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A big fish mystery in Milton - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A big fish mystery in Milton

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MILTON, Vt. -

Some came to take pictures. Others just wanted to see it.

"Look at the size of the eye on that thing!" one said.

A fish out of water is reeling in spectators along the Lamoille River. But this is not just any fish.

"The only time I've ever seen a fish that big is in an aquarium," Dan St. Hilaire said.

This fishy story started with a tip to Milton police after a fisherman spotted something suspicious near the Hydro Dam.

"In the picture, it actually only looked like it was about an 8-inch fish, so I decided I'd go down there and check it out. And when I got there, I saw this massive 45-, 46-inch long fish," Milton Police Ofc. Ed Larente said.

A picture just doesn't do this fish justice. I wanted to give you some perspective of just how big this guy is. All I could find in the car was an umbrella. So it will work. If you put it from tail to tip, it's about the length of this entire fish.

Larente instantly knew something wasn't right. Milton police posted the bizarre discovery to their Facebook page and 650 comments and 1,500 shares later, people had all kinds of theories.

"I couldn't believe it," Matt King said.

King fishes here all the time and has never seen anything like it.

"Amazing," he said. "It's definitely nothing from around here. Can't be."

"It's definitely weird," Vt. Game Warden Robert Currier said. "It's definitely something you don't see every day."

Vermont Fish and Wildlife called in its biologists to crack the case.

"I've come to find out it's an opah, which is a saltwater fish," Currier said. "It's nothing native to the state of Vermont or freshwater."

Opahs or moonfish are native to Hawaii. They're considered prized trophies for deep water anglers. So how did this saltwater delicacy end up dead 5,000 miles from home?

"It was dropped there by an employee of a seafood company," Currier said.

They're not saying who. But we found out Black River Produce posted a photo on Facebook of our mystery fish at a recent food expo in Burlington.

"Some employees managed to bring it home with them and they played a joke on one of their colleagues and put it in his car. He got home and found it there. So, he got rid of it by putting it there," Larente said.

No one is getting in trouble but the state reminds folks non-native species can spread disease in our waterways.

Ofc. Ed Larente: It's kind of cool.

Reporter Jennifer Costa: It's a good fish tale.

Ofc. Ed Larente: Yeah, it is.

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