Ogopogo posses no risk to the public. It is my sincerest wish that those who have come to know my research on Ogopogo do not disturb him.
The minister of the Environment, Bruce Strachan, enacted legislation to protect Ogopogo, September 6, 1989. It is illegal to harm, capture or disturb the creature.
Indian legend has it that the large lake creature, Ogopogo, was originally a demon possessed man who had murdered a well known and respected local man named "Old Kan-He-Kan." In memory of this man, his people named Our beautiful lake "Okanagan." To pay for his sins, the Indian gods changed the murderer into a lake serpent so he would forever be at the scene of his crime and suffer eternal remorse. The creature's name became "N'ha-A-Itk" which roughly translates into sacred creature of the water, water god or lake demon.
Years later Ogopopo got his name from the following ditty: His mother was an earwig, his father was a whale, a little bit of head and hardly any tail...and Ogopogo was his name.
1870 Mrs Allison watched Ogopogo from Sunnyside, where Vineyard Estates are now. The sun was shining and a strong wind blowing: "As I watched I saw something that looked like a huge tree trunk or log floating on the lake going against the current and not with it. She estimated it was 50 feet long and 3 feet wide and not more than a mile from the shore looking towards the Okanagan Mission, South Kelowna. So rather, Mrs Allison's sighting of Ogopogo in 1870 may be the first sighting by whiteman.
John McDougal in 1860 entered the lake to tow his team of horses behind his canoe to the other side of the lake. Normally John gave a small animal in sacrifice to Ogopogo. But his time he had forgotten. Half way across the lake the horses began to sink. John quickly got out his knife, severed the rope and paddled to safety. Natives tell another legend how when a horse bent down to drink Ogopogo reached up to the horse's nose and pulled him under.
In 1880 Mr. Postill sent timbers down stream to Osoyoos to Judge and Emily Hayne's ranch. They were hand sawn and made into a raft at Okanagan Center. As they were building it Mr. Postill saw N'aahitka, now known as Ogopogo, rise and watch them! This was the first sighting of the lake creature by whiteman.
In 1940 Vera Earl went to see Reta Lawson, who was suffering from coronary disease, in the Kelowna hospital. Reta said to Vera "Go ask Mrs. Derrickson about Ogopogo". So Vera went to see Mrs. Derrickson, an elderly Indian in the native area of the hospital. She said "don't let them tell you there is no Ogopogo! In the early years the Westbank Indians rowed to Kelowna for supplies. This one time there were three ogopogo's trying to tip the boat. So they turned around and went back! It was a long time before they crossed the lake again. And when they would there would be Ogopogo looking up at them! Mrs. Derrickson said she saw Ogopogo twice.
The McDougal Brothers rowed a 10 foot scow to ferry from the Westside to Kelowna from 1885 to 1905. There were no native canoes, dug outs, ever found on Okanagan Lake. The natives may not have crossed the lake to each other's communities for fear of Ogopogo.
However above you see a net weight at the Westbank Museum and possibly more beside it. A ringed stone may be a hammer. But the stone with a hole in the middle probably was a net anchor.
This net weight in the Royal Museum in Victoria is very like one of the stones above. Click here to see the net weights in the Royal Museum in Victoria. Some of the net weights look like hammers. the same shape as a picture of the net weights used in Galilee in Bible times. See "The Sea of Galilee Boat". The same stone weights the fish nets Peter, Andrew, James and John would have used in the Gospels in the Sea of Galilee.
From Graham at the Westbank Museum:
"The name Ogopogo has certainly become familiar to us in recent years, and deserves honorable mention among the oldest of the old-timers of the Okanagan. Firmly believed in by the Indians, who spoke of it in Chinook as, "ook-ook mis-achie coupa lake," the wiked one in the lake, or as the "hyas-hyas gust scaca coupa lake," meaning the huge animal in the lake, they spoke of this dread creature with lowered voices. Over the last few decades, there have been many who have said that they either had an encounter with the Ogopogo or have seen in swimming along in the Okanagan lake. John McDougall was a firm believer in the existence of this monster, for he had the experience of losing his team when he was swimming it across the lake to assist Mr. Allison with the haying.
These were the horses he used in hunting, and when crossing the lake he always carried along a chicken or tiny pig, which he dropped in the water as he neared the middle. Unfortunately he had forgotten his "peace-offering" on this occasion. The horses were being towed on a long rope. Suddenly they were drawn down -down by some great force from below. The canoe would have gone too, had not Johnny quickly cut the rope with his sheath knife, and hurriedly rowed away from the scene. Not a vestige of his team was ever seen again."
Old Mrs D.E. Gellatly, on the way up to Westbank, saw a large dark object close to shore. When she mentioned it to her husband he scoffed. And when he turned it had gone. Another time, Mrs Gellatly saw a long snake like body on the shore. She looped the tail around a post and went for some rope. When she returned it had gone.
In Mary Moon's book Ogopogo, she relates in the early 1920's it was recalled that early white settlers spoke of a Native rock painting showing a fish like animal standing upright. This pictograph is supposed to exist above Squally Point. She also relates Captain Thomas Shorts, skipper of Mary Victoria Greenhow, came across a huge bone in shallow water while landing a rowboat. It was taken to the Victoria Museum where it was identified as a whale bone from the animal's back. It was taken to Vernon and to be displayed in 1920 but has mysteriously disappeared.
1930 Mrs Marjorie Pritchard, d 2011, saw a great white wash going down the lake. The lake was calm and there was no wind but from Boucherie heading to Gellatly Point was something streaking down the lake faster than the ferry boats. She watched from the road that then went along the lake but did not report it fearing ridicule. She was convinced she saw something though.
1940 James Earl and his son, Dave, landscaped the McClaren property in south Kelowna. The elder Earl looked up and saw an object moving, jerking, forward in the lake. Dave said "that's Ogopogo!" There were three humps and the head looked like a sheep's head.
1941, summer, children swimming off of the Penticton beach saw a long object swimming beyond the log buoys. Brenda Vollans(Walde) was eleven at the time and she remembers it being about thirty feet long and thinking it was a big snake. One of the children ran to get an adult but by the time they arrived the object had gone beyond the pier.
On a typical Okanagan afternoon in the summer of 1932 or 1933 Henry Murdoch was practicing for the Marathon swim at one or other Valley regattas. He planned to swim from the Point where the Maud Roxby Bird Sanctuary is situated to the dock at the old Eldorado Hotel. His pilot boat was being rowed by John Ackland, one of his best friends. Everything was going fine with Henry, swimming about twenty feet behind and slightly to the side of the boat.
When they were off the south end of "Boyce's Field" (Cedar Avenue), John rested his oars and bent down for a few seconds to light a cigarette.
When he looked up, Henry had disappeared!
At first, he thought that Henry was playing a trick on him by swimming up and hiding under the boat. Very soon, he realized there was something wrong so he searched the clear, eight foot deep water, frantically for 20 minutes before rowing to shore and running to the nearest phone to call the police.
Within two hours there was a search party out with several boats dragging for the body and swimmers searching as best they could. The search continued for two days but Henry's body was never found.
Henry had been the lifeguard at the Eldorado Arms Hotel and was considered at the time the strongest swimmer in the Okanagan. All very strange when you consider that the water was very clear and shallow and there was no discernable current in that part of the Lake.
In the summer of 2010 Harry Price, 80 years old, drowned in the same location. Although, all that could be determined was he died by swallowing water.
1936 Geoff Tozer relates the following:
It was about the middle of August in 1936 that Andy Aikman and I saw the Ogopogo. Andy was fifteen and I was thirteen but we were no strangers to Lake Okanagan. I had lived on the lake shore since the summer of 1929 and the Aikmans lived just one block away. We were both Sea Cadets and had spent every possible hour since pre-school days swimming, boating, and, in the winter, skating on the Lake so we knew it well and we definitely did NOT believe in the existence of any lake creature.
Back to mid August 1936 -- We had heard a rumor that Mr. Crighton of Okanagan Mission had been catching sturgeon a couple of miles south of Cedar Creek so we'd decided to go down from there, in Andy's old spread Trapper's Canoe, to camp for four days and see if we could catch some. So, on a very hot, drowsy, completely calm and windless afternoon with flies buzzing just above the surface and groups of seagulls sitting on the water, thinking seagull thoughts and waiting for the kokanee to start running, we were off the mouth of Mission Creek, one hundred yards from shore, heading south to the Cedar Creek campsite. I was rowing (you did row and not paddle this strange craft) when Andy, sitting in the stern of the boat, hooked a fish! I shipped the oars, reeled in my line, and netted his fish for him. We were both excited at actually catching a fish - a rare event in those days - and had no thoughts of Ogopogo or anything else. All this activity took perhaps two minutes and during this time we had silently drifted to within twenty yards of a large group of seagulls.
- Picture Geoff Tozer had made of what he saw that day.
Suddenly, they all started to screech in terror and took off from the surface as straight up as a gull can go! Following them was the head and neck (or body) of a large creature! When they'd reached the height of about fourteen feet the creature grabbed one of the gulls in its mouth and disappeared back below the surface, leaving only a few ripples on the glassy surface of the lake! The whole incident only took a couple of seconds! It started all the other gulls within hundreds of yards flying and screaming! O.L. Jones, later our M.P., had a summer cabin just south of the Creek and the Jones' children, who were friends of ours, came running down from the cabin to the beach to see what the noise was all about.
Andy and I were scared to death and gave up our great fishing expedition right then and there! We spent the night as far up from the lake as possible on the Jones' beach, and headed for home the next morning. The whole sighting was more or less a blur of movement and high pitched sound and I cannot say exactly what the creature looked like. I do remember though, that directly following the incident, when asked the size of the creature I said it was about as big around as a "telephone pole", and that the color was "dark and fishlike". When asked if it had a head like a horse, as in most drawings, I said "no it was more like a cow's".
It might be of interest that the next time Andy and I were that scared was in 1942 on a cold, still, dark December night in the north Atlantic. He was the Officer of the Watch, and I was a Cadet, doing my trick at the wheel. We were singing "White Christmas", the big hit of the year, in very bad harmony, when the tanker in line ahead of us - perhaps one hundred fifty yards - was torpedoed and exploded into a mass of towering flame. We never harmonized on "White Christmas" after that. Which was perhaps a good thing.
The captain of this ship remarked Geoff Tozer was the only person he knew who had seen Ogopogo and the only bigger liar was Andy Aikman! Geoff added "I am not lying though, I really did see Ogopogo".
1953 - Brandy Rankin related to me her grandmother, Diane Rankin, saw Ogopogo when a child. The family was out at a cabin on the waterfront in Peachland when her father called. They saw humps out in the lake. And when Ogopogo submerged big waves came into the shore. Brandy's Great Grandfather, Fumerton, had said he had seen the head.
An elderly woman reported to Miss M. Shukin of Peachland that she saw Ogopogo as a child. She was out out the lake with her mother when he appeared. She was very scared but her mother told her to stay still. And they sat and watched him.
1968 - Jamie Demetric told me his aunt Norma Freeborn saw Ogopogo 30 years ago. She claimed she saw an unusual shape swimming in Okanagan Lake and believed it was Ogopogo.
1949, Dr. Underhill and family were called to the beach to see Ogopogo by their neighbors, the Kerry's. Lois Bennett (Underhill) relates the following story: "The lake was calm and two hundred yards out there appeared several humps moving up towards where the bridge now is. At times there were only three humps thirty feet in length. There were no motor boats, and the one boat that was in the Okanagan wasn't out." Dr Underhill said he was convinced that through his binoculars he could see two ogopogos. Mrs Underhill (Mcleod) told me the tail was like a whale's. The Kerry's reported "The angles of the two ogopogos was quite different. The first one was parallel to the shore and moving north and south in only six feet of water,
there was no wave or ripple but a slight rolling swell, and the later view was of it in the middle of the lake moving towards the northwest..It appeared that the object was feeding on the (lake) weed."
Mrs Joyce Underhill - my grandmother - told me the creature had a forked tail. To this I can only reply the upper tail appears pointed in my pictures and observation. I have not seen the lower half.
1967 "We were trolling behind a large boat by Todd's Tent Town, now Todd's RV and campground, in Peachland. We caught something. Stopped the engine and whatever it was pulled the boat backwards. I slowly reeled it up to about 10 feet under the water when I could just see it. - A log shape greenish in color. Then the line snapped and it disappeared." Bev Lanz.
I was wondering if I could tell you a story regarding Ogopogo, that happened to my great-grandmother Patricia, my great aunt Corely, and my cousin Andrea.
It happened on a hot summers day about 25-30 years ago ~1975. My grandmother was visiting one of my relatives out by Okanagan Lake, along with my Great Aunt Corelyand my cousin Andrea, who was only 5 at the time. It was about 3 am maybe a bit later and they decided to go for a canoe ride on the lake, to go fishing. The lake was calm and there was little to no wind. All my grandmother can remember, was suddenly there was huge ripples and waves in the water. She can remember Andrea began to cry because it almost flipped there boat into the water, and she was only 5 and could not swim. Then they remember seeing a long neck rise out of the water with a small head, in comparisson to its neck. It was a dark kind of purplish blackish colour, if seen under water it would have been thought to be black but because they saw it right in front of them they could tell that it was a bit lighter then black,it stared at them for a matter of seconds and then went, back under the water. They then saw a couple of huge humps as the mysterious creature swam away. Quickly my grandmother rowed the boat back to shore and made sure everyone was alright. The creature did not seem to want to hurt them on the contrary it seemed startled by Andrea's crying and that is why, my grandmother believes, it swam away. Though I wish that I had more details as to its apperance, my great grandmother has since died, and but a short time later my great aunt Corely died of cancer. My cousin Andrea is now about 34 and she lives in California. She remembers very little about what happens and could not describe him or the happenings at all, but before my grandmother died she told a few of her relatives that would believe her one being my father. I have grown up with her story , and have always believed her, and always will, though others have there doubts, I am the type of person who believes in the unknown. And there is no doubt in my mind that what she saw was Ogopogo. Thank-You for your time and I just wanted you to know my great-grandmother's story, for she can no longer tell it.
1973, summer, the Bennetts were heading south from Fintry on Okanagan Lake past Poplar Point at 30 mph about 11PM, scanning the darkness with the headlight. In the headlight, they saw a large object about 4 feet high and thinking it was an overturned boat they turned around to look, turned off the engine and listened, but there was nothing there! Another time Kevin Bennett, water skiing, was waiting for the boat to pick him up. When they did, they told him something large had been heading towards him.
1975 the Refiner's of Westbank saw Ogopogo from their home overlooking Gellatly Bay. Mr Refiner is not sure of what he saw but Mrs Refiner is certain what they saw was Ogopogo. They were interviewed last year by an Ogopogo enthusiast who spent the summer on the lake and hopes to make a film.
1975, May, the Proudfoots, sitting down to supper, commented on how calm the lake was. Then 500' out from Gellatly Point there appeared three humps and the water just churned. Quickly Mrs Proudfoot called Helen Gaigg, the Lakeshore Villa next door, to come to the window and see Ogopogo. When Mrs Gaigg arrived there was a large round wave. But the Proudfoots were sure they had seen Ogopogo. Mrs Gaigg also remembers when the Illichman's said they saw Ogopogo. They were out in the lake and a large round green object surfaced nearby.
About 1975 Bev relates the following: We used to live in the cabin there at Gellatly (where Powers Creek Park is now) and I saw a huge huge fish one day crossing the road. (No one will believe me of course), but it went up along the the side of the creek. I'm presuming it was frightened out of the lake, and obviously was used to going up powers creek. He had a wide mouth and stubby nose, round like a frog and his light brown-green matted skin with a light pattern visible in the sunlight were also like a frog. He looked like he fed on lake fish. He moved up the boat launch and across Gellatly Road and into the horse pasture in seconds. We waved to the neighbors walking by but they did not see him, he was so quick. He had a short tail, large mid section 6 feet high and a short neck. His muscles really worked to move him, not sideways like a snake, but straight ahead. The tall grass in the pasture indicated he was moving very fast. There was nobody by the yacht club or boat launch all that day to disturb him. He moved on land like he must move in water, completely at home. "Boy did it move." He had no feet or fins visible. He was very healthy and fat.
There was a native pit house there long abandoned in 1900 (an arrowhead was found by there in 2005), a wonder, because Ogopogo probably frequented Powers Creek from ancient times. The dinosaur T-Rex did most of its growing from 10 to 14 and only lived to 30 years of age. Perhaps Ogopogo grows rapidly as well. However, he displays the wisdom of many years in evading man.
- See the old boat launch. There is the possibility that this giant frog was an ancient seal, called a pinniped. They could swim and walk and had large eyes for seeing far under water.
Bruce Shepard from B.C. Fisheries tells me he has heard some scary experiences of some of his staff out on Okanagan Lake at night. One time they went out into Okanagan Lake and let down a tow rope to measure the depth. Nowhere near bottom it stopped going down, indicating it had struck a large body, then proceeded to lower. Another person from Fisheries reported seeing Ogopogo. They told him to go down ~100 feet and turn off his lights and look up. Soon he saw a dark object cross his view. When he got up to the surface, they told him they had seen Ogopogo.
1975 Fawn was driving up the hill out of Summerland towards Peachland when she saw something in the lake. She pulled over to look and others also pulled over and looked. Some with cameras and binoculars. It appeared like a long wake behind an object swimming to the other side of the lake. They stood and watched for some time.
1985 John Raeside and family were water-skiing by the bridge. Under the water they saw a large object moving, "like a whale". Another co-worker at Eldorado Ranch, Dick Fichter, told me an experience of a neighbor of his. This fellow was fishing north of the bridge when some object beneath surfaced under his boat and he fell overboard. (Submarines may not be the only ones with this problem:)
1988, summer, Allan Skarbo of Peachland and friends were enjoying an afternoon out on the lake in his new house boat. Dan Kerr's captain's cap blew off and a visitor stripped his jean shirt off and dove in to get it. Next thing they knew he was in trouble. He just sat there staring with a very scared look. They threw a life preserve but he didn't even reach for it. Dan Kerr dove in to help him but when he got to where he had seen him, he appeared to have moved. So Dan dove under to him three or more times but never reaching him. The police were called and a report made. It was noted he was a strong swimmer. An under water camera was brought from Vancouver but they never did find his body. (There are several unrecovered bodies in Okanagan Lake and 30 drowning s a year in the Okanagan. These are all due to boating accidents. Some 60 people drown on BC's west coast each year also from boating accidents. There have been only about 5 'mysterious' drownings in the last 100 years, and Ogopogo may not be responsible for any of them either.) Afterwards they looked up were they had been and noted they were in some of the deepest water of Okanagan Lake just north of the Peachland Marina. Allan Skarbo sold his new houseboat and never ventured on the lake again.
1977 - 1987, Jake Heppner spent most of his retirement fishing on Okanagan Lake. I asked Bill Stubbs if he had ever seen Ogopogo. He told me he hadn't but his fishing friend Jake had. Bill said Jake had pulled up his boat to what he thought was log. He went to get his fishing gear and when he looked up the log was gone. Go see Jake... So I went. Here is his story: As to the exact date and time when this incident happened, I am not sure, but it must be around 20 years ago when I moved to the Okanagan and started to fish for kokanee. Of course, I had not expected to meet up with something that I heard of only by hearsay but I was very much surprised to see the Ogopogo from such close range. One thing for sure, it did not resemble what I had been lead to believe. That it was long and something like a serpent became very obvious to me at such close range as I saw it.
I was keeping my mind on fishing and also making sure that I was not getting into the way of a fellow fisherman. When, I saw something approaching me quite a long way off. I was wide awake. There was no one else in sight. It left a big swell behind it and was mostly submerged. It was not a boat or submarine. What surprised me the most was that it kept approaching my boat. By this time, I had shut off the motor and was reeling in the fishing line. What seemed so unusual was that it kept right beside my boat. It was something I had never seen before from such close range. There was no snorting noise or unusual activity but all at once, it submerged very suddenly. Since it was less than ten feet away, it did make quite a commotion. I had to really hang on to both sides of the boat to steady it but it had gone down and I did not see it again in the vicinity. The Ogopogo had left me completely and I was not harmed.
I do remember some markings along its back. There were brownish colored lines along its back about 8 or 9 inches apart and it looked like lines connecting them. In the spaces connecting the lines, there was yellowish tint or color. But there was no suggestion that it had scales or humps, just a smooth skin. Since the head was submerged during all this time that the back area was exposed and I did only surmise that this creature must be at least fifty feet long and must have a girth at least as big, that in no way could it have fit into a 14' fibre glass boat. The boat would have sunk for sure with the weight of it.
I have met up with Ogopopo many times since then even seen three of them swimming together in formation side by side.
One thing, I have noted about them, is that they are seldom seen, if ever, when there are noisy power boats around in the area. When you are fishing with a small boat, you are more apt to see one. Signed Jacob J. Heppner.
Here are some more accounts related to me by Jake: Ogopogo came toward him and passed going for all he was worth. Shots sounded from a nearby house boat. No wonder he is seldom seen! These people aren't needed in the Okanagan! Another time Ogopogo appeared heading for Jake's boat then submerged. Jake hung on to keep from capsizing. One memorable occasion Jake had his friend Rudy Grunaw along. When Rudy saw Ogopogo he said in a loud voice "I want off the lake now!". Jake explained Ogopogo never hurt him, but Rudy would not be persuaded, and home they went. In a close encounter, Jake describes the skin as a diagonal pattern of yellow and brown, in eight inch squares. Often Jake encountered him feeding on the lake weed. Whenever Jake saw a huge swell, he was sure it was Ogopogo. Snakelike is the word he used to describe him, being more than a few feet wide at the middle. Often they travelled 3 in formation. Grey Whales also swim in pods of three.
Ancient pictograph of Okanagan Lake. Line up the Satellite picture of the lake on the lower left with the pictograph outline of the lake shore. Note the three objects in the middle of the lake in the enlargement. In the pictograph East is up, the ancient method of map drawing. Note Squally Point - wind from the south is funneled past the bend in the valley/lake - on the bottom right is marked out strongly, the home of Ogopogo.
This species of Ogopogo described by Jake sounds like a plesiosaur.
The stone on the right has a red painted figure on it, like a goose. However, it could just as easily be an Ogopogo. The egg shaped stone on the left is thought to be a grinding stone. However, it is awkward to handle. Perhaps it is meant to be a replica of an egg, the size of a goose egg. Possibly though, this is a replica of a platecarpus egg, Ogopogo egg being rather a brown colour.
1985, summer, Carol Pattenaude relates the following: While driving on Highway 97 from Westbank to Peachland, my boyfriend and I spotted something on the water, the more we looked the more curious we became. The object was moving quite fast through the water and had a long stream behind it, making it look like a tall boat. We watched for a few minutes, talking about what it might be only to have it totally disappear below the surface. What was it??? Signed Carol Pattenaude.
1989, summer, Laurie S. witnessed a long object moving by the log boom at Bear Creek. She quickly called her dog in from the lake for fear of his safety.
Jack Hooge and his father relate the following:
During the summer of 1990, our Hooge family gathering was at a campground between Summerland and Penticton. I had been looking forward to showing my father a business in Penticton for several years and this was my chance, so early Monday morning him and I headed into town. As we were rounding a small bay, my father said, "Look, there's the ogopogo." Intent on not being distracted from my mission, I glanced and said, "It's a log." He said, "No it's not," so I glanced again. It was moving, so I said, "It must be a wave from a boat." To this my father replied, "Do you see any boats?" So I looked again...the lake was smooth as glass and there wasn't a boat in sight. So I took a better look. Now, my eyesight at that distance (between 200 and 300 feet) is better than virtually anyone I've met, and what I saw was the side view of what appeared to be a long serpent swimming in the water. It's head was above the surface and was shaped like a sheep's head. The next 3 to 5 feet of its body was submerged, but the back 12 -15 feet was breaking the surface of the water and it was leaving a wake. As I continued to watch, still not wanting to be distracted from showing my dad this business (and hopefully investing in getting me started in one), we rounded the little bay enough to see the creature from the back and it was definitely swimming like a big snake, smooth motion, forward and slipping toward the side. Walt Disney could not have created something more realistic looking. I am fully convinced that what I saw was the ogopogo...I am a believer. That evening my wife and brother and I returned to that bay and ended up talking to a couple pulling their boat out of the water. When I told them what I had seen, they said they had talked to an army sargeant from Vancouver who had witnessed the same thing in that location that day...and I heard from another local that this army sargeant had gone public with his sighting when he returned home.
Signed, Jack Hooge
1995, Jennifer relates the following story: My friend's buddy Shaun was scuba diving with a friend on the Mission side of Okanagan Lake Bridge. They encountered a large carp like creature of about 8 feet in length. The one fellow speared it in the tail and it proceeded to drag him. He got out his knife and cut the rope to the harpoon and narrowly escaped drowning. This could be the log like Ogopogo I saw in 1975.
1995, summer, restaurateurs on the waterfront in Peachland claimed to see ogopogo across the lake. One lady could see a long neck and head as she looked through binoculars.
1997, April 3, Ogopogo was sighted from Kelowna's City Park. Two men watched for an hour. He was described to be 50 feet long and 5 feet wide.
1997, July 7, a woman coming down the hill onto the bridge reported seeing 4 humps. She says since seeing the Ogopogo a long time ago with her husband she has always looked for him there.
1997, July 13, three people on a houseboat reported seeing a 30 foot geyser beside the boat. Underneath the water was a large dark object. It has been suggested Ogopogo may be a prehistoric whale. To them this was the only explanation. Bones taken from Okanagan Lake in the 1920's and identified in Victoria as whale bones may indeed have come from Okanagan Lake. The Kelowna Children's Water Park in the Kelowna City Park features Ogopogo spouting water out of his nose.
The following may add to the story:
"It was on the 4th of February, 1932, when Captain Joseph B. Weeks was taking his steamer the "Sicamous" down Okanagan Lake. About four o'clock in the afternoon, his Chief Officer called his attention to what appeared to be a column of vapour about sixty feet in diameter and about 150 feet high, rising out of the lake. It was about half way across the lake at Gellatly Point and, when first seen, about half a mile from the steamer. It increased in height slowly and when it stopped rising higher, it seemed to waver for a short time and then slowly sank back. It was about four or five minutes from the time they first saw it until it disappeared. It seemed driven up from the center as if shot up by a jet of gas escaping from the bottom of the lake." Others have seen such outbursts of gas, and further, in still weather there is frequently heard the "plop plop" of minor gas explosions from the same area -- on the east side of the lake from Westbank or Gellatly Point.
Randy Nagel photographed spray shooting up from the lake at the north end by Carr's Landing. The wind was blustery that day when Randy zoomed in with his camera. His picture is in Arlene Gaal's "In Search of Ogopogo".
The suggestion is the rising gas might be bubbles. A sonar image seen by Mike Guzzi's fish finder, at the time of the Japanese expedition here, showed a head, tail and body with bubbles coming up off the head. Orca's blow bubbles so a new born whale can get its first breath on the way to the surface. A fault runs down the middle of the lake and many dormant volcanoes line the valley sides. Possibly the escaping gas was escaping volcanic gas from below the fault. Also, people who have smelt this gas called it awful, perhaps sulfuric volcanic gas. Or perhaps the gas is from the creature.
August 1997, Ogopogo was sighted by Carr's Landing, North End of Okanagan Lake.
An underwater camera was purchased September 19, 1997 to search for bodies in Okanagan Lake. There are about 6. It was even said the camera might be used to look for Ogopogo!
November 29, 1997. Ogopogo was seen by some hunters up Terrace Mountain, near Bear Creek. Gary Sorrenson of Westbank relates his experience with his friend Terry Horton:
Heading back down Bear Lake Main from hunting, I commented to my hunting partner, Terry Horton, on how calm the lake was. It was just like a sheet of glass. I had said I should have brought my cam corder. As we came down to Westside road, I asked Terry if he could see a boat on the lake. No, he replied, Why? What is that on the water? I asked. It was a long wake or almost like a very long log. At first, we thought it may be a log-boom, but for the length it was too straight. As we drove along Westside road we both noticed it was moving. So I pulled over just above the log-dump by Bear Creek.
We both got out of the truck and looked with our binoculars. It was very clear out and, as mentioned before, the water was perfectly calm. We saw an object moving towards the bridge, about 1/3 of the way across the lake. I asked Terry if he saw something or was it just me. No, he said. There is something moving. We watched for 10 minutes and on two occasions it seemed to be breaking water or coming up. It could have been humps. I estimated we were about 2-3 miles from it. But both of us have good binoculars. The speed of this would have been about the speed one would troll at when fishing. I estimated the object to be 25-40 feet long.
It was not a boat. Nor a large bird. I am now fully convinced that we do have something of considerable size in our lake.
Signed Gary Sorensen
Spring 1998, there were two sightings of Ogopogo in the Vernon area a few in the Kelowna area.
Following from Andrew Bennett: July 4, 1998 - a group of friends and I rented kayaks from Summerland and paddled up to a private wharf. We had just docked and there was a swell 10 feet from shore. (Jake Heppner was sure whenever he saw a swell it was Ogopogo) I looked close and it appeared like a green rolling carpet bending four feet around, then black like the edge of a carpet - the color of the water. This sharp black line may have been the origin of the black line on the lake Mayor of Kelowna John Hindle warned of as a sign of an oncoming storm to get off the lake. One hour later a storm blew up on our way back. To me this appeared as a green carpet of scales rolling towards me, then a sharp black line like the back of an Orca or the color of the water as if the carpet ended. Everyone looked. Some said it was just a beaver, others were not so sure. Later there on the raft we were swimming and I asked if anyone could see the carpet. The answer: "There is no carpet". "It (Ogopogo) is usually reported as dark blue, black or brown with a lighter underside". The sighting reminded me of the ditti "His mother was an earwig, his father was a whale" - the underside was like an earwig the upperside like a whale.
Ogopogo was reported as yellow brown by Jake Heppner.
May 5, 1999: Donna M. and Kathy M. were driving down Gellatly Road by the Gellatly Cemetery about 1PM when they notice whitecaps in the middle of a calm lake. There were no boats in sight and this white swath was travelling 1 kilometer out from Gellatly Point towards Kelowna. They pulled over and watched for some time. There were 3 white waves moving in a strait line up the lake (opposite of wind tossed waves). They were moving very fast and the object appeared to the viewers to be very large (possibly the 3 waves were 3 ogopogo's?). The swath had moved a considerable distance between reference points. A motor boat approached from the north going south. The white froth disappeared before the boat. They watched and compared the wake of the boat to the white swath and determined they were very different.
September 5, 2001, Daryl Ellis did not wear goggles in his swim of Okanagan Lake this year so as not to scare himself. Beginning at Vernon he observed something silvery and slippery and said there is definitely something very large in Okanagan Lake. This was his second swim of the lake for cancer, Ogo Chaser II, August 15 - September 3, 2001.
August 24, 2000 a report from Daryl Ellis, a cancer survivor, who swam the length of Okanagan Lake, 80 miles, to raise money for cancer research: Two ogopogos swam underneath him for two hours by Westbank. He could see him ahead and behind him, making Ogopogo 20 feet long. One was shaped like a log the other like a box. (Male and female or young and full grown?) Their color was grey/black. On his break he swam back to the spotting boat. He was afraid to go back into the water. They could not see Ogopogo from the boat and Daryl was ushered back in. When he entered the water again the Ogopogos were waiting for him. Later, by
- Okanagan Lake bridge, Ogopogo suddenly appeared and looked up at him with eyes as big as grapefruits.
The Elasmosaurus, a plesiosaur, has very large eyes and very good eyesight. There are fossilized bones of an Elasmosaurus at the tourist booth beside the W.A.C. Bennett Dam.
People that have jumped off the W.R. Bennett bridge say there are what appears as large sturgeon:
May 21, 2001 Diana Sabine reported seeing Ogopogo from a campground near Peachland at 8:45pm. She watched from lake level: "I looked up and there was a hump. Then it was gone. Then there was another hump."
April 18, 2002, 14 member crew see Ogopogo while filming a documentary on him. The picture shows a long ripple. "We saw two humps undulating in and out of the water" "It was huge, black and shiny." Its head was spewing out water. More at www.seesya.com About that day Andrew Bennet was combing the calm lake at 6AM with his telescope when he saw a long ripple, a silver flash and two dark objects below.
Nippon Television of Japan came to the Okanagan to search for Ogopogo at the end of February 2002. They used sophisticated sonar and tracking gear but did not have any success. Three other film makers are planning to search for Ogopogo this year.
Bones discovered September 23 2004 may be first stealth dinosaur, a plesiosaur that lived over 230 million years ago in the shallow ocean off China. Ogopogo's long neck may have served the same purpose. Inorder not to scare away its prey the small head would strike at the same time sucking in water by enlarging its throat taking its prey completely by surprise.
June 4 2004, Debbie reported seeing Ogopogo to CKOV radio. She was watching the lake with her three children at 7:30 PM on the north west end of the lake. First the ducks and loons took off. Then she heard a thump thump thump thump in rapid succession making the water spray up, spitting and splashing, much louder than a beaver slap. Then she saw three smooth shinny humps mostly submerged. The creature swam about 3 feet and submerged leaving the water perfectly calm. She was so scared she ran into the house and thought "Who should I call? No one will believe me." Just two weeks previous also at 7:30 PM she saw a neck and dinosaur head moving through the water past about three houses. The skin was hairless and the colour was a deep grey black like she had never seen before. She estimated the body to be 15 feet long swimming like a snake, very mellow and quiet. The head had a bump on the top - dolphins have a bump they use for sonar. It was the weirdest color and the head the weirdest shape.
June 2004, Maria related what a fellow she knew told him: He was on a boat in Okanagan Lake saw what he thought was a log. He reached out to touch it, and it swam away. He said it swam up and down like a dolphin and he saw more than one.
October 22 2004, John Casorso reported seeing and video taping Ogopogo the morning of August 9, 2004. He and his family were in a house boat by Trader's Cove at the old ferry docks early in the morning when he heard a thump thump thumping (same reported thumping as by Debbie) and thrashing beneath the house boat and the house boat tilted 20° and rocked. The lake was perfectly calm and there were no motor boats. He saw the object 30 feet away, got his video recorder and video taped a large dark object like a black wave, submerging and surfacing, only still, a hundred yards away - he video taped it for 15 minutes. At times there appeared to be two parallel objects. When he got home he played it back and the object resolved clearly depicting a large object with humps, stretching out at times like a reptile, perhaps the best video yet of Ogopogo.
There have been four sightings of Ogopogo this spring of 2005 according to the Kelowna Daily Courier. M. Hunter told me he saw black waves appear mid July in the middle of the lake when out on his boat for the day with his family when there had not been any boats for hours.
In a CKOV63 radio interview early September 2006 on hand gliding in the Okanagan, the president of the club urged people to take up the sport and that they might even see the "Ogopogo Snake" in Okanagan Lake.
There have been two reported sightings of Ogopogo in the Daily Courier this spring, 2006. Both tell of three seven foot long black humps moving through the water when there were no boats on the lake.
Daryl Ellis is again swimming the length of Okanagan Lake this year 2006 for diabetes research. Anyone who wishes to participate in the swim can contact Daryl, announced today July 26 2006. You will need a boat to accompany you on the swim.
Daryl Ellis swam Okanagan Lake on his annual swim last year on September 8 2005, called Ogo Chaser. On one vivid encounter he saw Ogopogo raise his head above the water and look around and was close enough to hear the splash of his head as he went under. Daryl waited a good hour before resuming his swimming marathon.
2007: Ogopogo was seen by a retired dentist in Saturday's Kelowna Daily Courier October 13 2007. He was rowing by the Eldorado Hotel and the mouth of Mission Creek south to Pentiction when he noticed a wave from behind. There were no other boats on the lake at the time, so he looked back. He saw two or three humps come out of the water three feet. The color was brown to black and no fins swimming slowly south. He watched as it submerged leaving a wake that lasted two minutes.
2008: Ogopogo was seen as a black object in the lake. One year later the couple returned and looked in the same location and video taped the object. Under closer examination of the video the object clearly appeared red. They sold the video to National Geographic. Their concern was for the safety of Ogopogo as it seemed to be wounded and that the colour of Ogopogo might not be black but red. Reported in the Kelowna Daily Courier.
There may be more than one kind of Ogopogo. One black and one log like and red. Even there may be third type that looks like a huge four foot high frog.
2010: Ogopogo was seen surfacing in Gellatly Bay from the bench above Gellatly. It was light brown/green and as large as a bus.
November 23, 2010. Vicki Kavanagh and Nancy Young saw several waterspouts and whirlpools south of the W.R. Bennett Bridge. Nancy saw them from Lakeview in West Kelowna travelling south and out of view, and Vicki saw them going down Drought hill into Peachland. Nancy reports they were moving when she saw them. Reported in the Daily Courier and Westside Weekly December 8, 2010.
Received October 9, 2012:
Don't know if this is the right forum for this.
I'm English but holidayed in Kelowna for 2 weeks in April 2011. We stayed at a holiday apartment right by Okanagan lake in East Kelowna (pretty much opposite Bear Creek Park).
Everyday we walked by the lake on the way to the city centre. We were delighted to see beaver and ospreys (we stayed a nature reserve which Ospreys). I used to joke with my kids that we'd seen everything bar Ogopogo. To be honest we thought it a tourist gimmick.
2 days before we left Canada (we left the day of Prince William and Kate's wedding) we walked into town to get info on real estate as we're currently looking/hoping to move to work and live in Kelowna. Not far from the Marina where the water plane is moored (don't know what else you'd call it) I saw from the corner of my eye a large commotion out on the lake-you could hear the water splashing too. Something very large was staying in the same spot but appeared to be rolling/splashing about. You could see the water foaming. It looked dark in colour. About 20 foot or more in length I'd say. By this time my Wife and older boys were watching too. It lasted I recall a few seconds and then disappeared. We thought it gone but then a few seconds later we suddenly saw 2-3 humps (like big tractor tyres) appear much closer to the shore. We watched in utter amazement as these humps made off at great speed out toward the bridge. If I'd run next to it I'd never have kept up. Eventually we lost sight and then carried on our walk. I couldn't stop talking about it because it didn't seem right, something thar big being out in the lake. My Wife if she hadn't known it was a freshwater lake would tell you she a whale (that's how the humps looked and moved).
We've stayed by Loch Ness twice and visited the monster exhibitions there and are aware of all the scientific explanations for sightings (boat wakes, logs etc.). But I'm telling you now what we saw was a very large animal-no doubt at all. Quite what I don't know but I know certainly not a fish.
At the time right nearby some workmen were laying down bricks on the ground but they didn't seem to notice a thing. I'm also gutted as it was the only time, the only time, we didn't carry our camera but if I'm honest I would have been too stunned to have taken pictures.
At Kelowna airport I bought Arlene Gaal's book. I read it again recently and found your website address and thought you'd might find our sighting interesting. It's certainly had a profound effect on me in particular and made me more open-minded about things.
Ogopogo Art Contest
Here is a story from the Shuswap Lake just north of Okanagan Lake: One sunny August day about 1970 our family had gone to Sunny Brae on the north shore of Shuswap Lake to have a picnic and celebrate our youngest daughter's birthday. After a pleasant afternoon of swimming and sun-tanning, full of fried chicken and birthday cake, we piled into the car and started home.
Soon my husband noticed waves coming onto the shore and expecting to see only what he had thought to be a log. We were travelling about 35 miles an hour but to our amazement so was the "log". Upon closer examination we found this log was really a greeny-grayish snake-like creature. About 30 feet of his body protruded from the water. He had no scales or humps on his back that we could see.
We stopped the car but soon he slipped beneath the waves and disappeared from sight. There were several other sightings of him that summer. Several years ago a skeleton about 20-25 feet long washed up on the shore of Silvery Beach.
This lake creature is known as "Tazama" - Water Bear. Also the Shuswap and Okanagan used to form one large lake. This is where our kokanee came from and probably our Ogopogo.
There is an interesting story of Ogo Pogo in Lake Chelan. There are many many lakes with legends of a lake monster. The Okanogan Indians of Washington State have a legend of monsters. Perhaps this Platecarpus travelled south down the Okanagan River. There are some notable legends from Asia. Some Canadian lakes: Kootenay Lake, Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, Cultus lake out of Vancouver, Nicola lake by Merritt, and Muskrat lake near Ottawa to name just a few. The lake Couer d'alene beside Post Falls, Idaho, has signs of an Ogopogo like creature everywhere. A fellow emailed me with a report from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island of a sighting of a 10 foot silvery creature in a nearby lake August 2007.
Ogopogo is protected by Federal Law under the Fisheries Act: "No one shall hunt, kill fish or marine animals by any means of rocket, explosive materials or explosive projectiles or shells." Ogopogo is specifically protected under Provincial Law under the Wildlife Act. To capture Ogopogo legally you would need a permit from the department of fisheries. It is very doubtful a permit would be issued.
Endangered Wildlife in B.C. Shouldn't the Platecarpus in Okanagan Lake be included?
firstname.lastname@example.org - Save Ogopogo! In 1998 25,000 Kokanee died, possibly from a gill parasite. July 5, 2002 CKOV reported 70 dead Kokanee at the north end of the lake. July 27, 2002; 100,000 Kokanee estimated have died. Specifically 2 year olds, that is, 20% of all 2 year olds. In 2012 thousands of Kokanee have died in Okanagan Lake. The cause is still unknown.
"From August 1, 2000 to September 3, 2001, we will offer $2 million to any person finding alive and definitively verifying Ogopogo's existence." This offer expired September 3, 2001.
A commitee considered evidence for the $2 million Ogopogo Search ending September 3, 2001, to go to Lloyd's of London. The video by Rattlesnake Island was not clear enough. A sonar image taken was not enough. A picture of the creature had to be dramatic and clear.
Fisheries may have stated the fine for killing Ogopogo would exceed the offer of $2 million.
Fisheries did state anyone using any device to actually prove Ogopogo exists must also obtain a permit from the Department of Fisheries and it is unlikely permission would be granted. That makes obtaining definitive proof legally very difficult. Fisheries did indicate a purely scientific study may be ok.
"when a group of young men fired their rifles at a monster from shore, the Attorney General declared the Ogopogo an endangered species under the Fisheries Act and proclaimed hunting the legendary monster illegal." The Kelowna Story, an Okanagan History. By Sharron J. Simpson
This must have been the incident in 1949. The Attorney General Gordon Wismer said Ogopogo was protected under the Fisheries Act in section 26.
The minister of the Environment, Bruce Strachan, enacted legislation to protect Ogopogo, September 6, 1989. It is illegal to harm, capture or disturb the creature.
Boater convicted of harassing orcas - Campbell River, BC. This boater raced his boat towards two surfacing orcas, who then dove under. This is the first conviction under the Species at Risk Act. It is prohibited to harass an wildlife species that is listed as endangered or threatened. A Fisheries officer witnessed a boater repeated accelerating towards the surfacing whales. The boater came within 25 meters when the established whale watching limit is 100 meters. Carl Peterson could face a maximum fine of $250,000.
You can't be first, but you can be next.
Song - Just a Lonely Ogopogo. MP3 - works
"In the Sunny Okanagan where the big red apples grow,
living in the Okanagan, lake so fair,
is the famous Ogopogo, and one thing I'd like to know,
is he the only Ogopogo there?
I wonder if the Ogopogo is lonesome, wonder if he is feeling sad or blue.
I wonder if he wishes for and Ogopogo Mrs. and lots of little Ogopogos too.
I bet he is just a sad old Ogopogo with no one to sing his love songs too.
Though he has my sympathy, I am sure you will all agree,
W'd rather see him lonesome than see two.
One day the Ogopogo took a stroll along the shore.
Left his footprints in the sand so they say.
Maybe he was looking for an Ogopogo sweet heart,
but still he is all alone at play.
I wonder if the Ogopogo is lonesome, wonder if he is feeling sad or blue.
I wonder if he wishes for and Ogopogo Mrs. and lots of little Ogopogos too.
I bet he is just a sad old Ogopogo with no one to sing his love songs too.
Though he has my sympathy, I am sure you will all agree,
W'd rather see him lonesome than see two."
Hydrophone sampling in Okanagan Lake. Can it be Ogopogo? MP3 There is lots of shrimp in Okanagan Lake. Shrimp may make some sound. While netting shrimp Fisheries discovered a hole in their net - Ogopogo?
Mountain Road Productions aired a 13 part series on 'Canadiana' including an interview with me on Okanagan Lake at the mouth of Mission Creek describing Geoff Tozer's sighting in 1936, over Roger's Cable.
The coastal marine Cadborosaurus may be separated from the land locked Ogopogo because of the dams on the Columbia River. My grandfather signed the Columbia River Treaty. One thing I can do is defend the creature from further harm from development.
Order Arlene Gaal's book "In Search of Ogopogo". Published June 2001. $16.95 Cdn or $14.95 US. 208 pages, updated photos and sketches.
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