The Lake Improvement Association today unveiled a new, mythical mascot for Grand Lake St. Marys:  the Hoedag, a rather unique creature that has been rumored to lurk in the shallow waters of the lake for decades. 

The Hoedag’s history in Grand Lake St. Marys dates back to initial “sightings” in 1910, and it is reputed to be three-fourths the size of an elephant, possess a serpentine body with a back hump, chicken-like feet, a green eye on its forehead and a red eye on its long tail, and be covered with hair and feathers. 

The Hoedag’s diet supposedly consists of the farm dogs that once ventured into its native cattail habitat (cattails are now rare in GLSM), frightened humans (it has been linked to several human disappearances), and its favorite food, pumpkin pie.

The Hoedag makes a moaning sound, like a mix between the call of a yahoo bird and the whinee of a horse; and has also been heard cackling and screaming when amused.  It is believed that the Hoedag is lonely and starved for affection, hence its mournful cry.

The Hoedag was the subject of a recent Lake Improvement Association video contest for local high school students, and more information about the origins of this Grand Lake St. Marys monster can be found at 

“The Hoedag is a perfect mascot for Grand Lake St. Marys because it is a whole lot of fun, but also often misunderstood, so it shares the same qualities as the lake,” said LIA Vice President Mark Piening. “The Hoedag represents not just a mythical fantasy, but the whole of the issues at Grand Lake St. Marys – all the wildlife, recreational opportunities, and businesses that struggle to survive when lake conditions are poor.  If we can save the Hoedag, we can save those things as well – and have a bit of fun while doing it. After all, it’s only fitting that a lake with such a storied history should have its own Loch Ness Monster. The mascot is not frivolous, but a unified symbol that can help draw attention to the issues and opportunities at Grand Lake St. Marys.”

More about the Hoedag can be found in the Lake Improvement Association Grand Lake St. Marys Education Series located at 

An old Hoedag illustration had been featured several times in local publications over the decades, and the Lake Improvement Association sought a local designer who could capture its essence yet update it for modern use. The new illustration was donated by local graphic designer Adam Harruff, a Celina native who attained his Associate’s Degree of Applied Business in Advertising Art from the School of Advertising Art and is currently completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. 

“Completing this project was a great experience,” said Harruff. “I feel that any design work that helps a cause is a good one, so it was definitely my pleasure to donate this work to help the Lake Improvement Association.”

For graphic design inquiries, Adam Harruff can be reached via email at or phone at 419-953-0690.