Sunday, May 16, 2010

"River Monsters" strikes out in Iliamna

As I've written before, one "lake monster" story I always suspected had something to it was the tale of Lake Iliamna, Alaska. Iliamna, remote, sparsely inhabited, and covering 1,000 square miles, has a long tradition of "giant fish" stories that intrigued me because of persuasive eyewitness reports. I appeared (briefly, as it turned out) on Discovery Channel's "Monsters and Myths of Alaska," in which a couple of fishermen did hook into and lose something seemingly larger than the normal fish known to inhabit the place.
Now Jeremy Wade of Animal Planet's "River Monsters" has taken his turn at fishing in the lake. Result: zip.
In both cases, one problem was the fishing efforts were one-shot deals lasting 12 hours or less. If there is an unknown population of white sturgeons - or something more unusual - in Iliamna, it's not surprising these programs didn't find it. If something has gone for decades - or centuries, as Alaska Natives have it - it's going to take a more systemic approach to solve the mystery.

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