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Are There Sharks in Lake Tahoe? Let’s See!

Are There Sharks in Lake Tahoe? Let’s See!

Lake Tahoe attracts tourists and year-round residents alike. Its clear blue pure waters offer a playground for boaters and anglers.

Along the inhabited shores of Lake Tahoe, you will find full-time residents and vacationers. Lake Tahoe has a reputation for its beautiful waters and resorts, and people flock here year-round.

Deemed the highest Lake of its size in the United States, Lake Tahoe’s surface is at an altitude of 6229 feet. It is also the second deepest lake.

Lake Tahoe has a depth of 1640 feet and results from a ground fault over two million years ago.

Afterward, the glaciers moving south carved the land around it, and a volcano provided a dam from cooled lava. The result is glacial melt, snow runoff, and the filling of the vast cavity.

There are many varieties of game fish in Lake Tahoe, and you can read on to find are there sharks in Lake Tahoe.


Are there sharks in Lake Tahoe?

The thing is, sharks cannot live in Lake Tahoe because the water there is too cold. The rumor of sharks in Lake Tahoe came about in 2016 because of a man, a GoPro camera in a waterproof box, and a blurry photograph. The photos he took in one particularly deep section of Lake Tahoe showed a large fish, and the legend began. 


The Habitat of Sharks

Lake Tahoe can reach temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months. Although sharks can live in this cold water, they prefer water temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are many fish in Lake Tahoe, but no one has ever caught or clearly photographed a shark that came from those waters. With a depth of 1640 feet, there are very few photos of the bottom of the Lake.

The intent of Chase Petley in 2016 was to photograph the landscapes below the waters of the Lake. However, he did not expect a photo of what appeared to be a shark and the excitement it would cause.

Specialists concurred that the fish he photographed that eventful day was likely a very, very large Lake Trout. With water that deep, the old-timer could have been cruising around on the bottom of Lake Tahoe for a very long time.


What Kind of Fish call Lake Tahoe Home

Lake Tahoe is home to Rainbow, Lake, Brown, and Lahontan cutthroat trout, Bluegill, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Brown Bullhead, Bluegill, and several other species of fish.

What are strangely missing from any list are sharks of any variety.

Lake Tahoe offers some of the best inshore fishing in the country, so there have been thousands of people dropping hooks in the waters of the Lake.

However, since no one has ever claimed to catch a shark in the Lake, the odds are there has never been one there.

How could a shark get into the lake, anyway? Lake Tahoe is located on the Nevada and California border, a long way from the ocean. Even a bird would have trouble flying from the coast to the Lake to deposit a shark.


There are No Sharks in Lake Tahoe, but There are Some Giant Fish

One of the largest game fish ever caught in Lake Tahoe is a Rainbow Trout that weighed 11.67 pounds and 30 inches in length. That is hardly the behemoth filmed in 2016, but it is the record for a Rainbow Trout pulled from Lake Tahoe.

Not to be outdone, there is a recent record of a 17.3-pound Mackinaw that was pulled from the Lake. Although both of these fish are large, they are very different from the size of what was thought to be a bull shark in 2016.

Bull sharks prefer shallow coastal waters. However, they have been known to find their way into rivers, lagoons, and harbors.

Although they can live in freshwater, as sharks of the Genus Glyphis can, they prefer the salt of ocean water.

Bull sharks have a stout, thick body and blunt, rounded snout. It is easy to see how a large lake trout could be confused with a bull shark.


There are More Than just Fish at the Bottom of Lake Tahoe

Coldwater will preserve the human body for a very long time. There have been several bodies pulled from the depths of Lake Tahoe.

And, the events have caused a lot of speculation about how many might be down there.

Man has occupied Lake Tahoe for millennia. Therefore, the odds of a body or a few at the bottom of the Lake are not out of the question.

However, several have been recovered over the years, and they are well preserved due to the Lake’s cold water.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Presence of Sharks in Lake Tahoe


Why do people think that there are sharks in Lake Tahoe, anyway?

When Mr. Petley took his photo in 2016, it made headlines. The resulting interest began then, and the story was passed along, as all good stories are.


If there are Sharks in Lake Tahoe, No One has Caught One Yet

On the odd chance that someone caught a shark in Lake Tahoe, the news would travel across the country faster than a lightning strike. The oddity of such an event would astound scientists and anglers alike.

At this time, the bottom of Lake Tahoe has not been fully explored. Its extreme depth will require professionals with the right equipment to plumb the depths of the Lake and learn what is down there.

Stay tuned! There may be a new Loch Ness mystery brewing.