East Okoboji Sea Serpent?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 17th, 2009

Vindicator & Republican
Estherville, Iowa
July 3, 1903




It Appeared Like an Upturned Skiff and

Made Waves that Threatened to Overturn Boats – What Is It?

Is there a sea serpent in East Okoboji?

Nearly every fashionable summer resort has one, then why should not Okoboji be the possessor of one?

One thing is certain, and that is that some unknown creature is alive in the waters of that lake, that would undoubtedly hurry a good husky person to land with hook and line.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bartlett were at the lake a few days ago on a fishing excursion. They saw something, or rather saw where something was. They have no idea what it was. It might have been a sea serpent, or it might have been some kind of a fish that had grown to unusual and extraordinary

They were out in the lake in a boat, when they noticed a short distance from them a terrible commotion in the water. The thing, whatever it was, was moving quite rapidly through the water and quite close to the top, and had the appearance of being as large as an overturned skiff. It made waves so large that Mr. Bartlett was really alarmed, fearing they would swamp his boat.

He does not pretend to know what it was and declares he would not have believed there was such a creature in the lake had he not seen it with his own eyes the commotion made by it.

Further developments at the lake will be awaited with interest.

East Okoboji Lake is a natural body of water, approximately 1,835 acres (7.43 km²) in area, in Dickinson County in northwest Iowa in the United States. It is part of the chain of lakes known as the Iowa Great Lakes. The name derives from its Dakatoh Indian name, Okoboozhy, meaning reeds and rushes.

The towns of Spirit Lake and Okoboji sit along its western shore.

The lake is shallow, with an average depth of 10 ft (3 m) and a maximum depth of 22 ft (7 m).

During the summer months, it is prone to stratification and to overgrowth with algae.

Geologically, the lake, like its neighbors, is a glacial pothole, a remnant of the most recent ice age approximately 13,000 years ago.

The lake is a popular fishing destination in the region, especially for the catching of bullheads.

Thanks to Jerome Clark for the 1903 contribution.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “East Okoboji Sea Serpent?”

  1. lukedog responds:

    That lake is not deep enough to host a large..anything. perhaps they experienced a geological event.

  2. crapple responds:

    im thinking the same thing….maybe it was an overturned skiff, with a faulty motor of some sort

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    Catfish have been known to get pretty large. I don’t know much about the bullhead fish, but it is a catfish and they do get pretty big if they don’t have to do too much and there is plenty of food coming right to them. It said “During the summer months, it is prone to stratification and to overgrowth with algae.” That would give any bottom feeder food for a lifetime all the time. With it so shallow, it wouldn’t take anything too large, like they are thinking, to almost tip their boat. Let’s just hope it was a large bullhead or plant eating sea serpent. We wouldn’t want alligators living there, would we?

  4. cryptidsrus responds:

    The couple sounded believable. Hey, you never know…

    I’m not saying people cannot be stupid (of course they can be) but I would think if it was a “Geological disturbance,” (as Lukedog put it) they would have recognized it as such.

    Most people have enough “life experience” to “know better.”

  5. sschaper responds:

    In 1903, I’d easier believe a mammoth (I found a tooth in a peat bog we farmed a couple hours east of there)than a monster catfish or alligator.

    So, what? I would guess an animal in the water. Maybe a moose? Every once and a while they do come south from Minnesota.

  6. dogu4 responds:

    Just think of the stuff that could be buried in the mud of the great glacial outwash that is much of the northe central plains of North Americal…carcasses of creatures slowly decaying, or large woody debris, or some creature finding refuge in the last bit of cold sediments at the bottom of a kettle moraine. Fascinating stuff.

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