Two Exciting Reasons to Visit The Shuswap

Destinations, Things to Do

Two Exciting Reasons to Visit The Shuswap

Lake Shuswap in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, has a lot to offer houseboat visitors: hiking, waterfalls, fishing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and horseback riding (among other things.) However, Lake Shuswap is a mecca to scuba diving enthusiasts, and a destination for the world renowned Adam's River Sockeye Salmon Run.

Note: If you're heading to Lake Shuwap from the United States of America, be sure to have all necessary documentation on hand prior to your vacation. Learn more about which documents you'll need to cross the border in our Canadian Houseboat Vacations blog post.

Scuba Diving

Whether you're a scuba novice or a seasoned diver, there are numerous dives throughout the lake for you to explore while you're on your Lake Shuswap houseboat vacation. There are countless wall dives, underwater cave systems, and even some historic shipwrecks to investigate. Here are a few dive spots that are not-to-be-missed:

  • If you're up for an advanced dive (of about 90 feet,) check out the Alvera tug boat near the Cinnemousun Narrows, where the four arms of the lake intersect. The boat is burnt to the waterline but the hull, engine, and transmission are preserved. A Dive Heritage Site.

The S.S. Whitesmith Icebreaker Ferry, a screw-driven steamer which was equipped to break ice was used to deliver goods to the Seymour Arm in the late 1920's. It broke free in a storm in 1933 and sunk near Semaphore Point. It is now a favorite diving destination. Also a Dive Heritage Site.

1920's Model T Ford sunk while it was towing five sleighs full of mail over the frozen lake when it plunged through the ice in the 1930's. The driver, Captain John Joseph Smith survived, but the sleigh remains at the bottom of Sicamous Bay.

Dive to the Old Railway Barge, which was used to move railway cars and goods to the northern end of the lake. It's an easy 60 foot dive near Scotch Creek.

Wall dives ranging between 50 and 130 feet, and a 50 foot limestone formation near Eagle Bay.

sunken houseboat (not to worry, it's extremely rare) sits at the bottom of the lake near Copper Island on the western side of the main Shuswap arm.


Salmon Run

If you happen to find yourself at Lake Shuswap from about mid-September to late October, don't miss the opportunity to dive the world famous Sockeye Run, during which over two million Sockeye Salmon gather for their journey back to the Adam's River. It's a spectacular sight.

The Shuswap is referred to as a "nursery lake" by bilogists due to high concentrations of picoplanction, a food source for young salmon. The Adam's River Sockeye travel from their spawning grounds to the South Thompson River, then to the Fraser River, and on to the Pacific. The Salmon feed in the Strait of Georgia before heading to the ocean in order to build up fat stores that they rely on as they head back to the Adam's River. They spend three years in the open ocean following Arctic currents to Alaska. They then journey back to the Adam's River, a trip that is over 500 km (300 miles) upstream through the rapids of Fraser Canyon, in only 17 days! How many Salmon can you expect to see each year?

Every fourth year is known as a "Dominant" year (2018,2022, etc) yields millions of Sockeye Salmon. An estimated 2 million in 2014. 

Sub-dominant years (2019) you may see hundreds of thousands.

Post-subdominant years (2020) you may see hundreds. The fewest of the four years, but still a sight to behold.

Pre-dominant years (2021) you may see tens of thousands.


- Fun fact: The Salmon develop their distinctive red hue due to their ocean diet of carotenoids which contain the same pigment that gives carrots their color. The carotenoids are stored in their flesh, and as they approach spawning grounds they absorb their scales, exposing the red color.

The Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, lining the banks of the narrow waterway that connects Shuswap and Adam's Lake, is a great place to view the awe-inspiring event. To access the park, head East down Highway 1 for about 9km from Chase. After crossing under the Squilax Bridge, exit to your right and proceed over the bridge to continue along the Squilax-Anglemont Road for another 6km. The entrance to the park will be on the right.

Start planning your trip to the Shuswap today! Call us at 888-454-8825 or Request Information Online and an agent will contact you to answer your questions and lead you through planning the details.

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