Ogopogo

The ogopogo, arguably the most famous Canadian cryptid besides bigfoot, is an unknown serpentine animal inhabiting Lake Okanagan, British Columbia. Lake Okanagan is a fjord lake, 351 square kilometres, and nearly 700 ft deep in some locations. The ogopogo’s description is somewhat vague, but it resembles a serpentine whale-like creature with many humps, not unlike the long extinct Zeuglodon or basilosaurus. The local Okanagan people, a First Nations tribe, have folklore of the Naitaka meaning Lake Demon with petroglyphs depicting it from thousands of years ago. The word “ogopogo” comes from a 1924 folk song about the creature in Lake Okanagan. “His mother was an earwig, His father was a whale; A little bit of head And hardly any tail— And ogopogo was his name.”

Ogopogo is by far the most commonly reported lake monster in Canada, with thousands of witnesses, and is also the most filmed. I will only list the more notable sightings.  In 1926 in Okanagan Mission Beach, thirty cars of people observed an ogopogo swimming around the lake. In 1947 a number of boaters all saw the creature at the same time. One of the witnesses, a Mr. Kray, gave a detailed description: "it had a long sinuous body, 30 feet in length, consisting of about five undulations, apparently separated from each other by about a two-foot space, in which that part of the undulations would have been underwater. There appeared to be a forked tail, of which only one-half came above the water. From time to time the whole thing submerged and came up again."


Bill Steciuk was crossing the bridge from the west side of Okanagan Lake in October of 1978 towards Kelowna. He noticed some movement in the lake and immediately stopped his car. All the traffic behind him also stopped and he was soon joined by around 20 other people watching the creature. All 20 or so people saw what appeared to be a head with three black humps behind it, perhaps 60 metres away protruding out of the water. Bill and the onlookers watched the creature swimming for around a minute, after which it disappeared beneath the water's surface, leaving a large wake. Bill Steciuk was so fascinated by his encounter that he became an amateur ogopogo researcher. In June 24th 2017, a man heading to the Penticton Marina watched a creature moving rapidly underwater making a very large wake which they initially thought was a slow moving ski doo.

The oldest known photograph of the Ogopogo, taken in 1946

The oldest known photograph of the Ogopogo, taken in 1946

In 2017, Andrew Stark photographed a strange elephant seal-like creature

In 2017, Andrew Stark photographed a strange elephant seal-like creature

Photo taken in Sept 6th 2006 by a boater south of Kelowna Mission. Witness guessed it was 20 ft

Photo taken in Sept 6th 2006 by a boater south of Kelowna Mission. Witness guessed it was 20 ft

On May 2015, Bill Steciuk took a photo of a football-sized seal-like head sticking out of the water

On May 2015, Bill Steciuk took a photo of a football-sized seal-like head sticking out of the water

In 1985 ,Two ogopogos were seen “playing” off Penticton during a wedding.

In 1985 ,Two ogopogos were seen “playing” off Penticton during a wedding.