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COUNTY: Cowlitz County
LOCATION DETAILS: Along the Kalama river, a popular steelhead fishing area (at the time, I'm not sure now). Most areas of this river are accessible from Kalama River Road.
NEAREST TOWN: Kalama, Washington
NEAREST ROAD: Kalama River Road/I-5 (a ways away)
OBSERVED: This is a story that I've never put down on paper, although I've told many people about it over the years. I was young a the time, but I am sure of what I saw, so I suppose it's time to report it. You'll forgive me if the details are sketchy, it's been about 16 years (I'm 28 now).
I was steelhead fishing with my father on the Kalama river in southwest Washington state. My dad left me at a bend in the river (unfortunately, I was 12, so I don't know exactly where) and went down to fish out of sight from me.
I drift-fished for a while, with no luck. Then I heard an odd "whack-whack" sound, and looked upriver. Across the river, about a 50-70 yards away, I saw a large, black, bipedal figure with a fish (maybe a steelhead?) in its hands. I say hands, not claws, because it repeatedly raised the fish overhead and brought it down on a rock, apparently to kill it. It moved its arms like a brachiating ape, overhead and down in a pretty large half-circle.
What struck me most, other than the odd way of killing a fish, was how upright and thin the figure appeared—I'm no naturalist, but I'd seen Grizzly Adams enough (and spent enough time hunting with my dad) to know what a bear looked like, and this was not a bear. I suppose it could have been a swarthy human dressed all in black whacking a fish against a rock, but why?
Being 12, I pretty much froze and watched. I remember thinking I wasn't going to catch any fish if I didn't cast the line again, but I didn't want to attract the attention of whatever it was across the river. It's difficult to reckon time in this instance, but I would guess it was only a couple of minutes before the creature took the fish and walked back up toward the woods.I didn't actually see it go into the woods, because I reeled my line in as soon as it started to move away and was intent on finding my dad. As soon as I got my line in, I ran down around the bend and told my dad what I'd seen. He told me it was probably just another fisherman and to go back and get my fishing pole.
I realize that a 16 year-old report may seem dubious, but I know what I saw wasn't any kind of animal I'd seen before. I was unable to get across the river (my dad couldn't see the logic in it) to look for tracks, to my eternal regret.
OTHER WITNESSES: One witness: me. I was steelhead fishing, with my line out. My dad was around the bend, out of sight.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The sun was shining clearly. It was early morning.
ENVIRONMENT: A bend in the river. Wish I could be of more help here, but I was only 12.
A & G References: Pg. 32, D3
Follow-up investigation report: