as well. just a scarey note !

Anonymous said...

Well just to let you know the Monsterquest show on the History Channel had divers in the St. Lawrence river and in Lake Michigan and had found bull sharks in both places and have them filmed. They are and can be there. Other rivers they have found them actually breeding in them. Even with dams, any that are out there I would consider the ones already there are breeding. Dam or no dam.

Anonymous said...

This past year there was a video shot of a shark located in a river in Illinois. I believe there could possibly be sharks in lake Michigan. they played it on the discovery channel. here's the link, check it out!
http://www.history.com/video.do?name=monsterquest&bcpid=1541043106&bclid=1906868650&bctid=1906856484

paparegs said...

locks and dams are only temporary restrictions, fish travel upstream and the natural river current will draw them upriver, over and through obstacles during normal and flood stage conditions.

Len Williams said...

Oh well seems there was good reason for never being allowed to swim in the MS or OH rivers. It just doesn't seem that people would have missed this up til 1939 or whatever cause you know these boys are vicious.

Anonymous said...

I live on near Lake Michigan never saw any sharks so it should be super rare to be biten. But hell dont listen to me if your scared, im swimming still

Anonymous said...

to the idiot who suggested the st lawrence seaway, have you ever heard of this thing on the seaway called Naigra falls.

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a canal built around Niagara Falls for shipping, so yea, it could happen through the St. Lawrence. I live on Lake Michigan as well. As for any shark attacks for people thinking they may have been attacked by a shark, there is another fish that may explain it. It is called the Great Lakes Muskie. This fish can reach lengths of over 6 feet in length and weigh as much as 70 pounds. They are very aggressive and have attacked humans swimming before as well as dogs and other small animals. This fish, more than likely, was the fish being observed in the Chicago attack mentioned in the article. People like to wishful think that sharks, or populations of sharks are in the Great Lakes. Though it may be possible that a bull shark can survive in fresh water, the cold will kill it by the end of any winter. Also, the Traverse City shark was one left on the beach by a person who stated it was "too large for his aquarium".

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a canal built around Niagara Falls for shipping, so yea, it could happen through the St. Lawrence. I live on Lake Michigan as well. As for any shark attacks for people thinking they may have been attacked by a shark, there is another fish that may explain it. It is called the Great Lakes Muskie. This fish can reach lengths of over 6 feet in length and weigh as much as 70 pounds. They are very aggressive and have attacked humans swimming before as well as dogs and other small animals. This fish, more than likely, was the fish being observed in the Chicago attack mentioned in the article. People like to wishful think that sharks, or populations of sharks are in the Great Lakes. Though it may be possible that a bull shark can survive in fresh water, the cold will kill it by the end of any winter. Also, the Traverse City shark was one left on the beach by a person who stated it was "too large for his aquarium".

Tamaryn Tobian said...

I concur with the last anonymous (I'm watching Shark Week 2009 right now.)

More than half of Lake Michigan freezes in the winter. Unless a bull shark can survive freezing temperatures I highly, highly doubt that IF any made it into the great lakes would survive long term.

Anonymous said...

The 1955 Chicago shark attack incident is well known to not have occurred. The Milwaukee incident where the two salmon fishermen found a baby shark was proven to be a hoax played out by a local tavern owner.

jakem said...

In 1979 I was on a charter boat out of Waukegan harbor that caught 2 bull sharks in Lake Michigan that day. They both bit on Coho being reeled in about 5 minutes apart. The Captain said he'd seen sharks before, but never 2 in the same day. I think Jim Nelligan was the gut who mounted one of them.

Anonymous said...

Jakem, you got any pictures of that? Not that I don't believe you, but it sure would be confirming to so photo footage.

Steven said...

I have done an extensive amount of Lake MI scuba diving in both deep and shallow water, typically around shipwrecks which make great artificial reefs and attract plenty of fish and would also attract any prolific predators. I have yet to see anything resembling a shark.

Anonymous said...

I beilve you there are sharks in Lake Michigan. Even though they build dams when they flood almost anything can get through.

Anonymous said...

I do think that sharks can be found in the great lakes because. I been to lake nicaragua in central america and the locals said something about sharks living in the lake. I even saw a dead baby one! on a beach on ometepe island. so if they can survive in a fresh water lake. of course they can survive in the great lakes in a short term, because of the cold water.

Anonymous said...

There have been studies that found that Bull sharks can and have been able to adapt to freshwater lakes. There are many instances in Australia that confirms this. as for the cold water; the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can get as cold as Lake Michigan and yet these sharks still live.

Cameron said...

It is possible for bull sharks to travel up the mississippi river and reach lake michigan. Dams can flood and sharks can swim right over them. And even though lake michigan reaches freezing temperatures, bull sharks can withstand it. They have been found swimming in the waters of Alaska. Bull sharks can reproduce in lakes and therefore could have populations in lakes. It is a scary thought but bull sharks can thrive in freshwater lakes.

jj_06_07_08 said...

You guys are funny! I live two block away from lake michigan and have lived near the lake my whole life. I have never seen anything that looks like a shark and we go boating almost every weekend in the summer. I am sure that if these sharks started a population in lake michigan there would be a lot of siteings and a lot of attacks. I do beleive that they could get up the river at one point but not any more. And if they did they would die during the winter. The ocean does get cold yes but not as cold as the lake and the ocean is a lot deeper then lake michigan also in the ocean the sharks can swim to warmer places. In the lake they would not be able to swim to such a warm place. Sorry I do not see how they could survive and I do not see how their would not be way more siteings. I will let you know if I ever see one though!

Zelda said...

After watching River Monsters I'll avoid lakes and rivers. I'd rather swim in the ocean where I know what's there!!!

Zelda said...

I grew up swimming in the ocean and after watching River Monsters I'm more scared of rivers and lakes. plus they smell!!!

Anonymous said...

After hearing a story more then once about an Arkansas dam that divers who refused to repair the dam because of catfish 6 to 9 feet long ,mouths big enough to swallow u whole. They would just hang in front of turbine discharges eating tore up fish, just getting bigger and bigger. The dam had change to mechanized repair. Never sure about that story until seeing River Monster series. Now I' m a believer. Lake Michigan sharks. 350# catfish caught in the Miss. river. 6 foot muskies. Why not sharks in lake Michigan.

Anonymous said...

After hearing a story more then once about an Arkansas dam that divers who refused to repair the dam because of catfish 6 to 9 feet long ,mouths big enough to swallow u whole. They would just hang in front of turbine discharges eating tore up fish, just getting bigger and bigger. The dam had change to mechanized repair. Never sure about that story until seeing River Monster series. Now I' m a believer. Lake Michigan sharks. 350# catfish caught in the Miss. river. 6 foot muskies. Why not sharks in lake Michigan.

Anonymous said...

People could have also introduced the sharks into Lake Michigan. They introduce Piranhas every now and then by illegally releasing them; why can't they do it with a small shark that later grew?

Anonymous said...

To the idiot who said the ocean does not get as cold as the lake: Salt water actually can drop well below freezing and not freeze due to the salt and yes during the fall and winter months of Alaska this particular species of shark has been documented and tagged in those waters.

Anonymous said...

Well i agree with the fact that they are in the rivers, and they have been seen, ive seen many pictures and videos of them myself,in the St.lawrence river.. so i do belive they are there but they arnt big, nothing to be scared of !

Anonymous said...

I heard that there was a supposed attack in Lake Michigan recently. And that the authorities are covering it up to reduce any panic by the public.

Anonymous said...

Believe me or not. I am a witness into weird animals I have seen in Lake Michigan It was me and my father driving the boat up to our spot near long beach or michigan city Indiana area. We were driving about 3 miles from the shore.. The water was very clear that day... I was infront of the boat and made my dad slow down and look.. It was big enough to be two dolphins swimming under us. We drove just fast enough to keep up.. It could have been two sharks or two dolphins we never found out but they were about 5 feet plus and they didnt look like like a fish... I use to live in indiana and go tubing knee boarding and skiing. Go there every year for the fourth of july...

Anonymous said...

Believe me or not. I am a witness into weird animals I have seen in Lake Michigan It was me and my father driving the boat up to our spot near long beach or michigan city Indiana area. We were driving about 3 miles from the shore.. The water was very clear that day... I was infront of the boat and made my dad slow down and look.. It was big enough to be two dolphins swimming under us. We drove just fast enough to keep up.. It could have been two sharks or two dolphins we never found out but they were about 5 feet plus and they didnt look like like a fish... I use to live in indiana and go tubing knee boarding and skiing. Go there every year for the fourth of july...

Anonymous said...

I dont know but never seen it n i realy dont want to run into 1 i live in holland, mi rite by lake mi n spent alot of time there never 1nce seen no shark...but not doubting their here

Anonymous said...

i saw a shark in the mid ninety in kenosha, wi about 2 foot long

A. Lovell said...

As a biology student, for those skeptical about the validity of these sightings, please keep in mind that often many species of fish are deep dwelling species that only rarely come near the surface. It is not an uncommon occurrence for an individual to live near a river for decades while never being aware or seeing many of the species that actually reside in their river system. So stating that one has not 'seen sharks' in the water is actually very poor evidence for rebuking the validity of a shark attack. The bite marks of a shark are actually very distinctive, and often the species can be individually identified by the bite wound itself. As a result, physicians would have been able to, feasibly, deduce what species of shark instigated the attack in 1955.

Also keep in mind, dam systems are not foolproof. The individual here who stated that a small population of bull sharks may have been maintained in the lake and river systems is correct. An excellent example of such a system can be found in Australia, where a 12 foot high dam ought to have been able to keep sharks out. However, a report of an attack consistent with a bullshark on a horse that had been in the river was reported. Upon investigation not only were bullsharks discovered in the river, upstream of the dam - where the sharks could not swim past - but they also found juvenile sharks, indicating that breeding was going on. This was excellent evidence for the fact that bull shark population can be sustained, from just an initial small starting number, in a river or a lake for decades without much of a problem. Additionally flooding is a consideration, when water levels rise high enough to breech a dam or levy, sharks have been reported to bypass such obstructions during those times. This is also a possibility for how the sharks in the Australian river system bypassed the 12 foot dam - the yearly flooding there.

Lastly, keep in mind that shark attacks are actually relatively rare. So even if there was a sizeable population, the chances of attacks occurring would be small. Sharks are cold blooded, and at times only need to consume 20% of their body weight in a month to survive. As such, often when humans do encounter them in the water they are actually 'not feeding' and the risk of an attack is even lower than it would ordinarily be. Add into the equation that sharks do not generally attack humans to begin with, as we are not part of their normal food source, and the fact that any population in Lake Michigan or the river systems North of the dams would most likely be a small one, and this even more greatly reduces the chance of a human-shark encounter.

In short, please before you debunk a claim of a shark attack educate yourselves as to the facts regarding sharks and their physiology. Quite often, and quite unfortunately, certain attacks have been kept quiet. While it is easy to say 'such an attack would have been newsworthy' we are forgetting one very large, simple fact: Fear of instigating a panic. In 1955 the fear that would have arisen, and negatively impacted tourism and fishing on Lake Michigan, as a result of a widespread report of a shark attack would have been staggering. This is without even considering the economic considerations in that area, as the U.S. was recovering from the Great Depression. Keeping a shark attack quiet, limited to the hospital staff and witnesses, with whichever nearby newspaper that may or may not have been aware of it, quiet would not have been as difficult then as it would have been today for those reasons alone. While it would have indeed been newsworthy, they simply may not have wanted to have instigate a panic.

A. Lovell said...

As a biologist, for those skeptical about the validity of these sightings, please keep in mind that often many species of fish are deep dwelling species that only rarely come near the surface. It is not an uncommon occurrence for an individual to live near a river for decades while never being aware or seeing many of the species that actually reside in their river system. So stating that one has not 'seen sharks' in the water is actually very poor evidence for rebuking the validity of a shark attack. The bite marks of a shark are actually very distinctive, and often the species can be individually identified by the bite wound itself. As a result, physicians would have been able to, feasibly, deduce what species of shark instigated the attack in 1955.

Also keep in mind, dam systems are not foolproof. The individual here who stated that a small population of bull sharks may have been maintained in the lake and river systems is correct. An excellent example of such a system can be found in Australia, where a 12 foot high dam ought to have been able to keep sharks out. However, a report of an attack consistent with a bullshark on a horse that had been in the river was reported. Upon investigation not only were bullsharks discovered in the river, upstream of the dam - where the sharks could not swim past - but they also found juvenile sharks, indicating that breeding was going on. This was excellent evidence for the fact that bull shark population can be sustained, from just an initial small starting number, in a river or a lake for decades without much of a problem. Additionally flooding is a consideration, when water levels rise high enough to breech a dam or levy, sharks have been reported to bypass such obstructions during those times. This is also a possibility for how the sharks in the Australian river system bypassed the 12 foot dam - the yearly flooding there.

A. Lovell said...

Part 2: Lastly, keep in mind that shark attacks are actually relatively rare. So even if there was a sizeable population, the chances of attacks occurring would be small. Sharks are cold blooded, and at times only need to consume 20% of their body weight in a month to survive. As such, often when humans do encounter them in the water they are actually 'not feeding' and the risk of an attack is even lower than it would ordinarily be. Add into the equation that sharks do not generally attack humans to begin with, as we are not part of their normal food source, and the fact that any population in Lake Michigan or the river systems North of the dams would most likely be a small one, and this even more greatly reduces the chance of a human-shark encounter.

In short, please before you debunk a claim of a shark attack educate yourselves as to the facts regarding sharks and their physiology. Quite often, and quite unfortunately, certain attacks have been kept quiet. While it is easy to say 'such an attack would have been newsworthy' we are forgetting one very large, simple fact: Fear of instigating a panic. In 1955 the fear that would have arisen, and negatively impacted tourism and fishing on Lake Michigan, as a result of a widespread report of a shark attack would have been staggering. This is without even considering the economic considerations in that area, as the U.S. was recovering from the Great Depression. Keeping a shark attack quiet, limited to the hospital staff and witnesses, with whichever nearby newspaper that may or may not have been aware of it, quiet would not have been as difficult then as it would have been today for those reasons alone. While it would have indeed been newsworthy, they simply may not have wanted to have instigate a panic.

A. Lovell said...

After reading the rest of the comments I had two last comments to make. First, for those stating that the actual 'sizes' of any sharks found in a lake would have to be small, that is actually quite inaccurate. Unless the sharks are breeding to maintain a population, with the young shark that are actually born there being small, the sharks that would be capable of taking up residence successfully in a freshwater system would have to be larger. It has to do with their regulatory capacities for salt, and the larger the bullshark, the easier it is for them to do.

Second, sharks are perfectly capable, and do, live in cold waters. Lake Michigan is by no means too cold for sharks to survive in.

Once again though, I am not stating an opinion on whether I think there are sharks in Lake Michigan or not, because that would require further research, but is it possible? Certainly.

Anonymous said...

I think the biology student just put every sceptic to shame. Research first, then run your mouth so you don't come off as an idiot. Think then talk. This is a concept for preschoolers.

Anonymous said...

Bull Sharks go upstream in freshwater to give birth (usually around mangrove trees). The baby bull sharks spend a good deal of their early life solely in fresh water - the way their renal system works allows them to stay. I live in IL & know for a fact that bull sharks are witnessed frequently just a little south of St. Louis. People need to remember: Locks & dams (and the army corp or engineers' new electric fences) were supposed to keep asian carp at bay - that didn't work.

MOOSE said...

I'm 30 years old, born and raised in Michigan and spent the better part of my life in the woods, the water and everything between. Them big wendy's some of you folks are telling is done right entertaining. There aren't any sharks! Jakem lies, because the first thing I'd be doing if I saw or caught a shark on a Great Lake would be to snap a picture for all posterity and then hire Quint to kill the shark! So keep em' coming.

MOOSE said...

I'm 30 years old, born and raised in Michigan and spent the better part of my life in the woods, the water and everything between. Them big wendy's some of you folks are telling is down right entertaining. But I can't tell if some of you idiots are joking or serious, like Jakem. This dude just nonchalantly says we caught not one, but two! Wow, man! All but 5 sharks are cold blooded which is to say their body temp matches that of their environment and out of that 5 none are even remotely capable of living in fresh water. The Bull Shark and and another less known shark are the only two. Michigan waters are cold year round but winter forget it! It isn't possible. The debate goes on I suppose. There aren't any sharks! Jakem lies, because the first thing I'd be doing if I saw or caught a shark on a Great Lake would be to snap a picture for all posterity and then hire Quint to kill the shark! So keep em' coming and the Bio Geek has been watching way too much shark week or not enough. Think cold-blooded and shark okay kid. Biology is the study of life and doesn't make you a shark expert. To all you folks out here in Mich-i-gan hello!
Later All

P.S. To Jakem and the professor I'm sorry for hakin on ya.

P.S.S I changed my mind kiss my A$$!

zgczshuc said...

From what i have read when researching the attack, their is no records of the incident actually happening, just a report in the shark attack archives which is easy to place into it. I actually think they said it came from a book?


Along with the black tip the guy admitted he brought it in from the ocean as a hoax.

Scott Goulet said...

JJ you are also an idiot. I lived both on the ocean and I now live on lake michigan, do you know how many people on the ocean have never seen a shark in person? The lot of em. Hell I know guys who live on sail boats in the ocean a block from my old house who have never seen a shark out there, yet i would go out every night and catch them. hell just went on vacation back down there a week ago and caught a couple.

I am not saying their is a population in the lake, but it is possible, they can survive the winter months, they have found them all the way up the Mississippi river in winter , water frozen and they caught a mother and 2 or three juveniles.

I believe there may be a small population in our lakes, but i dont have a problem with it at all.

Anonymous said...

The answer to this riddle is quite obvious. Somebody with a large saltwater tank released their shark in the lake. Before you omit this as an explanation think of the the species of shark. Oceanic Blacktip sharks are not known to breed up-river, so there is little reason for it to enter a river (let alone swim up the Mississippi and through locks...). Some rich dude got hold of a shark for his tank and when his wife told him to get rid of it, he just put it in the lake. I know of people (idiots) who have done this with saltwater fish they couldn't care for anymore. This happens all the time with lionfish in Florida which is why they are taking over. Remember this shark was found DEAD

Anonymous said...

To anonymous regarding the St. Lawrence Sea way - I am not sure that sharks ever made it into the great lakes but there are shipping routes that connect all of the lakes for international shipping purposes. The most difficult section for a shark to manage would be the tight shipping lock in Cornwall that bypasses the Moses Saunders Generating station. Sharks as well as a number of marine mammal species are routinely spotted in the lower St. Lawrence In Quebec.

Anonymous said...

thats cool i didnt know that could happen

Anonymous said...

Moose....your name alone tells me all I need to know. Should I listen to a biology student, or a 30 year old guy named moose who still lives with his mom. Facts or opinion?

Anonymous said...

Saying the locks make it impossible for marine fish such as the shark to travel to the Great Lakes contradicts the fact that Sea Lampreys invaded the GL's BECAUSE of the locks routing marine cargod around Niagra Falls.

Anonymous said...

Well my brother and I are trying to prove who's right and whos wrong but were going up to Traverse City today and by the way it is June 3rd 2011 Friday.... were going up to a wedding I'm going to get as much facts and proof to fine 1 thx this really helped

Anonymous said...

The locks and dams would likely stop them nowadays, but who's to say there hasn't been a small breeding population in our major rivers for decades or even hundreds of years? And what's to say they haven't made their way thru the SL Seaway to Lake O and beyond? It is very possible that there are bull sharks in LM, the water temps here reach 70 plus degrees in the hotter months and there are industrial plants and power plants such as Palisades Nuc Plant that discharge clean used water back into all the Great Lakes.....I have fished some of these discharge waters in Nov, Dec, Feb, March, Apr and registered 60 degree water.

Wali said...

" This begs the question: who keeps a two foot blacktip shark?

Who? Me! Why? They are DELICIOUS!
Better than swordfish. Some of the best fish I've ever eaten.
Alas, my passion for the fish is short lived as I recently found that they bio-accumulate Mercury faster than almost any other fish. :(
BTW: 2' would be an optimal eating size as that would be less than 1 year old. Still not recommended for children or child bearing women.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this. it was in 55!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm in awwww of lake michiagn in Chicago; as far as sharks I don't know but anything is possibe. I don't venture very far out in salt water oceans because I don't know what is next to me and would also be leary of fresh water lakes such as lake Michigan as well; they are beautiful but I will admire thier beauty from the shore thank you.

2ndCavalry said...

Sharks in Oklahoma?!!!

We have an aquarium in Jenks, near Tulsa. They have a large shark in the aquarium, which was reportedly taken from one of our lakes years ago. I heard it, reported on the news, when the aquarium opened years ago, that it was a "Bull Shark found in a nearby lake".

The Arkansas River connects with the Mississippi... I believe it is possible. I don't know if you will find anything on the web about this. Not all news (and truth) is on the web. Google is not the only source of actual truth (web surfers). Debate all you want, I think it is possible and likely that many lakes across our country have sharks.

A 60 year old Army Vet.

Reva Chickerell said...

okay honestly im with the biology student A. Lovell on this. it is known for many spices of any type to adapt to different living conditions. and i also agree with Scott Goulet. i have a cousin & his wife who have a place outside of Fort Myers, Fl. and they have lived there for many years. they have a boat and go out on the ocean every chance they get. my grandparents went there for vacations a lot of summers too. and they would rarely see a shark. my grandparents went there prolly 5 different years, have only seen 2 sharks. one bull & one tiger. and my cousin he loves sharks. knows more then anyone else i know about them. he said his whole life hes prolly only seen 15 sharks. excluding ones at aquariums & zoos and he is in his upper 60's. so yes i believe there could be sharks in Lake Michigan. i dont live anywhere near there or anyting. i live outside of Morgantown, WV. but i know many people from West Virginia University who have went diving in the lake. i've seen pictures, i dont have any of my own. these people have long moved away on their carriers but me & many others have seen them. and yes i do believe it because the pictures show what looks to me like a shark.

so before you go making any thoughts of your own. look at facts and things found through out the years. and new studies and things shown on sharks. shark week is something to watch, but do your own research even. you may learn something you never knew. okay thank you.

reva c.

Anonymous said...

Anything is possible. Who would have thought sharks could live in fresh water? Now we are questioning / arguing which locations they can be found in. Go back to the fist guy that said sharks live in fresh water! Wonder what a forum would look like then, see a pattern, and how many years did it take to find and figure this one out, the last 100 years. Time will tell where, when and how many.. I say plausible .. Fact!

Anonymous said...

Um to those of you saying it's too cold? It does not freeze all the way to the bottom, the bottom stays pretty well the same temp all yr. How do you think regular fish survive winter in a farm pond?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you guys on there being sharks in LM its big enough for many sharks to be there and never get noticed ! And for you guys out there saying its to cold your so wrong I hope your the next guy to get a chunk taken out of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you guys on there being sharks in LM its big enough for many sharks to be there and never get noticed ! And for you guys out there saying its to cold your so wrong I hope your the next guy to get a chunk taken out of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm a believer that a shark could live in any of the great lakes. Summer is easy to explain and during the winter all the shark would have to do is hang out by a warm water supply such a a power generating station and there are quite a few warm water outlets around the lakes to choose from. There are multitudes of corase fish that hang around there, all year round.
Sharks can adapt fairly quickly to changing feeding habits. I doubt theres a breeding population but I wouldn't doubt that there are sharks on the prowl (most likely placed by people with bad intentions).

Anonymous said...

is that photo of the alton IL shark? if so, i must question the "five feet long" comment, as based upon appearance, that would mean the men in the photo were over 7 feet tall.

Anonymous said...

As long as there is a good food supply in the lakes a bull shark wouldn't need to go anywhere near humans. So I'm not surprised that sightings are very rare.

As for lake Michigan being too cold for sharks,keep in mind that bull sharks are the most adaptable of all sharks and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that they thrive in cold as well as warm water. They HAVE been seen in a lot of places where you would never suspect a shark could survive.

Anonymous said...

I go and swim in Lake Michigan every summer! I don't want to be attacked!

Anonymous said...

I just read every comment here and some of you are clueless... BullSHARKS can survive in extremely low temperatures winter would not be an issue for this species. Also scientist and extreme anglers have been tracking and catching bull sharks up fresh water rivers all over, including mississippi up to where it hits lake michigan.. scientist have also learned recently that there are places in australia where colonies of bull sharks have been stuck inland behind dams for 100 years but were just recently discovered. There's research happening right now that is also showing bull sharks may actually like fresh water more and they have more electro receptor pores then any other shark which means merkey river water is just as easy for them to hunt in then cleat salt water..remember fish can remain undetected for years in large bodies of water. Even more so when they have a large natural food supply making it unnesessary to swim to shallower water to feed.

Anonymous said...

I have, too, heard of the St. Lawrence as an entryway for the Great Lakes, although more specifically to Lake Huron. Bull Sharks have been know to be found hundreds of miles up this river, although I have not heard about reports of attacks on humans.

Anonymous said...

I live on the east coast Australia, and do a lot of land based game fishing. I've seen Bull sharks so thick in the river here, they were jumping over each other to get out of the way. The biggest Bull Sharks here are permenant residents in in the fresh water where the snow melt runs into the river. I watched a 2.5m shark stalk my mate in fresh water while he was waiting to be picked up by a ski boat.

Anonymous said...

To the biology student did u just watch river monsters or did u do ur own research?

Anonymous said...

Ok this is a debate that will go on and on. the thing is there is a lot that we just dont know to be true or or not. i have lived in Michigan my hole life and in that time many things have been discovered a few years back in my home town south of lansing i had spotted a Cougar in the woods no one believed me and made fun of me, I stuck to it and just told my story to everyone I talked to. About 3 years later a mile from my house a horse was attacked by a cougar and a couple houses done the same day a person got the cougar on film. about 2 months or so later the Dnr released to the news that there is a breading population of over 1500 of them in this area. These cougars are native to this area but even our own government had not known they were here because they had just not been seen or when they had been seen no one believed it. The Dnr asked all hunters to keep an eye out for the cougars and signs of them and took all reports mapped them out did all the math and made the michigan cougar a protected animal. So that being said if there are sharks in the great lakes chances are no one will see them and if they do no one will believe them anyway. So as soon as someone catches one or a few people get attacked within the same year (not that i would ever wish that on anyone). Its up to you to use your own judgement and believe or disbelieve either way the great lakes are safe and beautiful just a all out asset to this country

Anonymous said...

As a marine biologist based out of Tampa Bay area Florida I am continually astounded by the publics lack of education and their generally dismissive nature regarding this matter. When I was a student many many years ago I wrote a paper regarding the population of sharks in the Great Lakes and their river systems also including the Chesapeake Bay System where sharks have been regularly caught within 3-5 miles of the mouth of the Susguehanna River. Other shark species, Greenland for one example, have been documented and filmed in the Great Lakes. It is well known to the scientific community that these populations of sharks do exist and thrive in the Great Lakes as well as most major river systems. It is also commonly believed that they hold little or no threat to humans. Bull sharks are very aggresive its true. Out of all animals the bull shark carries more testosterone in its blood than any other known species. This being said though you are still more likely to drown of a cramp or a freak current rather than a shark attack. All locks and dams on both the Mississippi and St. Lawrence are capable and have been traversed by various fish species. Regarding water temp. conditions, this matters little based on the finds and indications of studies done by marine bios. in Alaska and Nova Scotia. The surface temp. of a lake can be very different than that of the same water at a depth of 800ft. In conclusion the sharks are here, they've always been here. Long before you they were here and long after you they'll still be here. They are a vital part of a river, lake and oceans eco-system. Without predators to cull the sick and old the salmon, trout and other game species would soon die. Hope this was helpful. PS>>>don't swim at night and if you do don't splash alot!!! Haha!

nessie said...

OK, I'm taking the "bait"!

Just to clarify the important "take away" for anyone visiting the article:

There are no sharks or shark attacks in Lake Michigan

... Period. End of story. Nothing to see here, move along. Sounds like a sweeping statement? I'll address that below.

Listen, I love sharks and scary shit as much as the next guy and have entertained the notion of Great Lakes sharks, however, a lot of neat ideas just ain't so. Why? Evidence... Though the comments are rife with it, I'm going to resist offering any anecdotal musings based on my 40yr of swimming, fishing and sailing Lake Michigan, because it neither proves nor debunks anything.

Evidence... How much is there for Michigan/Huron sharks? Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. In this blog post and comments I see the citations of "the newspaper" (what newspaper?), a Super Scary Shark Attack Book from 1976 (weird, 1yr after JAWS) and a few TeeVee shows which cite above cited Super Scary Shark Attack Book! Oh, and a couple of admitted hoaxes. Compelling indeed.

Fortunately the comments section was visited by two experts. Academics no less! They submitted as evidence: umm, errr (cricket sounds) umm, nothing? Well, at least the one guy wrote a research paper you can find, umm, well, who knows where? What ever happened to "publish or perish"? Hell, ya know what? This here's a research paper I'm writing and I'm gonna cite it below to support my argument. Believe it! The other guy dug deep and came to the irresistible conclusion that a cover up CONSPIRACY must be at work! Ya know, just like the one in JAWS, "Chief Brody, you can't close the beaches! It's the 4th!". Is there a single expert anywhere (with a name) willing to stake their career on this? Call me a stickler, I know.

Ok, ok, an anecdote. I live in Chicago. Saw a coyote last week by the river, took a picture. No one cares, there all over the place. A cougar was shot in "Roscoe Village" a few yr ago. It made all the papers and the evening news to boot. I wonder what would happen if there was a shark attack? No, I don't wonder, it would be an international media sensation that the Mayor, the CPD and CIA all rolled into a single super hero would not be able to stop.

Seriously. No big 'ol 20 pound Coho bitten in half at the end of the line with teeth stuck in 'em? No carcasses washing up on the beach. No yappy lap dogs disappearing in the surf? No pictures/video? No turds, no nothing?

Could a shark get into the Great Lakes? Sure, I could go down and throw one in there right now. And ya know what, I bet one could actually swim up the river system into the lake. And I bet at some time one probably has, at least briefly. But ya know what else, that's entirely my speculation. In the mean time I'll spend my time not playing the lottery for the same reason I'm not too worried about sharks around here.

Tomorrow who know? The lakes could be teaming with a breeding population of bull sharks ripping peoples appendages off left and right. It's within the *realm* of possibility, barely. Anyway, I'd love to be the first to catch one.

Now getting hit in the head by an Asian Carp at 25kts -- that will be much less controversial.

Anonymous said...

Blacktip or blacktip reef shark is a real possibility. Who keeps such a thing? Well... aquarists who have a flare for the exotic, a bit of a budget, and not much common sense. Like this guy: http://youtu.be/CP60qmCvuhM

Such species do turn up at live fish stores from time to time, at rather modest sizes, tempting aquarists to buy them. Because... heck. The old wive's tale is that the fish only grows to the size of its tank. But, no... that shark will keep getting bigger, outgrowing what most aquarists can provide, and probably eating him out of house and home (and any tankmates).

Suffice to say, the blacktip and blacktip reef shark are EXCEEDINGLY easy to distinguish from a bull shark, and are not at all known for the sorts of upriver expeditions that bull sharks are.

Your bull shark attack in Lake Michigan is an urban legend, by the way, despite the statements of imaginary marine biologists.

Anonymous said...

I helped build Some locks on a river in Arkansas' technically it would not at all be difficult for any fish(or shark) to swim up past the locks. Just wait untill the gates open and swim up into the channel, then swim up to the next set of gates,and so on.

Anonymous said...

Gee anonymous, you are extremely convinced that the nisgra falls will stop sharks, but HOW do ocean freighters get into the great lakes? How did sea lampreys invade and almost destroy the great lakes? How can you be so convinced and so stupid?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Moose for making every single Michigan native look like a dumbass.

Anonymous said...

Check you tube - Great White shark in Lake Huron - 07/11/2012.

Looks like a bull shark to me.

As long as it is Lake Huron - there's the proof!!

Anonymous said...

I heard San Jose has sharks too ...

NORTH AMERICAN LAW's said...

North American Law States NO publicity shall b granted within the great lakes to deter tourism and this includes all accounts of shark interactions. You will not find any stories due to this reason. It is NOT a public law. Now you know... if you are itnerested to find out this law, contact your local parliament/gov't and request a copy of this law.

Anonymous said...

The shark found in "Lake Huron" is actually in the Carolinas somewhere on a brackish waterway. We have a "river" in Brevard County Florida that is mostly salt-water and I've caught sharks in it.

Anonymous said...

I live in Michigan, I don't know about many on here but when I was probably 10 or 12 my family went to a lake in Michigan. The water was murky and I loved to swim, going as far out as I could. Now this lake was more of a large pond but manmade never the less. I swam around for almost two hours, I never wanted to get out. After getting out to eat lunch I was anxious to get back into the water. As a kid I was not an idiot when it came to animals, I actually studied them a lot. I still do, however, when I went back into the water I swam out maybe 15-20 feet from the shore. I was just swimming in place enjoying the water. I had my legs spread a good three feet attempting to be a crab near the top of the water, once I went to close my legs I felt sandpaper between my inner thighs. I swear I felt a dorsal fin, the only thing that ran through my mind was shark. I stayed calm and once I couldn't feel the sandpaper anymore I swam as fast as I could to the shore and absolutely refused to go back into the water. After that it scared me so badly that I have to fully trust anyone I swim with. I can and have had panic attacks in the water. What I felt I am certain was more likely a shark. Manmade is not always safe, the lake had a river connected to it. I was told by the lifeguard that there was not a shark in the water and he refused to even listen to me. Animals are my life and I KNOW my animals.

Lee Shin said...

spot on with this write-up, i like the way you discuss the things. i'm impressed, i must say. i'll probably be back again to read more. thanks for sharing this with us.

Lee Shin
www.trendone.net

Jane W. said...

Well, a lot of people say this isn't true. . I don't want to be the one to be attacked by a shark when I swim in Lake Michigan. . . so it's good to be aware. #JustSaying Plus it's good to remember that it isn't impossible for sharks to make their way to Lake Michigan. . .it's just the fact that getting attacked by one would be very unlikely. Plus that is a very good point about keeping it quiet because of the affects it might have on tourism in 1955. Like I said earlier, it's good to be aware that it is possible, though unlikely, and I don't want to be the one with my leg ripped off or my life lost because I wasn't aware of that possibility. If it did happen to me, I guarantee the entire world would know about it. Forget tourism.

Anonymous said...

What the fuck does that matter because u didn't see it means it doesnt exist?

Keith Kopinski said...

Theres Greenland sharks in St Lawrence. Filmed and documented. They could easily be in Great Lakes. They are bottom dwellers though

William Ashcraft said...

Small Black tip sharks are kept as pets too. So someone might have dumped a pet into the lake when it got too big for their tank. A stupid thing to do yes, but people so a lot of stupid things.

Anonymous said...

A shark could come up the St Lawrence as far as Ontario. But Nigara Falls would be a bitch to swim upstream on the way to Lake Erie.

Anonymous said...

Asian carp sure had no problem gettin through all those locks and dams. Now you have to go boating with a football helmet.

Anonymous said...

I fish for muskies the world record is 57 inches and was estimated at 67 lbs but they rarely get larger than 55 inches and 45 lbs they dont have the jaw power cabable to grab and pull somebody under. The teeth on a muskie are only an eighth inch long, which yeah that hurts when you stick your hand in the wrong spot, but will not sever limbs. A muskie is not responcible