Since 1889, there have been well over 100 documented sightings of the Flathead Lake Monster. Many depict the creature as a large fish, but most describe the monster as a snake-like creature, measuring 30 to 40 feet in length with large steely black eyes. The serpent form protrudes from the surface with several bumps and Shark-like fins.

Throughout the years, witnesses have included a Lake County Judge and a steamboat with 100 passengers. All 100 passengers and the boat’s captain claimed to have seen the creature. Several fishermen have recorded the serpent on their fish sonar.

Flathead Lake supports a healthy population of White Sturgeon. Many residents claim the Flathead Monster to be nothing more than the occasional Sturgeon. As a boy, I remember the tales from fishermen. Stories about enormous Sturgeon swimming up alongside their canoe with eyes like large dinner plates. Fish as long or longer than their canoe. If you walk across the bridge on a clear day, you can see giant Squawfish lined up on the river bottom. The large bottom feeders sit in the strong current and wait for food to pass within their reach.

It’s illegal to fish from the bridge, but I tried it once as a teenager. Using 20-pound test fishing line, I dropped a nightcrawler directly in front of a Squawfish. The fish took the bait and then proceeded to snap my line like it was nothing. Lesson learned; I walked back to the beach.

Most of the local Flathead Lake residents accept the creature as real, but opinions vary as to its identity. Created after the last ice age, Flathead Lake is a natural freshwater lake and is approximately 10,000 years old. Everything about that body of water is beautiful, and the fishing is fantastic. If you ever get up to Northwestern Montana, I recommend driving through Missoula and then North. When you reach Polson, you’re there. You cannot miss the lake. Just look for a body of crystal clear water dotted with islands stretching over the horizon for 28 miles.

Joseph Shanklin

July 27, 2021

5 thoughts on “Growing Up On The Reservation [Flathead Lake Monster]

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