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Witnesses have described the Flathead Lake Monster as being more than ten feet long, and some have reported as many as three humps on its back while swimming along the surface of the water.

Flathead Lake is the largest lake west of the Mississippi River if you consider Red Lake and Lake of the Woods to be north of the Mississippi rather than west of it. With a surface area of nearly two hundred square miles, Flathead Lake has a surface area slightly larger than Lake Tahoe. Its maximum depth is 370 feet, deeper than the average depths of the Yellow Sea or the Persian Gulf. Located in northwestern Montana, between Kalispell and Polson, the lake includes several islands.

It is said to be one of the most active bodies of water for lake monsters in North America, with traditions that seem to involve two separate types of cryptids.

The creature that is sometimes known as Flattie or Montana Nessie can be traced to Native American legends.

The first reported sighting of the lake monster by a European-American was by Captain James Kern in 1889. He reported encountering a whale-sized creature while piloting a steamboat across the lake. Another sighting was made from a steamboat in 1919. Since then, several reports have been made to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. By 1998, there were seventy-eight reports on file. Eleven sightings were reported in 1993, and in 1998 a fisherman reporting seeing an unusually large animal in the water, which he estimated to be several feet long. His description of the creature's shape and tail fin might have fit that of a sturgeon, as have some of the other reports that have made.

Although some reports were of a creature resembling a whale, most were of a snake-like creature, from twenty to sixty feet in length, and characterized by humps and smooth skin, which would not correspond to that of a sturgeon or whale.

The majority of the reports received described a creature more akin to that of the Loch Ness Monster.

The lake has a large population of sturgeon, although others insist that there are no sturgeon in Flathead Lake. Nevertheless, the largest known sturgeon in Montana was seven feet, six inches, weighing a hundred and eighty-one pounds. Caught in 1955, it was displayed in the Polson-Flathead Historical Museum. If indeed, Flathead Lake does have a significant population of sturgeon, this might account for at least some of the sightings.

Millions of years ago, the area was covered by an inland sea that was inhabited by sharks and other very large fish, as well as by swimming reptiles. Might some of these creatures survived, evolving to become a freshwater creature? Is it a sturgeon? Or a figment of the imagination?

Fuller Laugher, a skin diver, spent four days in a row on the lake in 1964 without sighting anything particularly large, and another fisherman trolled the lake while baiting an oversized hook with whole chickens, catching nothing. That same year, a company known as Big Fish Unlimited offered $1,400 for anyone who could catch the Flathead Lake Monster or any fish larger than fourteen feet, and there were no takers.

Whether real, a hoax, or a case of mistaken identity, websites focused on the Flathead Lake Monster or any other unusually large water creatures in Flathead Lake are appropriate for this category.



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