Although none of these creatures are quite as famous as the Loch Ness monster, nonetheless, America has its own sea serpent legends which go back farther in history than Nessie.
We bring you, in no particular order, the top five freshwater sea creatures observed and alleged to exist in the waters of the United States.
The alleged freshwater sea monster with the most convincing documented evidence is that of a creature that has been named Champ.
Lake Champlain is 125 mile stretch of freshwater that is shared by New York and Vermont, and also extends into Québec, Canada. It is home to another legendary Lake monster known as Champ or Champy. There have been at least 300 reported sightings of Champ.
The earliest known spotting was in 1609. An 1819 article entitled “Cape Ann serpent on Lake Champlain,” reported on the sighting of an enormous serpentine monster, in which an observer which claimed to have seen a 187-foot long creature in the waters with three teeth and eyes the color of peeled onions.
However, a sheriff in 1883 claimed to have spotted the creature as well, and his description put its length at somewhere between 25-30 feet.
In 1997, one observer photographed what she believed was a creature protruding out of the water. However, skeptics said the area she photographed was no deeper than 14 feet, and it was unlikely a giant creature could have swum or ability to hide in such shallow water.
In 2005, a fisherman videotaped what he believed to be Champ. The footage was given to two retired FBI forensic image analysts, who believed the footage to be un-manipulated and authentic. The video shows what appears to be the head and neck of a plesiosaur-like animal and even displaying an open mouth in one frame.
In 2003, a group involved with Discovery Channel recorded sounds from within the lake, describing them as those similar to what is produced by beluga whales or dolphins, neither of which are known to live within the lake.
Numerous sightings of a sea monster in the late eighteenth century around Lake Erie ultimately gave the creature the name of South Bay Bessie or simply Bessie. The first recorded sighting was in 1793.
Eyewitnesses tend to agree that Bessie is grayish in color, with a snake-like body that has a length somewhere between 30 and 40 feet long.
A ship captain first spotted the creature in 1793. Crew members of a schooner in 1817, also reported seeing the monster. Later that same year, not only did another ship crew spot the sea serpent, they used their muskets to shoot at it, and claimed the bullets had no visible effect.
Yet, another 1817 spotting occurred on the beach, where to brothers said it appeared to be dying on the shore. They described it as looking somewhat like a large sturgeon, but with arms.
The brothers fled in terror but later returned to find the creature gone and leaving behind marks along the beach where it had moved, as well as, had shed some of its silver-colored scales, which they said were roughly the size of silver dollars.
But while sightings of other sea monsters in America have declined, the number of people claiming to have spotted Bessie has been increasing, especially in recent decades. A string of sightings occurred during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
This sea creature is described as being black, long, snake-like and having flippers. One observer said the creature’s head was somewhat shaped like a horse’s and about the size of a football. Sightings have estimated the creature’s length somewhere between 25 and 40 feet.
It swimming motion is said to resemble a sine curve as it moves through the water.
The earliest known sighting was reported by a military helicopter which flew over the Bush River in 1936. A crew member reported seeing: “something reptilian and unknown in the water.”
Then around 1977, a rash of sightings were reported. Sightings picked up again in the 1980s. Since then, reports only come in occasionally.
Lake Tahoe, which extends across both Nevada and California, is the largest Alpine Lake in North America. Tales of a creature residing inside the lake go all the way back to the mid-19th century, as reported by Paiute and Washoe tribes, which believed the sea monster lived beneath cave rock in an underwater tunnel.
Two off-duty police officers boating on the lake reported seeing the creature in the 1950s and said the sea serpent kept pace with them as they accelerated to over 60 miles per hour.
The creature is said to possess a large, serpentine body, having smooth, reptilian features, and a length somewhere between 10 and 80 feet. The color of the creature varies in different reports, with some saying its color is black and others recalling turquoise.
Reports of a sea creature that dwelled in the waters near Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border first appeared in the 19th century, in second-hand articles written by a Mormon colonizer in the area, who publish the tales in the Discrete News, the official publication of the LDS Church, and even garnered the interest of Mormon Church President Brigham Young.
However, he later recanted the stories. Nonetheless, there have been many reported sightings, most notably in 1937, 1946, and with the most recent in 2002.
The Bear Lake monster is said to be a serpentine creature, although it possesses very short legs, roughly 18 inches long, on which it sometimes uses to waddle along the shoreline. The length of the monster varies, with reports between 30-50 feet.
One observer said the monster was a light cream color and moved at a very swift speed. Some described its head as being like a cow, while others said “otter, crocodile or like a walrus but without tusks.