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Okanagan Lake

Okanagan Lake

Okanagan Lake, 69 mi (111 km) long and from 2 to 4 mi (3.2-6.4 km) wide, S British Columbia, Canada. It drains southward through the Okanagan River. The lake is in a prosperous fruit-growing region.
Okanagan Lake, also known as Lake Okanagan, is a large, deep lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. The lake is 135 km long, between 4 and 5 km wide, and has a surface area of 351 km². The lake's assumed maximum depth is 232 meters near Grant Island (also called "Whiskey Island" or "Seagull Island" by locals), but the lake possibly goes much deeper under the shelves. Some areas of the lake have up to 750 meters of glacial and post-glacial sediment fill which were deposited during the Pleistocene Epoch. The lake is composed of three basins, a larger North basin, a central or mid basin, and a Southern basin. To the North the lake is joined to Kalamalka Lake by Vernon Creek, and in the South it is joined to Skaha Lake by the Okanagan River. Notable features of the Okanagan Valley include terraces which were formed due to the periodic lowering of the lake's predecessor, Glacial Lake Penticton. These terraces are now used extensively for agriculture such as fruit cultivation.

Cities bordering the lake include Vernon in the north, Penticton in the south, Kelowna and Westside in the centre, as well as the smaller municipalities of Lake Country (north of Kelowna), Peachland (south of Westside), and Summerland (north-west of Penticton). Various lake features include: Rattlesnake Island, a small island east of Peachland; Squally Point, a popular cliff-diving area; Fintry Delta on the west side; and the three-lane Okanagan Lake Bridge, a floating bridge which connects Kelowna to the municipality of Westside and the community of Westbank. The bridge was replaced by a five-lane floating bridge on May 30, 2008; called the William R. Bennett Bridge, it handles increased traffic and eliminates the need for a lift span for passage of larger boats.

Many parks and beaches are found along the shores of the lake, which make boating and swimming very popular activities. The lake is home to several species of fish, including rainbow trout and kokanee. It is said by some to be home to its own sea monster - a giant serpent-like creature named Ogopogo.

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