Title: Flatwoods Monster Seen Again
Author: Mark Henckel
Billings (Montana) Gazette
September 6, 1998
Yup, it was spotted again - the Flathead Lake Monster. After no sightings for five years, this some-would-say-mythical creature was spotted on Aug. 18 in the vicinity of Gravel Bay, just north of Skidoo Bay, on the northwestern Montana lake's eastern shore.
Jeff Herman, at the Missoulian, reported on the sighting in his fishing report for the newspaper last week. He quoted Jim Vashro, regional fisheries manager for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Kalispell, who received the report from an angler whose name remains anonymous.
In this report, an angler was reeling in a small lake trout that had been hooked about 120 feet down. As the fish was coming up toward the boat, a large form - judged to be several feet long - was observed for several seconds tracking the hooked fish as it neared the surface. Vashro said, the "shape...and the tail fin were characteristic of a sturgeon."
Was it a sturgeon? Was it a monster? Was it the monster? Who knows? It was the first sighting of a monster in Flathead since 1993, when 11 sightings were reported. In all, FWP has received information from a total of 78 sightings since 1889. Vashro said that of those sightings, 25 would fall into the category of a large fish that might fit the description of a white sturgeon. The other 53 reports, again according to Vashro, generally describe "a creature greater than 10 feet long" - even up to 60 feet long - characterized by "humps and smooth skin" whose shape is "snake-like or eel-like."
What does Vashro think about the whole thing? "Something certainly seems to be going on," he 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."
That doesn't mean Vashro necessarily believes there's a monster in there. But he's not discounting the notion either that something huge lives in the depths of Flathead Lake and shows itself, from time to time, to the fishermen who venture out on its waters.