American fish in the piranha family, in the St. Vrain River near Meadow Park. Hains, who lives on the banks of the river adjacent to the park, says the boys saw the fish languishing in the water near the head-gate of the irrigation ditch, which crosses his property. Thinking it was a trout, and wanting to put it back in the current so it could thrive, the boys reached down and caught the fish by hand! Once Grandpa told them “That ain’t no trout, it looks like a piranha!” the boys “freaked,” dropped the fish, and got a five-gallon bucket to recapture the fish. Using the internet, the group of intrepid fishermen were able to identify, and then confirm with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, that it was indeed a pacu; a common aquarium fish in the piranha family, but without the formidable set of teeth, nor the aggressive reputation.
Hains figures either the fish outgrew its tank, or someone who was moving decided to “free Willy” and released the fish into the river. Never a good idea, to release an exotic species into an eco-system, a better solution would have been to call the Humane Society, or perhaps a large pet store chain, and allow them to take the fish and adopt it out. As it turns out, with all the commotion about finding a “piranha” in the river, a young boy who was enjoying a day in the park, offered to take the fish home for his aquarium, and Hains agreed. Mountain lions in the neighborhoods, and piranhas in the river! Scheeeeze, what’s a person to do?