A Fish Tale

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Something Fishy” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article. The reflections are 100% natural.

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.

This is one of caves in Summerville Lake that is said to shelter a giant catfish. During the summer it’s well below the water line.

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.

Summerville Lake at winter pool is still a large body of water.

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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Daydreams Of A Legend

About tonight’s feature image, this is the same clump of willow trees that I have been photographing in different seasons for almost a year. I processed several versions of the photos but decided that the blue of the selenium filter gave the best feeling of a cold winter day. The image title is simply “The Wading Willows In January“.

The spray from Kanawha Falls seems to freeze in the air on this cold January morning. The wading willows seem to be wandering out of the mists as if they are on their way back to shore. The scene takes on an otherworldly feel that’s right out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. If not for the soft whine of the turbines belonging to the hydroelectric dam it would be easy to forget that Route 60 was just a few steps away. Still, I have to wonder if there’s a monster lurking in the icy depths below. Not some “Devil Fish” of folklore with tenticals such but a real world monster. Every body of water has a legendary fish that’s more than just the one that got away. In my area it’s usually a catfish that’s large enough to swallow a man whole that live at the base of dams and bridges. Occasionally someone sees a V shape in the water or spots one near the surface. I’ve met at least one person who showed me an expensive fishing pole designed for fishing the ocean surf that was snapped off at the base and the hook was pulled out straight. They say that when the water is up that the really big ones come looking for new hunting grounds around the stumps and logs that are inaccessible otherwise. It would be great to rig up a big fishing pole with just the right bait on a day like this. Perhaps I could build a small fire to keep warm and settle the monster catfish issue once and for all. However, the real world need to be on time for my day job pulls me away from the quest and the really big one gets away again.

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Capturing A Dragon

The ancient Chinese told how dragons might be responsible for storms. The Aztecs had Quetzalcoatl. But the old timers in the eastern part of West Virginia told stories about the Snallygastor. A dragon in the New World. Even though the feature image shows a dragon-like impression in the texture of the clouds I’m not quite ready to lay responsibility of a storm on the existence of a “fearsome critter”. But it does seem to fuel the imagination. I can imagine a grandfather type character looking out from the shelter with children on his knee telling them all about the dragons as the storms pass. The story always has a happy ending and the children become so enthralled by the tale that they forget about the fear of thunder and lightning outside.