Paddler

Freshwater Monster of Idaho.

Etymology: Named for its habit of creating waves and other water disturbances. Physical description: A large fish. Behavior: Makes odd wave patterns. Distribution: Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. Significant sightings: The first report was apparently made in August 1944 at Farragut Naval Training Station.

In late May 1985, Julie Green and friends were boating when they saw a V-shaped wake caused by a dark-gray object moving faster than her boat.

Possible explanations:

(1) The White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) can grow to a length of 20 feet, but the presence of this fish in Lake Pend Oreille has not been officially established.

(2) Secret submarine sonar tests by the U.S. Navy might account for mysterious waves and wakes, according to Patrick Huyghe. James McLeod has noticed that sightings tend to coincide with navy sub tests, and he suspects naval personnel may encourage the Paddler legend in order to cloak their experiments.

Sources: James R. McLeod, Mysterious Lake Pend Oreille and Its "Monster": Fact and Folklore (Coeur d'Alene: North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club, 1987); Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review, November 15, 1996; Patrick Huyghe, "Deep Secrets: Is the Navy Telling Idaho Residents a Whopper of a Fish Story?" The Anomalist, no. 5 (Summer 1997): 8-27.

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