We all know about the famous Loch Ness monster, but did you know the Maritimes has a lake monster of its own?

Growing up around Lake Utopia in New Brunswick, Jack Kelson heard the stories about what was in the water.

“My grandfather always told us,” Kelson said. “He always told us there was a sea monster in Lake Utopia.”

His grandfather ran a little fishing club that people from Saint John, St. Stephen would come to and rent boats from his grandfather.

Kelson says he came face-to-face with the mysterious monster when he was 13 and out fishing off Cannonball Island with his father.

“I was rowing of course, and he was fishing, and he looked and said there's the sea monster, you could see the big black rolls of the thing going up like that,” Kelson said.

Lake Utopia is located in southern New Brunswick's Charlotte County and connects to the Magaguadavic River.

It runs about seven kilometres long and is less than three kilometres across at the widest point. It has long been the site of monster legend.

There have been publicly reported sightings of a creature in the lake for well over a century now, dating all the way back to the 1800s.

That's led some to the conclusion that there's been more than one monster and that it travels.

“It was coming into the lake for feeding purposes, it would eat what it wanted,” said Norma Stewart. “It isn't carnivorous, it doesn't have teeth, mostly it would be the plankton and plant life it was searching for food, and then when it was finished feeding it would leave.”

But marine biologist Stephen Turnbull says the lake simply can't support something of that size.

“There's no tidal fluctuations in the lake,” said Turnbull. “It's frozen over in the wintertime, so it's highly unlikely that an air breathing animal could survive in that type of environment especially if it's that large.”

Kelson says his father believed the monster they saw that day was a group of breeding eels. As for him, he says he doesn't quite know what it was he saw.

“It was quite a sight to see, I can tell you that,” Kelson said.

So for now, the legend of the Lake Utopia monster lives on in local folklore.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.