Where the Wild Things Are: Spot These Fish and Fauna In and Around Okanagan Lake
Did you know that there are more than 300 species of birds, several fish varieties, and numerous shoreland animals that call Okanagan Lake home? Boating is the best way to see local wildlife. Pack your binoculars, camera, fishing gear, and beach clothes and get ready to spot the abundant fauna from the best seat in the house, right on the water when you rent a boat from Downtown Marina.
Here fishy, fishy
A popular fishing area, the 135-kilometre lake in the Okanagan is home to several species of fish, including kokanee, burbot, lake whitefish, and rainbow trout, some of which can reach up to 20 lbs. As the lake seems bottomless in some areas, it helps to pack appropriate fishing gear such as a downrigger rod. A freshwater fishing license is also required and is available through the BC government.
Birds of a Feather
A birder’s paradise, many birds of prey, water birds, and migratory species nest and feed along Lake Okanagan. Expect to see:
- Golden and bald eagles
- Rough-legged, ferruginous, and broad-winged hawks
- Peregrine falcons
- Northern goshawks
- Canvasback, red-breasted merganser, and other duck and geese species
- Common loons
- Tundra swans
- Blue Herons
On the Shore
While birds and fish are predominant in and around the lake, so are species of mammals, reptiles, insects, and amphibians. See if you can spot these animals from the safety of your boat rental:
- Black bears
- White-tailed deer
- Bighorn sheep
- Western painted turtles
- Great Basin spadefoot toads
- Yellow-bellied marmots
Protecting Our Wildlife
The Okanagan is one of the most biodiverse regions in British Columbia. However, due to encroaching development, the introduction of invasive species, fire suppression, and lower rain levels, some of the area's wildlife are on the threatened or endangered list. Before you go out on the water, make sure to understand Okanagan hunting and fishing regulations and quotas, and leave no trace behind. Do not approach any wild animal, and instead use a camera with a long lens to capture all the beauty.
Best Places to Spot Fauna on the Lake in Kelowna
You don't have to travel to the hills to see abundant wildlife near Kelowna. Look for creatures big and small in local waterfront parks and nature reserves. Some parks also feature boat launches and moorage. They include:
- Rotary Marshes Wildlife Park adjacent to Waterfront Park and our Kelowna marina.
- Knox Mountain Park, located near the Sutherland Bay boat launch.
- Raymer Bay Regional Park in West Kelowna has boat mooring buoys for day and overnight use.
- Bear Creek Provincial Park on the North Westside has an overnight boat mooring area.
- Kalamoir Regional Park has an accessible dock with a canoe and kayak launch.
- Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour in Lake Country north of Kelowna features a viewing/fishing platform, boat launch, and courtesy dock for emergencies.
For more information on Kelowna tourism activities, read: More than a Boat Ride: 5 Things to Do on your Kelowna Okanagan Lake Adventure.
Get everything you need for your wildlife viewing adventure on Okanagan Lake. Downtown Marina offers motorboat, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals, boat accessories, moorage, boat gas, ice, snacks, sundries, and more. Looking for a guided tour? Let our experienced team do the driving with our fully-guided Lake Okanagan boat tour aboard our 12-seat luxury pontoon. Contact us at 1-250-763-5599 for more information.