British Columbia

The mysterious case of the Kamloops Lake monster

"It wasn't a kayaker. It was some sort of creature, animal, fish. I'm not exactly sure, but it was moving about the same pace as the kayaker and it had quite a wake behind it."

'It was some sort of creature, animal, fish'

Fisherman Regan Birch said both he and his brother have caught sturgeon in Kamloops Lake, pictured. He is convinced the fish is what is causing people to think there is a lake monster. (Submitted by Regan Birch)

A tweet by the City of Kamloops' Director of Parks and Recreation Jeff Putnam has caused quite a stir.

Putnam posted a picture in late April of something causing an unexplainable wake in the middle of Kamloops Lake.

He snapped it while checking on his neighbour's new house, being built near the water.

"I noticed quite a large wake in the middle of the lake and it's quite wide." said Putnam.

At first he thought it was a kayaker, but then realized there were no paddles moving. Putnam didn't have his glasses, so he zoomed in on his cell phone and took some photos to get a better look.

"It wasn't a kayaker. It was some sort of creature, animal, fish. I'm not exactly sure, but it was moving about the same pace as [a] kayaker and it had quite a wake behind it."

Theories

Since Putnam's tweet was posted, all sorts of theories have emerged about what was causing the wake, ranging from a flock of ducks, to a lake monster. 

Skeetchestn Chief Ronald Ignace told Daybreak Kamloops' Doug Herbert that as far as he knows there aren't any stories in his band's history regarding lake monsters, but he has heard a theory that the so-called lake monster is a white sturgeon.

The Fish and Wildlife Branch doesn't include sturgeon among the fish in Kamloops Lake, however a few local fishermen also support this theory.

Sturgeon sightings

Fisherman Duncan Robertson said he used to fish in Kamloops Lake regularly a few years ago, and he would see some unexpected shapes when he and his friend tried to chase some bigger trout.

"We would see these monstrous items below the surface that originally we thought were logs," said Robertson. "In talking to a few old-timers and sort of putting our heads together we determined that they're probably sturgeon in that lake."

Fisherman Regan Birch said he and his brother actually caught sturgeon in the lake in 2012 and in 2015. The one he caught was about two metres long and over 100 pounds.

"We brought it aboard and brought it into shore and we just wanted to get it revived and let it loose," said Birch.

"The province was coming down to do some scale samples and tagging, but they just didn't get there in time. We wanted to make sure it was good to go so we let it go."

Another time, his brother also caught a sturgeon on the opposite shore that was around the same size, Birch said.

Ogopogo or sturgeon?

Birch is convinced that sturgeon are not only the explanation for the lake monster in Kamloops Lake, but also for the lake monster in Okanagan Lake.

"I believe they're in Okanagan Lake, too, and that may be the thing that might settle the rumours there too about the Loch Ness monster. I believe that to be a sturgeon," he said. 

He says he has also caught sturgeon in Osoyoos Lake.

"By the way, both of those lakes, Kamloops and Osoyoos, we were told there's no sturgeon in those lakes."

Kelowna's Ogopogo has been a tourist draw and a curiousity for decades. Could the Tournament Capital have its own monster lurking in the depths of Kamloops Lake? Daybreak's Doug Herbert investigates some recent sightings 8:02

With files from Doug Herbert and Daybreak Kamloops

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