The British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club

Ogopogo (Lake Okanagan)


Over the years the BCSCC has carried out an extensive investigation into what sort of monstrous animal of gigantic proportions inhabits Okanagan Lake in south-central British Columbia as has been reported by several thousand credible eyewitnesses. Since 1989 the BCSCC has carried out no less than five expeditions to Okanagan Lake and members of the investigative team have had several sightings of the mystery animal known commonly as Ogopogo and have also captured the monster's image on videotape.

Copyright Edward Fletcher. All rights reserved.This photograph (left) was taken by Ed Fletcher of North Vancouver while on a skiing excursion on the lake with his family. In the space of an hour Fletcher and his companions followed the monster around the lake and reportedly sighted the animal a dozen times. Fletcher is adamant that the monster was attracted to his vessel because of electrode emissions emanating

BCSCC President John Kirk has also sighted the monster almost as frequently over a period of three years from 1987 - 1990, but the record belongs to Jake Heppner who has reportedly had sightings in the dozens over a 40 year period and a native Indian known only as "Joe" who has also encountered Ogopogo on many occasions in his 80+ plus years of life.

Fletcher, Kirk and Heppner are among thousands who have sighted an animal they have variously described as serpentine; with a horse or sheep-like head; black or dark green in colour; able to appear in the shape of logs and in the form of humps - single or many, coiled or arched or like some great snake. Measuring in length from 12 to over 70 feet long, Ogopogos have been seen as individuals or in groups of as many as three animals at a time.

Ogopogo's original name was Naitaka or N'ha-ha-itq which is of interior Salish Indian origin. The local Indians have a long oral tradition of the animal and were always careful never to venture on the lake without some small animal they could throw to the animal in event that the monster might attack the canoe. Petroglyphs in the Powers Creek area show a serpentine animal which one can safely say represents Ogopogo. Other petroglyphs once adorned rock outcroppings on the lake front, but have since been difficult to locate.

Copyright Arlene B. Gaal. Used with permission.Arthur Folden of Chase, B.C. was the first to have filmed the creature in 1968 (ringed above). His film, which has appeared on Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, clearly shows a huge creature breaking the surface of Okanagan Lake, much as a submarine would. It is in the region of 70 feet long and dwarfs the pine trees in the foreground of the film. Folden's film is strong evidence that Ogopogo is not merely an optical illusion caused by wind, waves or known animals and identifiable objects on the water. In addition to Folden, Larry Thal (1981), Eugene Boiselle (1982), Dr Rod Simmons (1989), Paul DeMara (1993) and John Kirk (1987,1989) have all obtained video footage of an unusual animal ploughing through the waters.

In 1989, a car salesman claimed to have shot the clearest footage of Ogopogo to date, and on first inspection to a limited audience it appeared he had. However, subsequent analysis by fish and game officials and various members of the scientific fraternity revealed the animal to be either a beaver or an otter. For two months Kelowna, the largest city on the shores of Okanagan Lake, was ablaze with excitement as the salesman offered to sell his videotape to the highest bidder. After spending nearly all of his money on the project, the salesman sold his footage to the American television program Unsolved Mysteries for a rumoured US$30,000.

Copyright Arlene B. Gaal. Used with permission.Ogopogo appearances have been sporadic into the nineties and it is feared that greater encroachment on its habitat by an ever-increasing human population is driving the animals to extinction. Further fears for the creatures' safety were raised in the summer of 1996 when it was announced that powerboat races would be held off Kelowna. Fortunately, there have been no reports of Ogopogo collisions with racing boats in the three years of racing on thelake. . It seems the creatures had the good sense to avoid humans careening around one of Ogopogo's favourite parts of its local pond.

Ogopogo, like the Lake Champlain creature enjoys protected wildlife status as a result of legislation enacted by the Province of British Columbia in 1989. It is illegal to harm, kill, capture or disturb the creature and is one of the most enlightened pieces of legislation ever written in the defence and protection of endangered animals.

Suggested reading on the subject includes:

In Search of Ogopogo is a profusely-illustrated and fascinating account of the sightings and witnesses of the mystery denizen of Okanagan Lake.

Arlene Gaal has penned an excellent account of the search for Canada's most famous aquatic cryptid, including a comprehensive sightings list that gives the reader a very clear picture of what the Ogopogo looks like.

This volume is on the BCSCC list of recommended reading. Available from

  • In The Domain of the Lake Monsters by John Kirk
  • Ogopogo - The Million Dollar Lake Monster by Arlene Gaal, Hancock House

  • Ogopogo by Mary Moon, J.J. Douglas.

Ogopogo has also been featured on the following television programs:

Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World
Unsolved Mysteries
Inside Edition
Inside Report
A Current Affair
and most recently on The Learning Channel (TLC) series
Strange Science: Bizarre Phenomena.

Several of these programs contain actual footage of the creature.

A feature film about an Ogopogo-like creature "Magic in the Water" starring Mark Harmon and filmed at Okanagan Lake has enjoyed a big screen and video release.