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‘Fishy’ mystery: Utah family discovers 16 dead fish in their backyard

Aug 4, 2023, 2:51 PM | Updated: 3:03 pm

FRUIT HEIGHTS, Davis County — It’s a mystery that literally came out of the blue in Davis County—more than a dozen dead fish that somehow found themselves in a man’s backyard and on the roof of his shed.

Clark Jones said he initially thought Wednesday’s powerful thunderstorms—which featured high winds and copious amounts of rain—perhaps had something to do with the 16 fish his family discovered Thursday morning.

“I knew it was going to be a big rain but I had no idea it was going to be, you know, biblical proportions,” Jones quipped during an interview with KSL TV. “I ended up sending an email to KSL Weather to see if maybe there was a funnel cloud or water spout.”

KSL 5 meteorologist Kevin Eubank said that could be a possible explanation but he also believed it was unlikely.

“We didn’t have a tornado,” Eubank said. “We didn’t have that type of a lifting event last night in that area that would be a likely cause to lift and distribute something like a fish.”

Jones said there were also no bodies of water nearby that could have washed the fish into the yard and that certainly wouldn’t have explained the two fish on the roof of the shed.

After reviewing photos taken by Jones’ family, biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said they believed the fish were either carp or even a species of koi or goldfish from someone’s private pond.

According to a spokesperson, the biologists believed it was possible birds like pelicans, herons or cormorants could have caught them and then dropped them in the wind and storm event.

“There have been instances where animals that transport something get shocked by lightning,” Eubank added. “They do—they drop things that they’d picked up.”

Still, Eubank questioned how all the fish would have wound up in one particular yard and not spread further across the area.

When a KSL TV crew knocked the doors of multiple neighbors Thursday, nobody else had discovered dead fish on their properties.

“I’ve never seen anything but water fall out of the sky,” Jones said. “(I’m) still trying to figure out how they got here.”

Jones also acknowledged the possibility of a prank, but based on the size and the configuration of his backyard, he said neighbors or any other pranksters would have had to “catapult” the fish into his backyard.

He hoped he would eventually be able to come up with answers or an explanation for what happened.

“To me, it speaks to either a funnel cloud or maybe a flock of birds decided to purge themselves in my backyard,” Jones said. “People have been praying for rain. We got rain and fertilizer.”

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‘Fishy’ mystery: Utah family discovers 16 dead fish in their backyard