4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

McCall, Idaho: the Monster of Payette Lake

Serene Payette Lake...but what's beneath?
Serene Payette Lake...but what's beneath?

An afternoon spent at Payette Lake can be relaxing and refreshing – as long as you refrain from dwelling on what lies beneath.

The 5,330-acre lake, around which the resort town of McCall, Idaho, was built, is 392 feet at its deepest recorded depth. And within those murky depths lives a beast called Sharlie. Or so some say.

The first documented sighting of Payette Lake’s serpentine monster took place in 1920, and in the 1940s several groups of people also claimed to have seen a serpent 30 to 40 feet long with humps and scaly skin. As word spread, tourists headed for McCall hoping to sight the mysterious creature. In 1954 the local newspaper, the Star News, held a contest to name the lake monster. A Virginian won the contest with the name “Sharlie.”

Some believe the monster is fictitious; others think it’s a giant sturgeon or some other unusually large fish. Whether Sharlie is real or not, the town of McCall claims him proudly.

South of the lake is a street called Sharlie Lane. A small public garden on the lake’s west side has been named Sharlie’s Garden. Gift shops sell Sharlie t-shirts and stuffed Sharlie dolls. And every year during the town’s winter carnival, at least one sculptor carves a giant Sharlie in ice.

Sharlie stories and occasional sightings (the latest documented in 2002) don’t keep locals or tourists out of the lake. Water skiers, wakeboarders and jet skiers take advantage of the wide expanse of crisp glacial water all summer.

For those afraid of mystery serpents, however, this writer recommends sticking to the lake’s shallow edges.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Communal Coffee’s tempting toast bar

We’re still talking anemic-sounding nuts ’n twigs flavors
Next Article

Electronic illusions of nocturnal wonderlands

Rad Cat, Olivia Rodrigo, the Color Forty-Nine, Big Mountain
Serene Payette Lake...but what's beneath?
Serene Payette Lake...but what's beneath?

An afternoon spent at Payette Lake can be relaxing and refreshing – as long as you refrain from dwelling on what lies beneath.

The 5,330-acre lake, around which the resort town of McCall, Idaho, was built, is 392 feet at its deepest recorded depth. And within those murky depths lives a beast called Sharlie. Or so some say.

The first documented sighting of Payette Lake’s serpentine monster took place in 1920, and in the 1940s several groups of people also claimed to have seen a serpent 30 to 40 feet long with humps and scaly skin. As word spread, tourists headed for McCall hoping to sight the mysterious creature. In 1954 the local newspaper, the Star News, held a contest to name the lake monster. A Virginian won the contest with the name “Sharlie.”

Some believe the monster is fictitious; others think it’s a giant sturgeon or some other unusually large fish. Whether Sharlie is real or not, the town of McCall claims him proudly.

South of the lake is a street called Sharlie Lane. A small public garden on the lake’s west side has been named Sharlie’s Garden. Gift shops sell Sharlie t-shirts and stuffed Sharlie dolls. And every year during the town’s winter carnival, at least one sculptor carves a giant Sharlie in ice.

Sharlie stories and occasional sightings (the latest documented in 2002) don’t keep locals or tourists out of the lake. Water skiers, wakeboarders and jet skiers take advantage of the wide expanse of crisp glacial water all summer.

For those afraid of mystery serpents, however, this writer recommends sticking to the lake’s shallow edges.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Mira Mesa man captured first giant panda in 1936

SeaWorld dolphin training, Wild Animal Park in its first year, taming of a violent elephant, the Zoo's hunt for pandas, how men and animals differ
Next Article

You can’t really name the spots because they are on a need-to-know basis.

“Couple of the breaks you’re not really supposed to name,”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close