Sharks In Illinois

The Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes describes the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) as an aggressive shark that reaches 10 feet in length and has been known to attack man. Its range extends as far up the Mississippi River as Alton, Illinois.


According to the Illinois Department of Conservation, two commercial fishermen from Alton, Herbert Cope and Dudge Collins, caught a bull shark in 1937. They found something troubling their wood and mesh traps late that summer. Concluding that it was a fish, they built a strong wire trap and baited it with chicken guts.

The next morning, they caught a 5-foot 84-pound shark, which they displayed in the Calhoun Fish Market where it attracted crowds for days. Although some folks suspected a hoax, the catch was considered authentic. Biologists later concluded from photos that it was a bull shark. Recently, Clint Smith of Alton supplied an old photo of the catch, with the present-day ADM flourmill in the background.

Bull sharks can live a long time in freshwater. In 1972, one was caught 2,500 miles up the Amazon. The journey from New Orleans to Alton is about 1,750 miles. Dams now prevent sharks from entering Illinois. Sharks in Illinois? Not anymore.


Recommended for You

Bass

Deep Cranking Confessions from the Pro's

John Neporadny Jr - December 18, 2017

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues.

Bass

10 Best Bass Fishing States In America

Matt Straw - November 01, 2017

Which of the ten is the best? You decide.

Recipes

Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad Recipe

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free...

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Other Fish

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

See More Stories

More News

News

Potential MN State Record Burbot Caught on Lake of the Woods

Jeff Simpson - February 29, 2012

Aaron Guthrie of Bemidji may have caught himself a new state-record fish.

News

Potential World Record Lake Trout Returned To Canada

In-Fisherman Online Staff - March 03, 2014

A potential world record lake trout caught from the Ontario side of Lac la Croix by a northern...

News

New World Record Muskie

In-Fisherman - February 20, 2013

Check out this massive muskie from Michigan!

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×