Every lake has it’s legends. Scotland has Nessie, Lake Champlain boasts of Champ and the ancient Greeks told of the Kraken. But deep down beneath the surface of Summersville Lake something glides through the sunken town of Gad. The light doesn’t penetrate down there so the creature must prefer the darkness. I’ll never forget trolling up to one of the larger houseboats on the lake one summer morning and being shown the large ocean rig snapped off at base and a large hook that was pulled out straight. I may have even caught a glimpse of the scaly beast a few days later when a sudden swirl of water swallowed up an eighteen inch long copperhead. We motored over for a better look but only found the serpent’s head as it slowly disappeared into the murky depths. A local diver is said to be the only person who came face to face with the monster fish and lived to tell the tale of the giant catfish in Summerville Lake.
Just like in any good tale of a legendary beast there’s a bit of controversy. Some people say that it’s all wild imagination. The ocean rod and hook could have snagged a log or large rock under the water. The diver could have been closer to a large but normal sized fish than he thought. The pictures in the local dive shop could be a forced perspective. ( objects closer than they appear. ) But then again. The lake is 300 feet deep in the summer. The lake covers over 2,700 acres and has over 60 miles of shoreline. If that’s not enough space to hide a monster then there’s also submerged caves.
The cave pictured here has an opening about the size of a small garage door. The picture was taken during winter when the lake had been drained. There’s plenty of room in there for an abnormal sized fish to hide.
I know what some of you are thinking. “If they drain the lake every year then why isn’t there a giant catfish laying in the mud?” The answer is that they don’t fully drain the lake. I don’t exactly know what the depth is at winter pool but it’s still pretty deep.
In the next photo we see Summersville Lake at winter pool. In the frame you can see the old road that once lead to the town of Gad.
I have written before that the Corps Of Engineers nearly named the lake after the town of Gad. Which would have made it Gad Dam Lake and any giant catfish living in the lake a Gad Dam monster. ( since I only post pictures that I’ve taken myself here is a link to story of Gad including photos from the past. Underwater Ghost Town )
Until someone actually manages to haul a 300 pound catfish up from the sunken town of Gad it will remain in realm of legend. In the meantime, I have the natural illusion of a giant fish made by a cluster of fallen trees in the Salmon Run area of Summersville Lake.
So now I have to ask. Do you have a legend of giant fish where you live?
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