Ogopogo – believe it or not and carp in the Okanagan.

Ogopopgo’s are the great creatures that have lived in the Okanagan Lake systems for much longer than the human population around the lakes.

http://ogopogomonster.com/ one of many sightings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squally_Point Okanagan Lake 135 km long, 232 m. deep

http://okanagan.com/ogopogo/  statue of Ogopogo in Pentiction

http://www.sellingkelowna.com/kelowna_info/okanaganlake.htm maps and location

The Okanagan Lake system is the headwaters of the Columbia River systems. The mighty Columbia enters the Pacific in Astoria Oregon, from its origin in tha Canadian Rockies. Now with 14 dams or more, and many devastating irrigation channels, the Columbia is still one of the most important salmon rivers in the world.

http://worldwidescience.org/topicpages/d/dam+annual+progress.html  white sturgeon migration papers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_River 14 dams and more

http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/3_6.html some history

In the upper reaches of this fantastic river system lives some prehistoric creatures. The Ogopogo. Many have seen them, some have filmed them, many have searched for them; and the reclusive creatures have eluded them all.

http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Hydro/en/rivers/columbia.php?id=37  many nice pictures

http://www.bpa.gov/power/pg/columbia_river_inside_story.pdf   power dam systems

http://www.columbiariverman.com/Page6/wst_page6.html historical sites

The stories and sightings of Ogopogo are well recorded, a long time back in history.  Like Loch Ness, there are few good documented sightings. I, myself, have not seen the Ogopogo, yet. But I have spent a fair amount of time fishing and travelling the shores of the great Okanagan Lake system, and will not be surprised when I see one; rather more surprised if I don’t.

 I have seen many other sight, some that can be mistaken for anything; at distance or morning fog. Like Trumpeter Swans,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmWtC0a6mpY nice film

these large beautiful birds are often in the lake system in late winter, as they migrate south for open water, as the lakes freeze in the north. When the feed, they graze on under water roots for many minutes, and when then their long neck and head comes up, they are just like a Ogopogo look a like.

Another likely Ogopogo look a like is the sturgeon, a fish that can be over one hundred years, may be much more, and over 2.200 lb’s, may be more. We don’t know how and where they mate, but if a few of these were to play in the surface, and try to mate, it would be a spectacle, much like a Ogopogo sighting. The waves they could create, would carry for miles.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/fishhabitats/sturgeon/index.html

When the first Okanagan Bridge was built between Westbank and Kelowna, there were many divers that worked on the foundation. It was a large job at that time, on a fairly deep and muddy bottom. Some of the divers saw creatures there, on the bottom, that scared them so much, that they quit the job and left the site, on the day; and never dived again. What else could that be; than the real  Ogopogo.

Big fish

A 2.000 lb + sturgeon would look like a shark, a huge shark, but even a diver at that time would know that there where no sharks in this lake system, and that the sturgeons are bottom feeders, no danger at all to man; so what did they see in the muddy water !

http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/seafood-and-oceans/white-sturgeon-2013-the-real-ancient-mariner  the largest cought in Fraser River close to New Westminster was 2.200 lbs.

http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/angling/game_fish/sturgeon.phtml

over 20 feet and 200 lbs of caviar – how much did I pay for a small tin of caviar ? enough to show a black spot on an eggyolk ?

As the settlers came to the Okanagan Lake and other BC lake systems, they had their own reasons; farming, fishing, homesteading, fur farming; and some of these ideals were terrible wrong to carry out; introducing foreign species. One of the worst ever, was the introduction to the carp into the lake system. We don’t know, it could have been the eastern Europeans, but most likely the Orientals. All the carp species are now polluting the whole system.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=carp&qpvt=carp&FORM=IGRE  look at these pictures – and imagine them in your pristine lake system

http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Carp no place for a fish like this in BC

The various species of carp feed in the different levels of the lake system, some in the surface, some in the middle, some on the bottom. The common problem with all these, are that they muddy up the water, which in turn heats the water when all the particles in the water get hit by the sun; and as a result the water temperature raises; and the good fishes, like kokanee, trout and salmon can no longer survive in the hot muddy water. They like clear cold water for their feeding and living habits.

 A mirror carp can be nice to look at, but when you see one in a pristine trout stream, then they are intruders, impossible to get rid off. Commercial fishing for carp could keep a population balance, but never eliminate the problem.

We tried some experimental harvesting when I worked for the Okanagan Indian Band in ’92 -’95. With Lee ….. in charge, we dug some large holding pens next to a creek on West Side, and trapped the carp as they came up river to spawn. Lee also trapped lots of carp at the small lake (Rose lake) at the very upper part of the river system, next to the Highway and where the cooling water of the Seagram Distillery was discharged. This earlier trout lake was totally destroyed from the warm cooling water, and the carp; the temperature rose way above living conditions for a trout or salmon. This small lake is indeed the very end on the river system. (The first lake on the right hand side you get to driving from Kelowna to Vernon)

Lee would trap the carp, by setting nets on the flooded fields, and with just a tarp in the back of the pick up, he could drive the carp to the holding tanks several miles away, in warm weather, all the carp survived. In a cooler, the carp could be shipped live to Edmonton and Calgary, to be sold to the Oriental restaurants.

In the spring, when the lakes are flooding, these large carp are mating and spawning in the flooded areas; and could be mistaken for some prehistoric animals if you don’t know what is going on.

The Ogopogo is not the only reason to visit this great river and lake system. Have a look at the Columbia from the Pacific , over 14 huge dams, and crossing into Canada and Osoyoos Lake, north to Summerland and Pentiction, along the lake to Kelowna and Vernon. This is some of the nicest country sides in Canada, including the only Canadian desert climate, watch out for the rattler snakes.

http://www.summerlandbc.com/regions/towns/?townID=3441

http://www.summerlandbc.com/

http://www.summerlandbc.com/regions/towns/?townID=3446

Spokane World fair 1974

When the fair was over, some countries that had brought live fish for their exhibition, let the species out into the river system !!! Nice ting to do, but devastating to the eco system.

 http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/washington_state/20973

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expo_74 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Lake_(Washington)#Description  part of the Columbia River System, but the carp in Okanagan was there a long time before the Expo ’74; but several other foreign and damaging species were introduced.

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