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Smetty 1

An older drawing depicting what Smetty possibly looked like.

Lake DeSmet

An overview of Lake DeSmet

The DeSmet Lake Monster, also known as Smetty, is a lake monster rumored to lurk within the depths of Lake DeSmet in Johnson County, Wyoming.

Lake DeSmet[]

Lake DeSmet was named for Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, who converted Native Americans to Christianity. The lake itself occupies a natural undrained basin on the divide between Piney Creek, and one of its tributaries, Boxelder Creek. It is one of several basins in the Buffalo area that were formed by coal seam fires. After the coal deposits burned, the clinker and other sediments collapsed into the space vacated by the burned coal forming a natural basin.

The lake was originally rather small, being only six miles long, according to Jean De Smet in a letter he wrote on August 24, 1851. Another report by Cpt. Henry E. Palmer in 1865 described the lake as "two miles long and about three-fourths of a mile wide."

Not only was it small, but it was at first implied to be unsuitable for most life, due to high levels of alkali metals.

In 1885-1915, precipitation and runoff dropped the salinity of the lake, which changed the pH to a more hospitable area for aquatic creatures to thrive.

A dam was first built in 1917, then built higher in 1957. In 1976, the company Texaco purchased the lake from Reynolds Mining and once more raised the dam.

The lake approximately went from only being 1,500 acres to being about 3,600 acres.


Some local tales tell of an alligator-like "Loch Ness-type" creature rising from the waters and seizing a Native American papoose before returning to the murky depths. This is only one of many supposed fatalities caused by the monster.

A railroad surveyor by the name Edward Gillette (who later had a town named after him) recorded a family's report, as read in his book, Locating the Iron Trail: “They had seen two sea serpents which had made a great commotion in the water, and swam as fast as a horse could trot. Mrs. Barkey stated that ‘they looked like a long telephone pole with lard buckets attached,’ referring no doubt to the fins or flappers along their sides.” In another entry, Gillette wrote "These testimonies coming from thoroughly reliable persons, familiar with the country through long residence, and who discredited the old sea serpent reports, makes one come to the conclusion that probably there are some specimens of a supposed extinct species of water animal in this lake, similar to those recently reported from Patagonia. Personally, I have no reason to doubt the statements of these ranchers.”


Smetty is more than likely a hoax, as Lake DeSmet is a man-made reservoir which originated from a relatively small lake that would've been unable to support a large aquatic predator, not to forget that the lake was originally unsuitable for most aquatic life to thrive. This is also combined with no recent reliable present day reports, photos, etc. of anything within the lake.