Flathead Lake Monster

The Loch Ness Monster is a mythical creature that I actually believe in–why you may ask? There are plenty of prehistoric fish on this planet and the Loch Ness Monster has to be the most likely out of all the myths. Flathead Lake in northern Montana also has several monsters at the bottom of it and the jokes are of a similar creature as Nessie.

Last summer in the heat of early August, we went with our good friend ”Scootie” on his new fishing boat to Flathead Lake. We heard the whitefish feed was picking up and we decided that catching enough fish to make our arms hurt sounded like a lot of fun. All day we jigged on the bottom of the lake about 50 feet down. Scootie and I were growing punch drunk with the heat and exhaustion of all the fish we were catching. As we whooped and hollered so loud that everyone on the lake could hear us, my dad at the front of the boat was using the same jig and had not caught a single fish. When one is not catching fish in the blistering sun, what is the point…? Well there isn’t, but we were having fun so he kept on trying. He occasionally commented about his luck and Scootie and I knew to take advantage of this day since my dad is usually the one with all the good luck.

We came to a lull in the afternoon when the temperature was meeting its max and the fishing slowed down to almost nothing. We discussed changing spots or going home knowing quite well the fishing was over until the late evening. As I was probably arguing with my dad about something because that is what we Italians do, my half ass jigging became stiff and my rod suddenly had a forceful tug. I set the hook like I was trained to as a kid which was as hard as I possibly could.(I have ripped a lot of lips but it beats my dad yelling at me for losing a fish as a child, and it has become ingrained in my brain) The reel started screaming and whatever it was it kept going straight down and then stopped and maintained a position that I could not budge. I would try and reel in and then the mystery fish again would go straight down to the same position. We tried to imagine what it could be at the bottom of the lake but the story kept changing every couple minutes. With both my dad and Scootie alongside me coaching me through it; Scootie said to me “Slowly! start bringing it up”. I would exhale and reel in, the creature would just pull down again.

After 30 plus minutes of back and forth pulling up and down (I know it was about that long because when I first started the fight with the fish Scootie had lit himself a fat cigar and when I looked back, Scootie was so concentrate on my battle with the Flathead lake monster he didn’t even notice the cigar was at the end and burning his mustache hairs)  My arms were tingling and my back muscles were tightening when I finally caught sight of the creature. Taking a quick breath and glance around to see another boat anchored near us to watch the “fight.” Having an audience upped the ante. Now I really needed to concentrate–I was getting tired and I know that’s when mistakes happen. Using what energy I had left I brought him in close to the boat, but as the monster surfaced he caught a glimpse of Scootie with the net and proceeded to take a nose dive back down. With that millisecond of focus in the water, I was able to make out a long shark like body, now I was certain of what we were dealing with, a lake trout! Lake trout in Montana are not native and not well liked due to their aggressive nature and propensity for eating the native fish and taking over an area. Which leads to them becoming massive fish. So massive, that they become lore and rumored about amongst avid fishermen as being the Flathead Lake Monster. If lake trout are within a certain size and season they highly recommend keeping  to cut down on the population.

The monster slowly fatigued and so did I. He gradually surfaced and scootie successfully got him in the net. At this point Scootie explained that the fish was on the fly leader which was 6 lb test and the fact that I had kept him on that while fighting him all that time took some skill and patience. He didn’t want to tell me that while I was fighting the beast of course, because who knows how well that pressure on me would of turned out. The audience I had, motored over and took a few pictures and congratulated me. After my 34 in  “kodak moment” Scootie kept saying, we decided that was a good end to our day.

    Don’t worry, my dad finally caught a fish as we motored into the dock. “finally we can go home now” -Scootie.

Please go check out the full video on youtube :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iE1cHvNKEw

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