Okanagan Lake

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Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake.jpg
Location British Columbia
Coordinates 50°0′N 119°30′W / 50.000°N 119.500°W / 50.000; -119.500Coordinates: 50°0′N 119°30′W / 50.000°N 119.500°W / 50.000; -119.500
Lake type Fjord Lake,[1] Monomictic, Oligotrophic
Primary inflows Mission Creek, Vernon Creek, Trout Creek, Penticton Creek, Equesis Creek, Kelowna Creek, Peachland Creek and Powers Creek
Primary outflows Okanagan River
Catchment area 6,200 km2 (2,400 sq mi)
Basin countries Canada
Max. length 135 kilometres (84 mi)
Max. width 5 kilometres (3.1 mi)
Surface area 351 square kilometres (136 sq mi)
Average depth 76 m (249 ft)
Max. depth 232 m (761 ft)
Water volume 24.6 cubic kilometres (5.9 cu mi)
Residence time 52.8 years
Shore length1 270 kilometres (170 mi)
Surface elevation 342 m (1,122 ft)
Frozen 1906/07 & 1949/50
Islands Rattlesnake Island, Grant Island
Settlements Vernon, Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton
References [2]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
Okanagan Lake winds between Kelowna (foreground) and Westbank (background).

Okanagan Lake is a large, deep lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. The lake is 135 km long, between 4 and 5 km wide, and has a surface area of 348 km².[3][4][5]


Okanagan Lake is composed of three basins:[citation needed] a larger north basin, a central or mid basin, and a southern basin. Major inflows include Mission, Vernon, Trout, Penticton, Equesis, Kelowna, Peachland and Powers Creeks.[6] The lake is drained by the Okanagan River, which exits the lake's south end via a canal through the city of Penticton to Skaha Lake, whence the river continues southwards into the rest of the South Okanagan and through Okanogan County, Washington to its confluence with the Columbia.

The lake's maximum depth is 232 metres near Grant Island (Nahun Weenox). There is one other island known as Rattlesnake Island, much farther south by Squally Point. Some areas of the lake have up to 750 metres of glacial and post-glacial sediment fill which were deposited during the Pleistocene Epoch.[1]

Notable features of the Okanagan Valley include terraces which were formed due to the periodic lowering of the lake's predecessor, glacial Lake Penticton. These terraces are now used extensively for agriculture such as fruit cultivation.

Geographical context[edit]

Cities bordering the lake include Vernon in the north, Penticton in the south, and Kelowna, as well as the municipalities of Lake Country (north of Kelowna), West Kelowna (west of Kelowna), Peachland (south of West Kelowna), and Summerland (north-west of Penticton). Unincorporated communities include Naramata (north-east of Penticton).

Various lake features include Rattlesnake Island (a small island east of Peachland), Squally Point (a popular cliff-diving area) & Fintry Delta on the west side.

The five-lane William R. Bennett Bridge, a floating bridge with a high boat passage arch connects Kelowna to the city of West Kelowna and the community of Westbank. This bridge replaced the three-lane floating Okanagan Lake Bridge on May 30, 2008 which had a lift span for passage of large boats.


Many parks and beaches are found along the shores of the lake, which make boating and swimming very popular activities.

The lake is home to several species of fish, including rainbow trout and kokanee. It is said by some to be home to its own lake monster - a giant serpent-like creature named Ogopogo.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eyles, N., Mullins, H.T., and Hine, A.C. (1990). "Thick and fast: Sedimentation in a Pleistocene fiord lake of British Columbia, Canada". Geology 18 (11): 1153–1157. Bibcode:1990Geo....18.1153E. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1990)018<1153:TAFSIA>2.3.CO;2. 
  2. ^ "Okanagan Lake". BC Geographical Names. 
  3. ^ Limnology of the Major Lakes in the Okanagan Basin. Canada - British Columbia Okanagan Basin Agreement, Final Report, Technical Supplement V. (PDF) (Report). Penticton, British Columbia: British Columbia Water Resources Service. April 1974. p. 46. Retrieved 2015-10-22. Okanagan Lake surface area: 348 * 106 m2. Dat compiled by the charts of the Fish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, BC. 
  4. ^ Stockner J.G., Northcote T.G. (1974). "Recent limnological studies of Okanagan Basin lakes and their contribution to comprehensive water resource planning". Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 31: 955–976. doi:10.1139/f74-111. 
  5. ^ "Okanagan Lake". World Lakes Database. International Lake Environment Committee Foundation. Retrieved 2006-05-12. 
  6. ^ "CHAPTER 1: The Okanagan Basin" in section "1.2 Drainage". CANADA - BRITISH COLUMBIA OKANAGAN BASIN AGREEMENT THE MAIN REPORT OF THE CONSULTATIVE BOARD, Part 1 Introduction (Report). Penticton, British Columbia: British Columbia Water Resources Service. March 31, 1974. p. 5. Major tributaries of Okanagan Lake, listed in order of decreasing annual discharge are Mission, Vernon, Trout, Penticton, Equesis, Kelowna, Peachland and Powers Creeks. 

External links[edit]