Finding Fish

Lake Windmerre Ambassadors seeks fishy friends

By Shannon McGinty

Lake Windermere Ambassadors

Did you know that there are approximately 16 species of fish living in our lake? See a highlight of some of our key native species above.

Some of our fish are native to these waters and others have been introduced by humans and compete with native species for habitat and food.

We are asking community members to help us learn more about fish populations in Lake Windermere. If you find yourself fishing Lake Windermere (throughout any season) we would love to hear about what you are catching! This information will be used to help support and sustain fish populations through future project work.

Please complete our survey at

Burbot (Lota lota): Burbot have historically been an ecologically important species to Lake Windermere and the First Nations Peoples. They average in length about 40cm at maturity and can be found in large, cold (below 18°C), rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Burbot are primarily piscivores (eat other fish) but will also prey on insects and other macro invertebrates.

Northern Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis): Northern Pikeminnow, also referred to as “squawfish,” are native residents of Lake Windermere. They get their name as they are a member of the minnow family and resemble a northern pike. The average length of a Northern Pikeminnow is 20 to 35cm. They prefer lakes or slow moving areas of rivers therefore their populations have befitted from the development of the Columbia River hydropower system. Northern Pikeminnow are voracious predators that prey on salmon smolts and their eggs.

Large-scale Sucker (Castostomus macrochelius): Large-scale Suckers are bottom dwellers that feed on benthic aquatic invertebrates, diatoms (single cell algae), and other plant material. They are often found in the slower moving portions of rivers/streams, and in lakes. Large-scale Suckers can reach up to 60cm in length.

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): British Columbia’s Rainbow Trout are descended from two ancient lines and can be divided into two types: the coastal rainbow trout and the interior red-band trout, the latter being what we find in the Columbia Basin. They are about 40 cm in length and prefer cool, swift waters. Rainbow Trout feed on invertebrates, fish eggs, and other small fish.

Kokanee Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka): Kokanee Salmon are native to Lake Windermere and spend their whole lives in freshwater, unlike many other salmon species who swim to the ocean. They average in length up to 50cm and can only tolerate water temperature up to about 16°C.

Redsided Shiner (Richardsonius balteatus): Redsided Shiners are an important source of food for diving birds like ducks, loons, and grebes. In turn they consume insects, algae, and fish eggs or fry. They average about 18cm in length. These fish are a schooling fish and can often be seen congregating in the thousands!

Mountain Whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni): The Mountain Whitefish is a bottom-feeding fish that stirs up the substrate with their pectoral and tail fins to expose insect larvae and other invertebrates. They average 20 to 30cm in length and prefer mountain streams and lakes with clear cold water.

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors is a society representing a cross-section of community stakeholders committed to directing water quality monitoring and lake stewardship. Contact the Lake Windermere Ambassadors at (250) 341-6898 or or visit our office located in the south annex of the Service BC building. Feel free to contribute to this conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @LakeAmbassadors.

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