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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lake Champlain Gar and Sturgeon Sightings

ScottMardis sent in some information regarding the possibility that some sightings at Lake Champlain were due to mistaken views of large fishes. He also mentioned that there were occasional reports of large eels (both at Lake Champlain and also at Lake Memphremagog) but there was independant evidence that conger eels occasionally stray in from the sea.

The initial description of the monster in Lake Champlain was obviously a gar and PURSUIT published this information in the 1980s
  Scott also sent some pages from the book The Untold Story of Champ, A Social History of America's Loch Ness Monster  by Robert E Bartholomew (2012), which included reports that in particular sounded like alligator gars and Atlantic Sturgeons:

In addition to these fish and the seals known to occasionally come into Lake Champlain from the sea,there are also reports of "Giant Water Lizards" and other reports that sound suspiciously like our Master Otter (the Native Americans' Mishipizhiw)

North America does not have any native species of large water lizards, in casual speech the term ordinarly means "Salamander" and in this case we would best understand it as "Giant hellbender". These Giant hellbenders as alleged in the area around Lake Champlain are said to be 2-3 feet long, occasionally reported as much as 6 feet long and possibly even longer by mistake.

Hellbender information  LINK

P denotes reports of "Giant Water Lizards" that can be pink. The one in New Jersey was reported by Ivan T Sanderson. Other reports are further to the South, in the Carolinas We are not concerned with those especially now, what I wanted to bring up for discussion was the area I have circled on the Map (GH). Lake Champlain is in the Eastern part of that circle, but while I was douing research in Sanderson's archives I found some letters and clippings which led me to believe there was a giant salamander or "Giant Water Lizard"along the lines of the Chinese giant salamanders and which were probably related to the pink one Sanderson reported in New Jersey. None of these Eastward reports are ordinary hellbenders although they are said to look just like them. They are larger than the usual hellbenders at 2-3 feet long commonly, sometimes twice that, They also seen to be reported in the adjoining parts of Canada. (Mark A Hall discusses the ones in Ohio and there may be similar ones in the Ozarks but they also do not concern us here)

 Independantly we have good cause to suspect the giant otters or Master Otters in Lake Champlain and surrounding areas: we have some pretty good videos that seem to indicate them. There are also reports in Pennsylvania that clearly name them as Master-otters.  These animals would not be in competition with the salamanders ecologically and they live very different lifestyles

                                  THIS WAS THE 1000th POSTING ON THIS BLOG


  1. Happy 1,000! Nice article, although I feel that I should add that the apparent attempt to explain the object in the Bodette footage as a gar is one which is not supported by the footage itself but rather by a cursory description. Such an identification for the object in the footage as stated by the author of the book passages posted here is rather baseless, in my opinion.

  2. Scott Mardis had previously stated the other case on this blog at this entry:
    And I tend to favour that idea. The arguments on either side of the issue were both provided by Scott Mardis. All that I did here was to reprint the text provided with a minimum of commentary.


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