DeSmet Lake Monster
DeSmet Lake

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Lake Desmet not only attracts fishermen looking to catch the great rainbow trout or crappies it provides, but “Smetty” is another great attraction. Smetty is the legendary creature believed to inhabit Lake Desmet.

The lake is named for a Jesuit missionary priest to the Indians, Father Pierre DeSmet, back in the early 1800’s. Rumor has it that the Indians were so frightened by this body of water, they refused to camp along the red shale shores. Some say that the Sioux Indians believed the waters had healing powers and the ability to prompt visions. The tribe legend was that a young brave turned against the love of his life because he was overpowered by the charms of a water maiden rising from its depths. His intended wife-to-be was so distraught by his rejection she subsequently drowned herself. Her father, the tribal chief seeking revenge, swiftly administered justice to the unfaithful young man. In the darkness of windy Wyoming nights, his spirit supposedly wanders around the shore bemoaning the loss of his Indian maiden.

Local ranchers often told stories about seeing a 30 to 40 foot long looking like a “long telephone pole with a lard bucket attached.” Other recorded physical characteristics include a “bony ridge along the back, with a resemblance to a horse’s head coming out of the water in a swimming motion.”

There have been tales about the lake’s dark side that range from a monster resembling an alligator rising from the waters to a Loch Ness-type creature that seized an Indian papoose and disappeared into the murky depths.

When imagination runs high, “Smetty” is said to dwell in the so-called bottomless lake’s subterranean caverns sometimes speculated to be a faraway outlet from the Pacific Ocean.

Edward Gillette, author of “Locating the Iron Trail” wrote a book in 1925 chronicling the tales and observations surrounding “Smetty”. Visit Lake Desmet and judge for yourself, but don’t forget to take your fishing pole and bait so you don’t miss out on some great fishing!

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