Turtle Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. A few years ago, Gordon Watt was fishing on the lake with his daughter and grandson. Watt, a farmer, was casting from his boat when he spotted something strange about 12 yards below the water. A huge creature, its head rising dramatically from the water. It rolled over. Watt and his family were ‘thunderstruck’ and ‘amazed’. But this wasn’t an isolated incident. There have been hundreds of sightings for a very, very long time…
Some say the ancient local Cree settlement had a legend about people who ventured into the lake vanishing without a trace. Since official sightings were first recorded in 1920, the creature has been reported to be between three and nine yards long, stalking the waters. Tearing holes in fishing nets and frightening fishermen and swimmers. Some say it has three humps on its back. Some say it has a dorsal fin, others disagree. Some say it’s scaly, others smooth. And atop its long neck, a head resembling either a dog, pig or a seahorse.
In 1979, the Niagara Falls Review published an article on the creature. Researchers quickly dismissed the claims of a ‘large sea monster’ and said it was ‘nothing but an ordinary sturgeon.’ But some claim it’s a surviving prehistoric plesiosaur, or a descendant.
There is some credibility in the sturgeon theory. Turtle Lake is a part of a river system that does contain sturgeon, creatures that can grow to enormous size and live an incredibly long time. But no sturgeon has ever been caught or even sighted in the lake. In fact, there is no evidence a sturgeon has ever lived there. Watt, an experienced fisherman, once said:
“Maybe it was a sturgeon, but I’m not convinced.”
The local residents have something to say on all this. Myrna Coulson said she saw something big in the water whilst sitting on the deck of a friend’s home. And Charlie Kivimaa described it as ‘whale-like’ and ‘between 10 and 15 feet long.’ He thought it was a sturgeon.
We have no photos, only a satellite image showing a ‘trail’ left by something most agree could not have been a boat. And repeated calls for the Ministry of Environment to investigate have fallen on deaf ears, although they have been monitoring the fishing population of the lake since 1964 and claim to have found no ‘monster’ or even a single sturgeon. In the last decade, reports of this creature have dried up completely.
The locals play down this monster. They don’t want to become a tourist attraction. There are countless ‘lake monster’ stories across Canada, and the residents of Turtle Lake do not want to be another. This creature is a touch of colour in the culture of the community around the lake. They feel uncomfortable talking about it. They believe the sightings must have a rational, logical and simple explanation. Most believe what people see is nothing more than a giant sturgeon that, somehow, found its way into the lake, even though the facts prove that a sturgeon is an unlikely explanation.
I think it’s likely we’ll never know the truth about what lurks, or lurked, below the murky and icy waters of Turtle Lake.
So I’ll give this creature a 70 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it sixth in the list of 13, with de Loys’ Ape still bottom and the Iliamna Lake Monster still holding top spot.
The Turtle Lake Monster. A fascinating cryptid indeed.
1) An artist’s impression of the Turtle Lake Monster (credit: redorbit.com)
2) The satellite image showing a ‘trail’ left by something many think could not have been a boat (credit: wikipedia.org)
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