Flathead Lake Monster

Witnesses describe the Flathead Lake Monster, said to inhabit northwestern Montana’s Flathead Lake, as more than ten feet long. Some have reported as many as three humps on its back. Since it was first observed in 1889, seventy-eight sightings have been recorded by the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

During 1993, a near-record eleven encounters occurred. On August 18, 1998, in the vicinity of Gravel Bay, just north of Skidoo Bay, on the lake’s eastern shore, an unusually large animal was spotted. Jim Vashro, regional fisheries manager for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Kalispell, got the report from an anonymous angler. As the angler reeled in a small lake trout from 120 feet down, a large form, judged to be several feet long, was visible for a few seconds tracking the hooked fish as it neared the surface. Vashro told the Billings (Montana) Gazette the “shape… and tail fin were characteristic of a sturgeon.”

Was it a sturgeon? Was it the Flathead Lake Monster? Vashro said that of the department’s record of sightings, no fewer than twenty-five fit the description of a white sturgeon. The other fifty-three reports, again according to Vashro, generally describe “a creature greater than ten feet long”—even up to sixty feet long—characterized by “humps and smooth skin” whose shape is “snake-like or eel-like.”

“Something certainly seems to be going on,” Vashro said. “Very credible people have seen something variously described as a large fish or some kind of monster-like creature, usually quite long in length.”


The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark