Local News

June 6, 2009

Unusual creature seen in Lake Champlain

Group sees creature while fishing in Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH -- Carl Roberts was enjoying a pleasant evening with friends Thursday while fishing at Wilcox Dock.

They had been casting their lines since 6 p.m. and had caught quite a few perch, but the fish unexpectedly stopped biting around 8 p.m.

The wind was calm, the sun was still shining above the western horizon, and Lake Champlain was as tranquil as could be.


But then, a movement out on the lake caught the angler's attention. Something in the water was moving rapidly from left to right about 100 yards beyond the dock.

"It had to be 50 feet long, from what I could see of the humps (rising above the lake surface)," Roberts said Friday morning as he recalled the unusual sighting, still energized with excitement from the experience.

"There was no wind, no boats, no explanation whatsoever. It was so close that I could see the texture of the skin."

His girlfriend, Randy Patnode, was nearby talking to her grandmother on her cell phone. Roberts called to her, telling her to get a picture of the creature before it moved out of sight, but her cell phone was low on power and prevented her from getting a shot.

Still, the group watched the object as it continued to move toward the peninsula just south of Wilcox Dock.

"It didn't move like a snake," said Roberts, owner of Adirondack Birch Worx furniture shop in Plattsburgh. "It was not like a porpoise or dolphin, either. It moved straight and fast, with its bumps up high and then down lower in the water.

"I've never seen anything like it before," he added, noting that he grew up on Cumberland Head and has seen 20-foot lake sturgeon close up before.

The creature's skin was "whale-like," he said, and had a shiny greenish black tint to it.

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