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The Monsterwatch Project

A Not-Quite-Official
Flathead Monster
Sighting Submissions

About Monsterwatch Data

Please keep in mind that it is not the intent of the Monsterwatch Project to judge the accuracy of any report - it is assumed that each submitting witness is providing the best information possible, given his or her recollection of the event and that all reports are made in good faith. Importantly, it must be remembered that our perceptions are invariably colored not just by what we see but also by our preconceived notions, our efforts to make sense of things and what others tell us that we MIGHT have seen... Given this, it would be a good idea for anyone who might have had contact with strange fauna in or around Flathead Lake to report their sighting FIRST and then reveiw what others have to say about their experiences. This will help eliminate the influence that might creep into future reports.

Lastly, please note that indications of the identity of each individual submitting a report has been deleted. We have, however, included each witness' profession, as it is worth noting that submissions are being made by folks whose positions would indicate that they are trustworthy. These folks would seem to be educated, observant individuals...


Submitted 09 July

Profession: Licensed Professional Counselor and R.N.
Date & Time: Summer 1985, approx. 7:30-8:00 a.m.
Weather: sunny,no clouds, no wind, no waves
Location: in car
Distance: approx. 100 yards
Geographic Location: in Skidoo bay off shore from the section of the road that runs right along the shore.
Duration of Sighting: 1-2 minutes
Witnesses: one-my wife
Situation: My wife and I were driving early in the morning to Missoula for a shopping trip on Hwy. 35 south. I was driving and my wife was napping. I looked out on Skidoo bay as we entered the southern section of road that runs right along the water. I saw what I at first thought was a wave moving in the water. The water was completely calm, and there were no boats within sight, so it seemed out of place. I realized that what I was seeing was not a wave, but was moving in a southerly direction more or less parallel to the shoreline and leaving a small wake! I woke up my wife, and asked her if she saw what I was seeing and she confirmed that, yes something was indeed moving out there. By that time we were beginning to climb the slow hill that eventually leaves the shore and enters trees. I stopped before we reached the top of the hill, and we watched a large object move south, slowly porpoising as it moved and leaving not so much a wake as disturbed water behind it. It submerged and that was the last we saw of it. Needless to say my wife did not go back to sleep and it distracted us the rest of the day. We have told relatively few people as we don't want to be considered nuts or liars jumping on the 'monster' bandwagon.
Pictures?: none
Color: Very dark. Black to gray-black. The sun was shining on it so it glistened.
Size: Humps (at least 5) were at least one foot out out of the water. With the humps and space between them it had to be at least 20 feet long, perhaps longer.
Texture: Smooth
Sound: none noted (We were in the car)
Eyes: none noted
Nostrils: none noted
Mouth: none noted
Appendages: none noted
Movement: As above there was definite forward motion marked by porpoising movement and a small wake in the beginning and then just a discernable disturbed water pattern behind it, like a boat leaves when moving slowly. We gauged, by the time it took to move from one end of that area of shoreline to the other that it was moving at least 5-8 miles per hour (slower at the end of the sighting).
Details: What we could see of the body lead us to surmise that it was long and snakelike-we could make out a round body about 18 inches across at its widest. We determined that circumference by noting that it never showed an underside while porpoising.

Reported 11 July

Profession: video producer
Date & Time: 1989? around 7a.m.
Weather: sun - very warm
Location: shore - swimming in the water at polson
Distance: from port polson inn to islands
Geographic Location: port polson inn to islands
Duration of Sighting: approx. 3 min.
Witnesses: 3 other persons
Color: black with hump
Size: big - at first thought it was the pilling boat.
Movement: looked stationary at first
Details: hump in middle

Reported 12 July

Profession: general manager
Date & Time: mid july, mid morning
Weather: sunny
Location: in boat
Distance: on sonar at 30 feet
Geographic Location: northwest of wild horse island
Duration of Sighting: briefly
Situation: While trolling northeast of wild horse Island we were picking up numerous fish on 2 fish finders we have on our boat, when all of a sudden the floor raised from approximately 200' to 30' for 3-5 seconds and then dropped back to the 200' depth, we criss crossed back over the area several times thinking there must be a shelf but never found one. We thought it odd at the time and joked maybe there was an extremely large fish or something like that below the surface. Perhaps we had an encounter with the flathead monster. I guess anythings possible.

Reported 13 July

Profession: Broker/Owner Real Estate Office
Date & Time: 6/20/98 2:00 PM
Weather: sunny, calm, warm
Location: in boat
Distance: 3 feet
Geographic Location: Skidoo Bay near East Shore
Duration of Sighting: 10 minutes
Witnesses: 2
Situation: My brothers, [name removed] and [name removed], and myself were wake boarding in the middle of the week, in June, a cold time of year for water sports on Flathead Lake. It was a very calm day with water so flat, even the ski rope was reflecting against the mirror of the water. There wasn't another boat around, we didn't see anyone else in any direction. I was taking pictures of my brothers and their reflections while I was driving. With flat water in all directions, except for our wake which was also flattening out quickly, we were surprised at what we saw coming out of the water in front of us. [name removed], who was spotting [name removed] on the wake board, saw it, too. We looked at each other disbelievingly with a "just what is that" look on our faces. We saw small humps with scaly projections piercing the water. There were ripples in the water extending from each end of the humps indicating a very large creature of some kind. Enthralled by its presence, I slowed down as I approached it, forgetting momentarily that I still had [name removed] on the wake board. As we came upon it, it began to sink slightly. It then occurred to me to snap a picture before it disappeared completely, which I did. [name removed] climbed into the boat, scared and somewhat angry that we had left him in the water with "that thing". He had an eye level view of it as he pulled himself in on the rope. We were perpendicular to it initially, then it turned and swam right towards us. I didn't see the head or eyes, but I saw that it was a very deep, dark, green color . . . the kind of dark green that you only see when something has been underwater for a very long time. Comparing it to the length of my boat, I judged it to be about 25-30 feet in length. As it slowly swam by us, I feared it would tip us over and sink us, I grabbed a life vest just in case. It surfaced behind us, perpendicular to us again, but didn't break the surface of the water this time. I took another picture of it. Since then, I have returned to Flathead on an annual basis with the same boat and we frequent the same area. Although we have seen some curious currents that appear as if out of nowhere, I have not seen anything piercing the surface of the water as we did in '98.
Color: very dark green
Size: I guessed 25-30 feet
Texture: rough, dark scales breaking the water near the center of it, smaller humps just below the water on both sides of center
Sound: none
Eyes: didn't get a look at the eyes
Nostrils: didn't see
Mouth: didn't see
Appendages: didn't see
Movement: We first noticed it when it appeared to be rising out of the water, barely breaking the surface and creating a small wake. It was perpendicular to us with its head facing west, toward Finley Point. As we got closer to it, we must have frightened it because it dropped below the surface and swam slowly along side the boat. I don't remember any wake until it surfaced again about 20 feet behind us, perpendicular to us again, but it didn't break the surface of the water. Just small humps below the surface with a slight wake. Then it dove and was gone.
Details: My brothers might remember more, I was concerned it was large enough to tip over the boat and was scrambling for life jackets!

Reported 21 July

Profession: Teacher
Date & Time: 2:00 P.M.
Weather: Sunny and Hot
Location: in boat
Distance: 2 feet
Geographic Location: Between the Bird Islands at the end of Finley Point
Duration of Sighting: Few seconds
Witnesses: None
Situation: I stopped the boat and was going to go for a swim. I noticed a fin (I thought it was a normal size fish) skimming the top of the water. When I looked to see, there was a very large shadow of a fish near my boat (the size larger than my 22 foot power boat). Needless to say, I did NOT go swimming and started the boat and left immediately.
Size: 36 feet
Appendages: unknown
Movement: Floating near top of water, about 8 feet under.

Reported 27 July

Profession: fireman
Date & Time: Summer 1995 about 5 pm
Location: in boat
Geographic Location: SW corner wildhorse Island , about 300 yards off shore
Duration of Sighting: 30 sec
Situation: In the summer of 1995 we were visiting the Big Arm area on Flathead Lake. While cruising in a boat near the Southwest corner of Wildhorse Island I looked to the rear of the boat to see the body of what looked like a huge ten to twelve foot sturgeon. The back was all I could see breaking water. The body appeared to be 14 to 16 inches wide and went on forever. When I called out, others turned and saw only the swirl of water left by the departing whatever. I had never heard of a "Flathead Lake " monster until later. From what I saw I feel it was a very large sturgeon that I saw on the surface of the lake.

Reported 3 August

Profession: [Publishing Company] School & College Department Rep.
Date & Time: unknown date in 1981. (my mom did not report the incident) Midafternoon.
Weather: clear and regular afternoon daylight, a little overcast I think
Location: in the passenger seat of the car.
Distance: I was observing out and down along the water from my window. It was simply the distance from the edge of the road in close approximation to the shoreline, no more than 100 ft. or so.
Geographic Location: The creature was at an area where there appeared to be a significant drop off in depth right at the point where the lake rocked into the embankment. More exact detail could possibly be provided by my mother.
Duration of Sighting: Somewhere between 3-7 seconds.
Witnesses: One. My mother, who was driving the car.
Situation: At the time I was 7 years old, and mom was driving us back home to Kalispell from Missoula. I was securely fixed in my favorite spot nearly enmeshed with the passenger side window, enjoying the air and observing the view in my quiet contentment. Most vivdly in my mind was my eyes catching sight of this creature-like thing that surfaced to the top of the water, sustained itself for a slow, brief glide atop the surface, then calmy submerged again. Time stood still as my mind was trying to register what my eyes froze upon, mixed with a moment of physical paralysis. The next thing I knew my entire body literally catapulted itself from my window into the driver's window - mom's lap - causing her to temporarily lose control of the car in utter startlement of being caught off guard. What I thought was my scream were gasps for air fighting for sound in an episode of hysteria. Mom was trying to calm me down to find out what just happened but I was too overcome with morbid fright and could only gasp for air and cry to attempt any sort of sound while clinging to her and pointing uncontrollably in this sort of bizarre sequence. She even turned the car back to try to discern what could have happened but then stopped the car on the roadside until I could regain my faculties. I then was able to actually start crying; still shaken up I tried to tell her what I saw which was a blubbering about how i'd seen a monster/ lockness monster or brontosaurus in the water. Her expression of panic and concern for me instantly broke out into a hysterical burst of laghter at the same time she was consoling me, which caused me to laugh while I cried and gasped. I became well aware of how funny and ridiculous that sounded in spite of what I saw. The Lockness Monster in Flathead Lake?! This trauma induced sighting in my life was like situation comedy for a hollywood movie. My lockness monster ordeal has come up in many conversations through the years and mom and I have rolled in laughter practically on the floor about it, even shortly after its happening; just today when accidentally coming across this website did I ever take it seriously enough to make an official claim about it since the REAL Lockness is in Scotland. I never doubted what I saw though different people tried to say it was a stergeon, or a big fish. I remember clear as day how I saw it. My heart skipped a few beats when I saw these other stories, and I feel compelled to tell you mine. My mother recalls this as though it were yesterday; I'm now 25 and mom's 42- yes, we're young! Please conact me with any new information, stories, or questions regarding new findings with this creature that effected me on that day so long ago. My fond and lighthearted recollection of this has always held my great curiosity. Now that I know I'm not the only one I'd like to study it further as your knowledge of the Flathead Lake Monster progresses.
Pictures?: I did not draw any , but I am capable of providing something general.
Color: undefinable
Size: It looked big, but I was also a very tiny young girl
Texture: It appeared serpent-like. Even more, a serpent-like variation of what brontosaures looked like when submerging from the deep waters.
Sound: none - I was in a vehicle.
Eyes: didn't look to see
Nostrils: did not look to notice detail.
Mouth: did not look
Appendages: Again, the resemblence of a brontosaures when submerging from deep waters. I remember a long neck up out of the surface then a water patch between the point of its neck to where its back was visible - appearing to be like a hump back mass, then more water till I saw a thick sized serpentlike tail; all of which appeared massive in form. I never saw anything that could have given me the satisfaction of believing it was a fish or sturgeon- no fins, flippers, gills etc.
Movement: It seemed to surface for air atop water or something , but very much at its own leisure; making a brief glide amid the surface the way an alligator, a hippo, or turtle would.
Details: none to recall.

Reported 10 Aug

Profession: Attorney
Date & Time: Late 60's or early 70's - afternoon
Weather: Sunny
Location: On shore - Finley Point (Borchers Resort)
Distance: 100 yards? (Bad at guessing distance over water)
Geographic Location: Cruising offshore (east to west)
Duration of Sighting: 1-2 minutes
Witnesses: A dozen or so - Adults and children
Situation: We were all swimming and lounging on the dock. Someone spotted something dark and undulating moving rather leisurely offshore. We had all joked about the monster before. But the more we looked, the more this seemed like the "real thing". At least one of the viewers was a year-round resident at Borchers - she got excited about it too. One observer was an anesthesiologist from [city in Montana]- Dr. [name removed]. He may be deceased by now, I can't remember. I was probably 13 or 14. We all watched in fascination as the monster just slowly cruised across our field of view from right to left until it passed out of sight beyond a spit of rocks. I remember that the wake which came in to shore was really different than your normal boat wake. The amplitude of the waves was quite high, yet they did not crest and break as a boat wake normally did - just came in with the same sinusoidal shape all the way to the shore. My mother had an 8mm movie camera on the dock. We all yelled at her to take a movie.! The film needed to be turned over, though. (Geez, those things were primitive, weren't they?!) She got flustered, and somehow the film didn't run through the camera. Everybody there was pretty excited. I noticed though, that the adults didn't mention the sighting to other people, and quickly changed the conversation if us youngsters brought it up. I found out soon that it was a good idea to keep it to onesself. Even my children look at me funny now if I mention it to them. But it was definitely something out of the ordinary that we all saw that summer afternoon....
Pictures?: None (see above)
Color: Black, Shiny
Size: 20 feet long, maybe?
Texture: Couldn't discern any
Sound: none
Eyes: none noted
Nostrils: none
Mouth: none
Appendages: None noted
Movement: Moved about as slow as a paddled canoe. I thought that there was some undulation involved, but wasn't sure.
Details: A long, sinusoidally-curved black shape - probably 5 or 6 "lumps" rising above the water.

Reported 4 September

Profession: disabled
Date & Time: spring 1987 around 1100
Weather: rain and wind temp cool
Location: on shore
Distance: 10 yards to about 3 hundred or more yards
Geograpic Location: shore close to lakeside
Duration of Sighting: 45 secs. to 1 minute
Witnesses: 2
Situation: my 2 friends were fishing from the shore and i was seting on a rock watching. A rain had blowned through and the wind made small waves on the lake (not white caps but rough water ). A small boat (looked like a 12 horse engine), was makeing a run for the shore and made a wake that went from the boat to just a few feet from the shore. The rain had stoped but the wind was still blowing. About 10 yards in front of us a thing that (at first ) looked like a great long Snake started swiming from the shore out towards the center of the lake.
Pictures?: none
Color: about the color of a rock. (sand stone)
Size: seeing it from 10 yards away i would say around 30 ft. long
Texture: the body seemed smooth when we saw the head it was to far away to
Sound: just like waves hitting the shore only very loud.
Eyes: when we saw the head it was to far away.
Nostrils: when we saw the head it was to far away
Mouth: when we saw the head it was to far away
Appendages: didnt see any.
Movement: it moved from the shore out into the lake. It went from apprx 10 yards to apprx 300 yards in less then a minute. its motion was just like a snake swiming in the water. it left no wake.
Details: the front part of it raised up and and loked back towards the shore the head was (sort of ) like a horse head. Couldn't see horns or eyes or etc. it then just slow like sunk into the lake and was gone.

Reported 6 October

Profession: Medically retired, USAR (Viet Nam)
Date & Time: mid-afternoon, late summer 1983 (as close as I can remember)
Weather: Bright, clear, sunny afternoon
Location: Boat
Distance: 100 meters
Geograpic Location: Just east of Melita Island heading to our mainland docks from our property on Wild Horse Island.
Duration of Sighting: 3 - 4 minutes
Witnesses: Three: wife, daughter and daughter's friend.
Situation: Heading south from Wild Horse Island, passing Melita Island, we spotted what appeared to be a periscope-type object breaking water, crossing in front of us about 100 meters away, heading from east to west.  It stuck out of the water about four feet, breaking water like a boat.  I turned right to follow it at 25 MPH, the speed at which "it" was going as well.  I followed it for a short time, then got alarmed as it was such an unusual sighting.  I quickly turned south again, looked back, and it had disappered.  My daughter, about age 14 at the time, called someone, I believe it was Fish and Game, to make a report.
Pictures: None
Color: Dark (black?), snake-like, appeared like a periscope breaking water.
Size: I saw something sticking out of the water approximately four feet hight. My daughter thought she saw a spiked back.  I did not, amazed as I was watching the head.
Texture: Sleek
Sound: None audible over my boat engine
Eyes: None visible
Nostrils: None visible
Mouth: None visible
Appendages: My daughter [name removed] said she saw its back, with several humps.
Movement: It swam at 25 MPH as I followed it for a few hundred meters.  It moved east to west, heading past Melita Island.  It broke water at least four feet high.
Details: [None provided]


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Last updated 7 October 2000