The Best Fish In & Around The Okanagan

In talking with some of our residents, we found that many of them are very passionate about fishing. And so, to celebrate that, we decided to do some leg-work, and bring you the best information we could find on the subject.

The Okanagan, and many of the smaller lakes around it, are home to a wide variety of fish. But this assumes that you know where to look, which not everyone does, especially if you’re new to the area. Thankfully Kelowna Now has a list of cool fishing spots that we think is awesome. We’ll give you their list and introduce you to some of the spots these fish are home to. As we introduce new lakes, we’ll introduce the new fish as they appear in these lakes. You cod find it very interesting! In fact, we promise it will reel you in! And yes, we promise to scale back the bad fishing puns.

man on boat tossing line into sea fishing

Oyama Lake

According to Kelowna Now what makes Oyama Lake special is its “pristine waters and quiet atmosphere”, and the preeminent fish you can expect to encounter is Rainbow Trout.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout generally vary between .5 and 9 kilos, or between 1 and 20 pounds of weight, and 30-90 cm of length.  It’s native to North American lakes and rivers west of the Rocky Mountains. The Rainbow Trout is also a carnivorous fish that hatches from nests the female builds in the depths of their native bodies of water.

Canadian Geographic on Rainbow Trout

Jackpine Lake

Also home to our good friend the Rainbow Trout, Jackpine Lake is a shallow, small lake about 39km west of West Kelowna. Motorboats aren’t allowed, but we know that the “fly fishing is best here near lilypads”.

The British Columbia Travel Guide on Jackpine Lake

Mission Creek and Mill Creek

Fishing in the Okanagan can sometimes be difficult, but you can make it easier on yourself by “start[ing] early in the morning and head[ing] to the mouth of some of the rivers (i.e. Mill Creek and Mission Creek)”. You may be able to find Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, and Whitefish.


Kokanee are landlocked sockeyes who initially have a stocky, silvery build and then undergo significant change directly prior to spawning. Their skin smoothens and turns red and their mouths distinctively elongate. They’re generally 1-5 pounds and found all over the Pacific Northwest, as far south as Northern California, and as far north as Alaska.

Montana Field Guide on Kokanee Salmon


Lake Whitefish are small-headed freshwater fish that can sometimes be distinguished by large humps behind their head. They populate lakes across Canada and the northern US near the 49th parallel. They tend to weigh 1 to 2 kilos and are 40-50 cms long when mature.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Lake Whitefish

Shannon Lake

A neat little lake in West Kelowna, Shannon Lake has fish like our old friend Rainbow Trout, alongside Large Mouth Bass and Perch.

Large Mouth Bass

Don’t go telling your secrets to this guy, he’s got a big mouth! Large Mouth Bass are 25-55 cm long, and weigh 1.4-5 lbs, and are mostly native to the US, although it does reside in Canadian border areas. The males of the species protect their nests, warding off predators until their offspring are born.

Ontario on Large Mouth Bass

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perches are freshwater fish that reside primarily in shallow water with a distinct golden gleam and a stubby, uneven figure. They can be found all along the northern US and southern Canada, although some of them protrude as far north as the Northwest Territories.

The Canadian Encyclopedia on Perches

Rose Valley Reservoir

Some of you at this point may be feeling Rainbow Trout fatigue, like that friend who stays over just a bit too long. It’s too bad because he’s here again in Rose Valley as the dominant fish of note. Rose Valley is a small lake you have to hike into from West Kelowna.

Vaseux Lake

Vaseux Lake has a wide variety of fish here, such as the Yellow Perch, Kokanne, Bass, Trout, and Whitefish. Be careful of BC fishing regulations though, because it is a provincial park.

Skaha Lake

There are a few Rainbow Trout and Kokanee, but mostly Small Mouth Bass these days.

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Of course,if  you would like to read more about some of the benefits of buying a new home in West Harbour, where all these fish and lakes are nearby, please have a look at this list of “9 Reasons To Buy Your Home On Leased Land”!