Otter Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

Fed by Canadian Cascade Mountain runoff and clear spring water, Otter Lake is a popular summer-time retreat located in southern British Columbia’s Regional District Okanagan-Simikameen. Otter Lake Provincial Park is found at the northern end of Otter Lake with the historic mining community of Tulameen found on the southern shore. Considered the gateway to British Columbia’s interior, the rural area is 115 miles east of Vancouver and about 50 miles north of the U.S. border with Washington State.

Hunting and trapping defined much of Otter Lake’s early history. The hills surrounding Otter Lake sheltered many of Canada’s First Nation people while the region’s food, furs and prized red ochre filled many of their traditional needs. The same furs attracted hunters and trappers from the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1800s. A company transport route passed by Otter Lake where women resided at “Encampment des Femmes” as they waited for their men to return from the mountains. In the late 1800s the discovery of gold in nearby Granite Creek dramatically increased the number of settlers. As new communities were founded, the women’s encampment became known as Otter Flat before it was renamed Tulameen in 1901.

The clear water of Otter Lake stands at an elevation of 2700 feet and covers 716 acres. At a length of three miles, the lake is ideal for waterskiing and boating. A paved boat ramp can be found at Otter Lake Provincial Park campground. A second gravel ramp is open to the public in the town of Tulameen. Canoeists and kayakers will enjoy a leisurely paddle along the tree-lined shore. If the timing is right, wildlife watchers may catch a glimpse of otter, beaver, mountain goats, moose, elk, or occasional cougar and black bear wandering the hills.

Also located at the park campground is a small public beach. A preferred second beach is located in a day-use area in Tulameen. The pleasant sandy shore leads to a grassy picnic area, a favorite of locals as well as visitors. Shaded picnic tables overlook Otter Lake and miles of unspoiled mountain scenery. No lifeguards are on duty at either beach, so swimmers are reminded to enter the water at their own risk.

Hiking through the surrounding canyons and rugged terrain is a popular pastime. A nature trail can be found near the campground, and the Trans Canada Trail lies within view of Otter Lake. Cycling is restricted to roadways around Otter Lake but is permitted within marked areas of the Trans Canada Trail along with horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Fishing is also popular on Otter Lake. Just about any angler will enjoy testing their skills on the lake’s rainbow trout, lake trout, largescale sucker, northern pikeminnow, steelhead, torrent sculpin and kokanee. Follow Otter Creek, the outlet for Otter Lake, south to the Tulameen River and you can continue fishing for rainbow trout and whitefish. The Tulameen River is a tributary of the Similkameen River, home to a number of excellent river fisheries. While at Otter Lake, consider side fishing trips to nearby Blakeburn Creek, Collins Gulch and Granite Creek.

In 1885 gold was discovered in Granite Creek. Mining for gold continues in the area of Otter Lake where visitors will find an opportunity to pan for gold or purchase a gold claim. As the availability of gold diminished, settlers moved out leaving ghost towns waiting for visitors to explore. Adventure seekers will enjoy trekking through the remnants of Blakeburn, Granite Creek and Allenby, all within an hour’s drive of Otter Lake.

The delightful western community of Princeton sits 30 miles southeast of Otter Lake. With a population approaching 2,800 people, Princeton is home to unique shops and restaurants. Through exhibits and displays the Princeton and District Museum and Archives tell the history of Otter Lake, part of Canada’s Mountains West Tourism Region.

If you are looking for wide open spaces where few lights are to be seen and stars glitter overhead, Otter Lake vacation rentals and real estate properties are for you. Choose from small campgrounds, lodges and rustic cabins found along the shore. Select your residence and prepare to sail the water in the summer or cross-country ski, snowmobile and snowshoe in the winter where Otter Lake blends naturally with the countryside.

Things to do at Otter Lake BC

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Provincial Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Otter Lake BC

  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sculpin
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Sucker
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Otter Lake BC Photo Gallery

    Otter Lake BC Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Surface Area: 716 acres

    Shoreline Length: 8 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,700 feet

    Lake Area-Population: 250

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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