Friday 12 March 2010

Great Slave Lake creature -possible identity?

Great Slave Lake is the second largest lake in Canada It covers an area of 10,962 square miles and is said to be more than 2015 feet (approx 670 metres) deep( I was unable to find a verified depth). It is named after the Slave (Dogrib) tribe of Native Americans. In 1771 British fur trader Samuel Heame exploring the area crossed the lake, which he named Lake Athapuscow. In the 1930’s gold was discovered in the area lead to the establishment of a city called Yellowknife. The lake remains partially frozen for almost eight months of the year and the ice becomes thick enough for trucks to pass over it.

Stories of an unknown creature in the lake nicknamed Ol’Slavey have been around for many years. People travelling across the lake have reported their boats being hit or striking an object when over 300 feet( 96 metres) of water but not actually seeing anything.

The first documented sighting I could find was this but no date :On a moonlit night Antoine Michel and his wife where returning to their home from a caribou hunt across the lake. They saw what appeared to be a large rock sticking up out of the water and navigated the boat around it. The rock sank below the surface as they passed and waves from it rocked the boat. (Unusual behaviour for a rock.)

In the mid 90’s there was a recovery operation to locate the body of a man who had fallen through the ice. Two of the three divers reported they saw a large animal which was described by one of the divers as having an alligator like body with a head like that of a pike.

In 2004 Roman Catholic priest, Father Jim Lynn, looked out from his home on the shores of the Great Slave Lake, near Yellowknife, and saw a something moving at a great speed across the lake. See report below:

'It was like the head of a dragon'

Continuing reports of mysterious creature

swimming in North America's deepest lake

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. - Somewhere in the murky depths of the continent's deepest lake, a monster lurks. Jim Lynn is sure of it. This week, the Roman Catholic priest was looking out from his home on the shores of Great Slave Lake near Yellowknife when he saw an object trailing a small boat across the water. "I got the goggles because it was moving fast and I was kind of curious as to what it was," said Lynn, 66. "It was high, six to eight feet above the water and moving at an incredulous speed. "It was like the head of a dragon -- just coming out of the water at just a ferocious speed, just moving like crazy." Lynn watched as the creature, which looked green, hurtle behind an island, then disappear. He quickly called the Yellowknifer, a local newspaper, to place a advertisement asking the person on the lake that day to call him. "I would think they would have felt the waves (from the creature)," he said. Step aside, Nessie and Ogopogo, there's a new mystery leviathan on the block. And according to Chris Woodall, it's called Ol'Slavey. Woodall, a Yellowknifer columnist, wrote earlier this summer that Great Slave Lake, with a maximum depth of 614 metres, hides some weird and wonderful creature.

To his surprise, his phone soon started ringing with calls from people who claimed to have seen just such a thing. He gave the creature the name Ol'Slavey, after one of the aboriginal languages in the Northwest Territories. It's a fitting name, since the Dene have many stories about an unknown creature in the waters. When Antoine Michel was growing up in the traditional community of Lutsel K'e, about 200 kilometres east of Yellowknife, he was taught that a creature lived in the waters off Utsingi Point, about 80 kilometres southwest of the community. To appease the nameless creature, people boating by the point pass in silence and pay respect to the lake with tobacco offerings. "We usually stop the motor and go around the point, paddle quietly," he said. Years later, he saw the creature himself, on a calm moonlit night as he and his wife returned by boat from a caribou hunt. "We seen a rock there. I thought it was a rock first time, there was seagulls around it," he said. "I just turned away from it, I didn't want to hit it, (then) it just went down. I felt the waves, and then I just took off. I didn't take a look back." Boaters have seen strange creatures suddenly surfacing in the water in front of them. Lutsel K'e is near some of the deepest pockets in Great Slave Lake, a natural habitat for a beast of the depths. Naysayers will say it's just a big fish, but northern divers who actually swim those waters say differently. A decade ago, Arctic Divers was on a deep-water body retrieval near Lutsel K'e when one of its divers saw a terrifying beast. "It looked much like an alligator, but with a head like a pike," said Wayne Gzowski, the company's district manager. "I really do believe that there's unknown marine life in a lot of these areas," he said, in places that have never before been explored by humans. According to aboriginal legend, the great Mackenzie River was created by a giant beaver. Rene Fumoleau, a retired Oblate priest and respected northern historian, remembers a Gwich'in elder telling him that a dragon now lives in the waters of Canada's biggest river."There are some places where the water never freezes in winter, and that is because there is that monster somewhere at the bottom of the river that stirs the waters," he said. The Mackenzie flows out of Great Slave Lake; perhaps Ol'Slavey moves between haunts. Whatever the case, Archie Catholique, the chief of Lutsel K'e, is a believer. "The elders were saying that this thing here doesn't bother anybody -- it's not there to hurt anybody," he said. But, he added, "people see it."

Source: Nathan VanderKlippe CanWest News Service Saturday, September 18, 2004 Originally from Edmonton Journal

The description sounds to me like a sturgeon or an alligator gar. I have no idea if they would like in those cold waters. Perhaps someone can post if they know. Certainly an intriguing tale.

7 comments: said...

I was just up at Great Slave this weekend on a fishing trip. While me and some of the other fishermen were up at the lodge, we were looking out over the bay, which was competly calm, bairly any wind at all, where we saw which appeared to be an object moving across the bay. One fisher said it was just a rough wave, but you could see a black object at the tip of the wave. We watched it for about a minute or two, and then it suddenly dissapeared. I know I saw something, it it was too big to be a beaver or a muscrat or any bird.

Anonymous said...

I was driving north along Lake Willoughby Saturday June 30, 2012 and saw something moving thru the water creating a small wake about a mile north of the campground at the south end. It moved much faster than any waterfowl could swim. I watched this movement for almost a minute. Too far away to identify it. It submurged for about a minute and resurfaced about 200 yards further north..Almost appeared to be creating a small spray of water and air...Watched it for about 30 seconds this time and then it was gone....

Anonymous said...

Well this is very interesting cause my father, who is a guide on great slave lake, never heard the stories of ol'slavey and neither have i till today. But what is very interesting is that my father asked me to help him look up Tiamen. because he was trying to explain the fact that when fishing for trout that something else in the lake was taking large fish off the line, (sometimes nothing but guts would be lefter behind) and every so often they catch a fish that they absolutly can not bring up without snapping the line, (even with the use of cable). He said that you would be realing in a fish and all of a sudden it like something pulled the fish right to the bottom of the lake and you can't even pull up on it for a bit then it will let go. Trophy fishing spots have seem to be running dry, also their boats hitting something that felt like a rock but no damage was done to the prop or anything and it was lake something hit the boat. So for my dad to say the same things leads me to beleive, unquestionablely, that something is going on in the lake. The reason he suspected Tiamen was cause of all their sharp teeth. Not saying it is that but its just something we were trying to see if it was possible that was going on, where as like i said we never heard of the tales of ol'slavey till now. I'm telling this from a second party perspective from what I gathered from my father. I don't doubt that there is something strange out in the lake now even from what hes told me and what I've read where others say the same thing.

Anonymous said...

on a 2 day hunting trip back to lutselke me an my uncle seen a rock sticking out of the water that isn't supposed to be there as we got closer with the boat it the object sank creating waves it was creepy because we had 40 mins to cross to the other side of the lake

Anonymous said...

The season was just turning into spring when the ice on the lake was slowly melting. It was a nice day so me and my dad decide to go on top of the hill, I looked towards the lake and saw something dark lurking in the lake. Then an 18 foot boat was heading towards it i could see it dive into the deep, dark water. It was about twice the size of the boat! After the boat passed it it surfaced once more about 300 - 500 feet further then it went under the ice and disappeared. I believe it was this Ol'Slavey that everyone is talking about.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Yellowknife for most my life and just recently they added a new edition that is made out of plywood and it looks like a sea monster. Before that, i never heard of O'Slavey.

B.H. said...


Fascinating stories here. I'm a lake creature researcher based, in B.C., Canada, and have become interested in stories of Great slake Lake's unidentified animals. If any of you would like to tell me about your stories, send them to

I'd be most interested hearing about your stories. I'll get back in touch with you after I've read your stories. Thank you! :)