Lake monsters are reported from all over the world; reports have come from every continent other than Antarctica.
Without a doubt, the most famous lake monster in the world has got to be the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland. Strange animals have been sighted at Loch Ness for centuries. However, it was not until 1933 that these cryptids became very popular. In that year, there was a new road that was built right next to the loch. This may have been at least partially responsible for the dramatic increase in sightings that year.
Another famous lake monster is Champ of Lake Champlain in the United States. Native Americans living next to the lake have long had legends about a strange creature or 'dragon' living in the lake. The Abenaki called these creatures Tataskok. Sightings of these creatures increased greatly in the late 19th century. In 1873, it was even alleged that one of these creatures swam into a ship on the lake, nearly sinking it in the process.
According to the eyewitness descriptions and photos that have been taken of them, Nessie and Champ look very similar to each other. Although descriptions vary widely, most eyewitnesses describe a large, aquatic creature with a long neck and four flippers; in other words, a very plesiosaur-like animal.
Numerous ideas and hypotheses have been developed over the years to attempt to explain these anomalous freshwater cryptids. Obviously, one of the most likely candidates at first glance appears to be a surviving plesiosaur. They match the body shape and anatomy very well, and are very reminiscent of some of the eyewitness descriptions and photographs.
Some other hypotheses include: a large amphibian, like a giant salamander; a giant, long-necked pinniped; and a giant eel.
However, despite all of the ideas that have been proposed, we still have no idea what these cryptids actually are. Hopefully, in the future, they will be discovered and scientifically-named. Then, we will finally have solved one of the greatest mysteries in the history of mankind: the mystery of the lake monsters.