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The Lore of Lake Lanier.

This week on Gwinnett History: Back In The Day we are discussing “What Lies Beneath.”

Lake Lanier is Gwinnett’s primary water source and this week we’re putting on a snorkel and diving into the history that lies beneath the surface. We take you from Valley Forge to the valley under the lake as we explore a revolutionary war veteran whose last act of service occurred nearly 100 years after he died. We hear the incredible story of two missing women that led to the legend of a mysterious lady of the lake, and yes, of course we discuss the giant catfish!

Ever since I was a kid I’ve heard tales of giant catfish in the lake. After I grew up a bit, I sort of put those stories in the back of my mind. Then one day I was out on Lake Lanier striper fishing and something hit the rod so hard it cracked it right in two.

I had let the slack run out of the line, and honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention while the shad fell to the depths as the boat stopped trolling. Then wham! I reached back and grabbed the rod, but there was no chance. Now, perhaps it was a stump, or the top of an underwater structure, but I’ve never seen a snag shatter a fiberglass fishing pole like that! It was much more fun to give the credit to a monster catfish!

A simple post on Facebook to see if anyone else grew up hearing these stories proved quickly that there are many stories to hear. I had read through nearly 38 comments in a matter of minutes.

So, are there catfish the size of smart cars in the bottom of Lake Lanier, or is this just local folks spinning a yarn? Is this history or is this more legend and lore? Well, here in Gwinnett, spinning a yarn can also be history. What is most definitely true is the legend itself is a part of our local history and charm. So, while practical evidence doesn’t seem to exist, many many stories and eye-witness accounts do, making Lanier’s “giant catfish” our very own version of a Loch Ness Monster.


GWINNETT HISTORY: BACK IN THE DAY is hosted by Nathan McGill, an award-winning filmmaker, writer and storyteller at The Guide to Gwinnett and Gwinnett Magazine. Subscribe and follow along as Nathan leads us through compelling stories about Gwinnett.