Vermont Lake Monsters gear
We later conducted research at the Collins Cabins’ bar—seriously! With Ben taking notes, I inquired of a group of men about a local signboard that lists Bulwagga Bay “Champ Sightings, ” six columns of names and dates (see figure 3). One man, William “Pete” Tromblee, quipped that it was “a list of the local drinkers.” In fact Tromblee’s own 1981 sighting is listed, although he assured us he was entirely sober at the time.
Figure 3: Champ monster sighting board at Port Henry, New York, the "Home of Champ"
He did admit that he did not know what he saw and volunteered that it might have been a large sturgeon—a refrain one hears quite often. The proprietor, Mrs. Rita Collins, rummaged through a drawer behind the bar and came up with some related newspaper clippings, including one with a photo of a "six-foot piece of driftwood that bears a striking resemblance to artists’ conceptions of Lake Champlain’s legendary monster, Champ.”
The following day (August 24) we crossed the Champlain Bridge to Vermont. We explored the lake shore around Otter Creek, dropped in on the naturalist at Button Bay State Park, and then proceeded to Bristol to keep our appointment with Sandra Mansi regarding her famous snapshot of—well, that is the question Ben addresses in his article elsewhere in this issue.
We subsequently rendezvoused with Norm St. Pierre, a veteran fisherman and lake guide who operates Norm’s Bait and Tackle at Crown Point, New York (a few miles south of Port Henry). Outside this “One Stop Hunting and Fishing Supply Store” rests a giant hook, baited with a large rubber fish and waggishly labeled "Norm’s Champ Rig.” Norm was to be our guide, aboard his sonar-equipped Starcraft cruiser, to a major area of Champ’s reputed lair.
The sonar (figure 4), which Norm uses to locate schools of fish, soon picked up a 12- to 20-pound catfish or sheephead. However, on our entire tour of Bulwagga Bay and many miles beyond, we saw nothing, either visually or on sonar, that could be construed as Champ (with the exception of the “monster” in figure 5). That is not surprising, given that during more than four decades on the water he has never seen a giant unknown lake creature. He says he has occasionally encountered a wave on calm water that puzzled him, and, like others, will say there’s “something” out there. But he is more likely to suggest a sturgeon than a plesiosaur. (More on all these matters presently.)
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Scooby-Doo! Mystery Double Feature (The Mystery Begins / Curse of the Lake Monster)
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Is there a real sea monster in Champlain Lake?
People have claimed to see a creature, nicknamed Champ, in Lake Champlain, but there is no real proof that the monster exists.