Okanagan Lake is 232m (761ft) deep and 135km (84m) long so it is anyone’s guess what lives under the waves, but there is a popular belief that Ogopogo makes his home in the lake. Over 200 sightings have been recorded of this mysterious animal but so far there has never been a picture or video that can conclusively prove that Ogopogo really does live in the lake.
There is evidence of dinosaurs in the interior of British Columbia so it is possible that Okanagan Lake, which is a post glacier lake formed about 10,000 years ago from the melting of massive ice masses, could be home to a lake monster.
Ogopogo is said to be the oldest resident of Okanagan Lake and scientists believe he could be a giant sea serpent, some sort of aquatic dinosaur left over from the Ice Age.
Sightings of Ogopogo date back to the late 1800’s and the most recent one I have heard about actually took place in our campground three years ago!
There is also a native legend about Ogopogo that has been past down from generation to generation which I have copied from Wikipedia “The lore starts off with a demon-possessed man who’s known as Kel-oni-won, who brutally murders a well known and respected elder, Old Kah-ne-kon. As punishment for his actions, the Creator transformed Kel-oni-wan into a lake serpent, to suffer eternal remorse. From that day on, he was known as N’ha-a-itk, translating to “water demon” or “lake monster”. None of the other animals could tolerate N’ha-a-itk except for Rattlesnake, which is why he resides near Rattlesnake Island.
For free passage across the lake, the monster would require a living sacrifice in return for a safe trip. The natives would drop small animals such as sheep in the water to appease the creature and ensure protection. If you failed to comply with N’ha-a-itk’s statute, then he would whip up a fierce storm and drown you. It was said that Rattlesnake island was littered with the gory remnants of those who did not obey.”
Personally I prefer the scientific explanation but I will let you make your own choice. It is often thought that the recent sightings of Ogopogo are actually just large logs floating in the lake, which is not surprising since Lake Okanagan has tens of thousands of logs harvested by the timber industry floating just under the lake’s surface.”
Whatever your beliefs, Ogopogo is popular figure around Kelowna 🙂
Until next time …