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"A Story of Iliamna's Monster Fish" Author Unknown



Alaska's largest lake, Lake Iliamna, is home of the rumored, sometimes seen monster black fish. So big is this fish it has been said that it has torn holes in the bottom of canoes. The name Iliamna, in Russian means "monument." The natives declare the monster fish lives part time in the lake and the other time in the mountain.

They believe this leviathan is always on the watch to catch an unwary prospector or fisherman. In the past, many local Indians and yonegas who attempted to cross the large lake have never returned.

One group of natives out fishing reported the fish coming beneath the boat nearly capsizing it.

Like the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, the Iliamna monster fish is still a mysterious legend.

Alaska missionary Chuck Crapuchettes has seen the monster twice. Once, he was flying over in a float plane and he saw a large animal in the water. He got on the radio and tried to call some other people around and try to see and verify it, but nobody got there in time.

One of his friends went trolling for it. He took a 5/16 stainless steel cable, put #2 tuna hooks on it, baited them with caribou and tied it off on the struts of his floatplane.

He was drifting and sitting out on the floats. All of a sudden the plane gave a big jerk and knocked him off the floats. The plane was towed off and he barely made it to shore. He walked for miles while the plane was towed around the lake.

When he finally recovered his airplane, three of the cables were gone. The hooks on the ones that remained were straightened out and these hooks were eight or nine inches long! There have been Beluga whales that have gone up the Kvichak River into the lake and it was possible that's what it was.

It has also been reported that a huge sturgeon measuring 20 feet long have been seen.

Native people on the lake will not paint bottoms of their boats red because the monster likes red bottomed boats. The monster supposedly spends its uncommitted time on the north shore of Lake Iliamna, northwest of the new village of Iliamna, in Eagle Bay.

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From the January 1988 issue of ALASKA magazine, page 17:

The Lake Iliamna monster once again has reared its legendary head. On July 27, several, reportedly sober, etewitnesses say they saw a 10-foot, black "fish" leaping and splashing in the lake, about five miles northwest of Pedro Bay village.

Verna Kolyaha was fishing from a skiff with her mother and sister when they saw the creature. Kolyaha approached to within 100 feet of the creature, which she said was shaped like a whale, with a white strip along the fin on its back. "It made an almost complete cricle around us," Kolyaha told the Bristol Baytimes.

Back at the village, Rainbow Bay resort owner Jerry Pippen and pilot Jerry Blandford were airborne within 30 minutes of the sighting, but saw nothing but a large ripple in the lake.

The next day, however, Pippen reported seeing "a really huge seal. This seal was squirting water six to eight feet in the air."

Pippen said the animal was cream colored, with lighter markings.

Sightings of a huge creature that lives in the depths of Alaska's largest lake are so persisten that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game keeps an open file labeled, "Lake Iliamna Monster."

In 1963, a department biologist was flying his small plane over the lake and for 10 minutes watched a creature that appeared to be about 25 to 30 feet long swimming below the surface. It never came up for air. The biologist estimated the beast's length by comparing it to the airplane's shadow on the water.

A number of times in recent years, sportfishermen near the villages of Iliamna and Pedro Bay have reported a big, peculiar, snake-like form moving along at the water's surface.

Explanations for the creatures that have been observed range from a lost whale that strayed in from the ocean to a huge sturgeon to a species of freshwater seal. The Native people say the creature is a monster that doesn't like people and upsets boats that stray too far from shore, but there's no scientific evidence to prove any theory."