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Flathead Lake Monster - Montana's "Nessie"

Flathead Lake Monster

The Flathead Lake Monster is a cryptid, a creature whose existence is now not proven, that is said to be located in Flathead Lake in Montana. Its look is very comparable to that of the Loch Ness Monster, and the two have regularly been said to be the same kind of creature.

The legend was born in 1889 when the skipper and passengers on a steamer by the name of the U.S. Grant noticed a large whale-like creature in front of the boat, which they first assumed was nothing more than a floating log. As they got closer, they were surprised to see the object was alive and swimming from side to side. The close proximity to the creature frightened several passengers and one responded by pulling out his rifle and shooting at it. The shot was said to miss, but was enough to startle the creature, which immediately dove into the water below.

Flathead Lake Location

Flathead Lake Montana
This lake in the northwestern corner of Montana is said to be the home of large lake monster. The freshwater Flathead Lake is the largest lake to be found in the state of Montana and was formed by a glacial damming of the connecting Flathead River. It boasts 22 different types of fish species and a wide array of aquatic plants and has become a popular recreation spot for many boaters and anglers alike. Given its size of 28 miles long and 15 miles wide, with a depth of over 380 feet, it should be no surprise that many believe it is also the home of an elusive creature.

Montana's "Nessie"

Loch Ness Monster from Montana
Since the first sighting in 1889, there have been up to 79 further reported sightings through 1995. Almost all of the reports have the same description of a serpent-like creature from 20 to 40 feet in length, with the head of a snake and the body of an eel. It is believed to be bluish-black to brown in color and swims in a wavy motion. Of the reported sightings, a small minority describe a large-sized fish from 6 to 10 feet in length and similar to a white sturgeon. Sightings have come from locals and tourists alike, with a mass majority being reputable members of the society and not the type to make up stories. The creature has earned the nickname of "Montana's Nessie" by the locals in a reference to the infamous creature believed to dwell in Scotland's Loch Ness.

Is Flathead Lake Monster Maybe a Giant Sturgeon?

Giant Sturgeon

While many claim the creature might be nothing more than a large sturgeon, believers point to the fact that there are no records of sturgeon appearing in the lake. In attempt to solve the mystery, the company Big Fish Unlimited announced a cash reward in the 1950s to anyone who caught a sturgeon in Flathead Lake. It appeared to work when on May 28, 1955, an angler by the name of C. Leslie Griffith came forward with a 7-foot-6-inch, 181-pound white sturgeon that he claimed to pull from the lake. The catch generated a lot of buzz, but many people doubted his story and claimed that the fish was actually caught elsewhere and brought to Flathead Lake. There are reports that a biologist from the University of Montana examined the contents of the fish's stomach and determined that it had really come from a separate river. However, Griffith stuck with his story and even testified under oath that the fish came out of the lake during a trial contesting ownership of the fish. Today, the sturgeon can be seen at the nearby Polson-Flathead Historical Museum.

Monster Sightings in 1993

Flathead Lake Monster Sightings in 1993
Though there have been scattered reports over the years, 1993 proved to be an active year in Flathead Lake Monster sightings. In total, there were thirteen different reported sightings of the creature throughout the year. On a sighting on May 24, someone reported seeing two separate creatures swimming together in the Big Arm Bay area of the lake. In that case, the two branched off in different directions and one was reportedly much larger than the other. The possibility that there are multiple creatures in the lake would explain other sightings later that year, when two different groups of people would report seeing the creature within 25 minutes of one another, but over 15 miles apart. Most of the sightings of 1993 were accompanied by the report of large schools of fish around the creature that were jumping out of the water, apparently in attempt to escape it.

The Flathead Monster Today

There are still scattered reports of sightings of the Flathead Lake Monster to this day. On August 18, 1998, an angler on the lake reported seeing a large object tailing a lake trout that he was pulling in. On July 28, 2005, a couple was relaxing on an anchored boat when they heard splashing that caught their attention. They turned to watch a creature they estimated to be 25-feet long swimming 75 to 100 yards away from them. They described it as having dark-colored skin with several rounded humps that rose up to two feet out of the water as it swam. Most sightings seem to be focused on the western side of the lake, with a good number coming from the areas on the lake known as Skidoo Bay, Polson Bay, and The Narrows. If you travel to the area, keep alert because you never know what you might see.

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