Champlain Sea Basin Serphants

Thursday 26th January 2023

Champlain Sea Basin Serphants:

Lake Monsters In the Basin of the former Champlain Sea.

By David Scott, CFZ Canada

I grew up in the Ottawa Valley on the shores of the Ottawa River where the Madawaska River joins it. I remember tales of a monster in Otter Lake at Cobden called Hapaxolor, better known now as Mussie. At the time, I thought this was just a local legend much like Big Joe Muffaraw, the legendary lumberjack from stories told by local Bernie Badore.


It was while researching a new series of Children’s books to include the Chats Lake Monster, similar to Mussie of Muskrat Lake.

The Chats Lake Serpent was actually captured in 1882 by men from my hometown of Arnprior, off our very shores. Upon looking into this story to expand it for this blog post that I looked up to Muskrat Lake and the Muskrat River which actually also fed off the Ottawa river. The further I looked in the Ottawa river basin, the more of these mysterious lake serpents were found, what they all have in common is the ancient Champlain Sea. I think you see where I am going now.

Almost every major river and lake attached seems to show a large serpent-like creature varying from 12 to 14 feet. This area also encompasses the current-day Lake Champlain with its own legendary Champ. Another is the Elvis in Dows Lake part of the Rideau Canal, where a skater in 2021 reported seeing this large aquatic animal swimming beneath the ice and trying to break through. The canal was mysteriously closed the next day, reason given was that the ice was getting too thin even though skaters were still using the canal, but take this with a grain of salt as the witness also said the creature was cracking the ice.

In 2015 two Environmental Studies students captured photos of an American eel measuring an estimated 10-15 meters in length in Dows Lake. That’s 33-45 feet. Most of these lakes and rivers are now landlocked with the exception of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the five Great Lakes – ALL of which have sightings of large serpentine creatures. The reported sizes are far beyond the norm for American eels. Females ussually reach full size at 4 ft or 1.3 meters with males sizing at 18 inches /.4 meters
I bring up American eels because, while they usually breed and die in the Sargasso Sea on the Atlantic Ocean, some hydro dams have made it almost impossible for the dwindling population of Ottawa River eels to return to their breeding grounds, hence a constant growth would explain exceptional sizes being seen and dubbed river serpents. If you consider that they have no natural predators and an unlimited food supply, the occasional gigantic specimen is not unfeasible. This could explain almost every lake monster around the world, including the legendary Loch Ness Monster and Champ of Lake Champlain. Could these be just eels who are exceptionally old and continued to grow instead of going off to breed and die? A massive decline in the American eel population in the last 50 years (up to 90%) also opens up an endless supply of prey.

American and European eels all migrate to the Sargasso Sea to breed. Islandic eels result from crossbreeding of European female and American male eels, this in turn would explain Some Sephant sightings in not only North America, but Europe and the Atlantic Ocean as well.

Gigantic eels or even an unknown type of cold-water eel could explain many lake cryptids from the waters and lakes of the world. I found this study extremely interesting, and I do not consider myself a water cryptid explorer. A quick search of Canadian sea serpents, lake monsters, or almost any similar search will bring you to a rabbit hole you may be sorry you opened if you have to work or go to school the next morning. Underwater seas, lakes, and rivers also give access to explain similar creatures being spotted. If you have a story, please leave it in the comments below. I would be happy to hear them and perhaps we can explain this enigma haunting the waters I learned to swim in….Yikes.

Drawing Credit: Brennan Ohagan


More Canada stories 

Katy Elizabeth at Lake Champlain

CFZ Canada