Shuswap Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

With 889 miles of shoreline and a multitude of provincial parks, 76,602-acre Shuswap Lake in the Southern Interior of British Columbia offers unlimited water related recreational opportunities. The lake also boasts the largest houseboat fleet in Canada for those looking for a unique and fun way to vacation with family and friends. And when you get tired of the water, the surrounding mountains provide beautiful trails for mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Shuswap Lake, named after the Shuswap indians, is a multi-basin lake made up of four large arms: the Shuswap Lake Main Arm, Salmon Arm, Anstey Arm, and Seymour Arm. The four arms join at a short shallow passage called Cinnemousun Narrows, northeast of the town of Sicamous. The two south arms have been developed for recreational use while the two north arms remain mostly untouched. One of the best places to begin exploring Shuswap Lake is at Sicamous, known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. Most of the marinas and watercraft rental facilities are also located here.

Shuswap Lake has an incredible number of parks, some of which are only accessible by water. All locations are popular for fishing and water sports; hiking and nature study are the main attraction at some sites. Those interested in an extended visit to Shuswap Lake will find plenty of campsites, some of which are vehicle-accessible, but most require a boat or watercraft of some kind. For sites accessible by water only, launch facilities are located around the lake. Vacation rentals of all kinds can also be found around the lake.

Shuswap Lake Provincial Marine Park is comprised of 26 sites located along the shoreline of Shuswap Lake. Most of the sites have boat launches, beaches, campgrounds and docks. Facilities at the parks vary greatly from park to park.

Silver Beach Provincial Park is located at the end of a gravel road at the head of Seymour Arm on Shuswap Lake. This part of the lake has beautiful sandy beaches. Houseboaters often come here to get away from it all. Also nearby are the remains of a gold-rush town.

Shuswap Lake Provincial Park is one of the most popular parks on Shuswap Lake. Camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, paddling, swimming, hiking, windsurfing, sailing, houseboating, water-skiing, nature study, and bicycling can all be found here.

Yard Creek Provincial Park lies just east of Sicamous on Shuswap Lake. This quiet, shady park is often used as a base camp when exploring Shuswap Lake.

Hikers will want to head to Herald Provincial Park for some interesting hiking over upland and flat delta terrain. This park is located along the western shore of the Salmon Arm of Shuswap Lake. Birders will enjoy the 70 species documented in Herald Park. Campsites are located both at lakeside and a short distance uphill in the wooded areas. Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park on the Adams River at the western extreme of Shuswap Lake has several beautiful walks and easy hikes; the Lower Trail System provides access to viewing the salmon run along the Adams River. Be sure to take the Reinecker Creek self-guided nature walk here, which leads to Margaret Falls.

Shuswap Lake is great for fishing with 19 species of fish in the lake. Lake trout, rainbow trout and kokanee are some of the prize catches from the lake. Kamloops trout, a unique strain of rainbow trout, can put on an acrobatic performance for fly-fishers skilled enough to hook one. These trout, native to central and south-central Interior regions of the province, are most plentiful at Silver Beach Provincial Park, at Seymour Arm. Due to the unusual shape of the lake, the depth of the water can vary from 203 feet to 528 feet.

If renting a houseboat sounds like fun, you will find many to choose from. Some of these luxurious boats can sleep up to 30 and feature hot tubs, fireplaces, TVs, satellite dish, king size beds and even wireless internet access.

Shuswap Lake has much to offer winter visitors as well. Many of the trails in the parks are suitable for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the winter months.

For those seeking a peaceful vacation getaway, consider the shores of Shuswap Lake, situated in the Columbia Mountains region of British Columbia. The moderate weather, clear water and easy accessibility make Shuswap Lake a highly desirable recreational area. This can be proven by the many provincial parks surrounding the lake and the hundreds of houseboats and pleasure crafts on the water during the summer months.

Things to do at Shuswap Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park

Fish species found at Shuswap Lake

  • Kamloops
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Shuswap Lake Photo Gallery

Shuswap Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 76,502 acres

Shoreline Length: 889 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,138 feet

Average Depth: 203 feet

Maximum Depth: 528 feet

Water Volume: 15,484,622 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 2.1 years

Lake Area-Population: 15,000

Drainage Area: 6,255 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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