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Flathead Lake Monster

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Flathead Lake, Montana (photo by Matthew MacManes)

The Flathead Lake Monster is an eel-like aquatic creature living in the Flathead Lake in Northwest Monatana, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi river. The lake is 27.3 miles long, 15.5 miles wide and has a maximum depth of 370.7 feet. The average depth is 164.7 feet and it covers 191.5 square miles.


Contents

Origins

The first recorded sighting is attributed to a lake steamer captained by James C Kerr. The story tells of a large creature ramming the boat at a high speed. A "quick draw" passenger fired on the creature, and it submerged beneath the boat, disappearing as quickly as it appeared, leaving a stream of ripples. He referred to it as a large, black whale-like creature.

Description

It is most often described as a large eel-shaped creature that can vary in length from 10 to 40 feet. It is said by those who describe this length as being round and brown to blue-black in color. When seen closely it has very steely black eyes and moves in a snake like fashion. There have also been several witnesses who have described it as a whale-like animal with a grayish epidermis and barbed like fins, a less mysterious description matches that of a large lake sturgeon.

This description seems confirmed by a story from May 1955 when a fisherman claims to have caught a similiar creature fishing. The trophy after a five hour battle was an 8 foot long, 181 pound sturgeon that can still be seen in the Polson Flathead Historical Museum. Many skeptics and cryptozoologists believe the large fish in questions was artificially introduced from a larger body of water.

Sightings

A giant sturgeon, one possible theory put forward

There are many stories from those who've seen the creature in the cold mountain lake. The most reported sightings were in the year of 1993, when it's said an out of state banker caught a few seconds of a large dark object breaking the surface of the water. He described is as a large creature with the head of a sturgeon on the body of an eel. The most recent sighting of this curious lake creature was in August 1998. A seasoned trout fisherman who was reeling in a small fish up from around 120 feet deep and reported a large sturgeon like fish following the catch, before breaking off at the surrface and disappearing back into the chilly depths of the lake. Unfortunately there have been no reported sightings since.

Theories

Sturgeons

Sturgeons are large, "living fossils" that normally range from 3-5 feet and can weight 10 to 80 pounds. They're freshwater fish that are colored olive brown to dark grey on the back and sides with a white belly, with sharp bony ridges along it's back and sides. They are bottom feeders that are occasionally seen feeding in shallows and around the mouth of rivers. They are a reare site and can be startling when seen. They are most famous for their caviar, but are also caught for their meat and oil, they are known to leave large holes in fishing nets.

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