Mystery has it our waters hold more than kokanee, sturgeon and rainbow trout. Pend Oreille’s own Loch Ness monster, the Pend Oreille Paddler, is rumored to troll its murky depths. Not surprising, when you consider it’s the largest lake in Idaho, and the fifth deepest lake in the country—even deeper than Loch Ness.
Rumored sightings of this periscope-necked, long-tailed creature are primarily from the ‘40s on—soon after the Navy started testing submarines in the deepest part of the lake, and where sightings of the water monster are most common: between the Green Monarchs and Bayview. But tales of mysterious encounters with a creature from the deep date back to the early 1900s.
In 1977, the creature from the deep was dubbed the Pend Oreille Paddler, and there are varied stories and rumors from locals about encounters and sightings, including a rumored report from the government itself of an encounter with a 30-foot alive and moving object while a submersible was mapping the depths of the lake at the Green Monarchs.
A team called the Cryptozoology Club from North Idaho College even undertook an investigation into reports of the Paddler, interviewing locals and compiling sightings and reports of large underwater objects, sonar testing encounters with “large blips,” large unexplained wakes, and dark objects surfacing the water.
But is this monster just a creation to hide government submarine testing or simply sightings of the subs themselves? Is it a large fish? Or is it in fact a sea creature of unprecedented proportions? On your next boat journey on the lake, perhaps you’ll be able to answer that question yourself, if you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to encounter the Paddler.