Not just Okanagan Lake; large crayfish spotted in Osoyoos Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Not just Okanagan Lake; large crayfish spotted in Osoyoos Lake

Shilo Lyver took this photo of a larger than normal crayfish in Osoyoos Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Shilo Lyver
March 06, 2021 - 3:31 PM

Osoyoos residents are seeing evidence of some large crayfish in Osoyoos Lake.

Normally only an inch or two long, last summer Hesketh Hope Garett found just a claw that was two inches long on the north end of the lake. Then earlier this year, Osoyoos resident Shilo Lyver found an even bigger one.

Lyver says she has seen large crayfish in the main boat marina as well as in the Haynes Point area.

The one in the photo measured around six inches, she says.

"I've seen some way bigger than that, like a baby lobster," she says.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Never-seen-before lobster-size crayfish discovered in Okanagan Lake

The sightings are unusual, as the species generally only grow to two or three inches in length.

A report prepared by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection for B.C. Fisheries in 2005 says there is only one native species of crayfish in B.C. — the Signal crayfish.

The species is known to feed on algae, insects and other crayfish, in addition to ‘vascular detritus’ – particulate organic carbon, but food choice is largely dependent on what is available in the surrounding environment.

The crayfish are found in the southern quarter of British Columbia, ranging as far north as Okanagan Lake, west to Vancouver Island and east to the Kootenays.

The signal crayfish can be found in both lakes and streams, with sightings reported in many interior freshwater lakes, rivers and streams.

Juveniles prefer shallow waters while adults are often found in deeper parts of a lake or stream.

The species has been harvested commercially in British Columbia. In 1994, two licenses on Harrison River and Harrison Lake in the Lower Mainland recorded catches totalling 4,602 pounds.

A sighting of a large specimen was recorded on Okanagan Lake, where divers came across a crayfish measuring around one foot in length last year.

A Kelowna-based group called Crayfishin’ B.C. is on the hunt for big B.C. freshwater crayfish and provides a place for members to post stories and photos of crayfish they have encountered.

More information on B.C. crayfish, including how to catch them and cook them, can be found here.

Osoyoos Lake isn't the only place to find large crayfish. Kevin Aschhoff saw this 10-12 inch long signal crayfish during a night dive in Okanagan Lake in 2020.
Osoyoos Lake isn't the only place to find large crayfish. Kevin Aschhoff saw this 10-12 inch long signal crayfish during a night dive in Okanagan Lake in 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Oceantec Scuba

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