Far from the mountains and forests, it is set in the middle of the Patagonian steppe (45°30’ S, 68°50’ W)in Chubut province, Argentina.
In the 1990s, a fisherman, Eloy Hutnik from the nearby town of Sarmiento saw a strange creature there.
A more recent sighting occurred on the morning of December 14, 2001, at a ranch named El Sacrificio. Farmer Elías Geréz born and bred by the lake and two cowhands told their story:
about 600 meters [1,970 ft.] from the shore we saw something big and strange that was moving in the lake […]I then saw something, very similar to a horse but seen from behind, because its head, if it had one, I did not see it. […] it had a very big and thick body, like the one of an elephant.
They then used binoculars and what they saw left them speechless “the rear of this animal […] was big, thick, rounded” it quickly disappeared in the shallow waters among the rushes and grass that grow in the lake.
Geréz knew the local animals well, and it is unlikely that he mistook a cow or a horse with what he saw in the lake. He said that although no one had believed Hutnik fifteen years before, he agreed that his sighting and Hutnik’s coincided.
He added that his son Nemesio, seven years earlier had come home very frightened and said he had “seen some big creatures swimming in the lake”.
The lake is large but shallow and it is fed by the outflow of Lake Musters, which in turn receives the Senguer River.
Until 1939, the Colhue Huapi used to flow out into the Atlantic Ocean through the Chico and Chubut rivers. Since then, due to the use of Senguer’s water for irrigation, it has been gradually drying and its level dropping.
This shallow lake, with a maximum depth of 5.5 m (18 ft.) has very turbid waters and a large population of local endemic fish, such as the big mouthed perch (Percichthys colhuapiensis).
Its surface is 810 km2 (313 sq. mi.) but fluctuates widely depending on the inflow received. It is interesting to point out that in 2001, the year of the sighting, the lake surface had dwindled to barely 98 km2 (38 sq. mi.), and this shrinking habitat perhaps forced the strange animals sighted by Geréz out into the open.
Also, an this is interesting, Colhue and Senguer were home to the mysterious water monster, the Iemisch reported in the late 1890s by Argentine scientist Florentino. (See my post on Iemisch).
 Los Andes. Cuentan que hay un “monstruo” anfibio en el lago Colhué Huapi. Mendoza, Argentina. 14.01.2002.
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©