Exploring the Delta Sand Islands

Exploring the Delta Sand Islands

Doug Smith  May 15, 2020 at 9:19 am

I paddled out of Cooney Bay in April and instead of heading out into the bay and then farther out to Kamloops Lake, I chose to paddle upstream into the shallow river channels and explore the delta sand islands.  At low water, the river divides into 3 channels near the mouth before entering Kamloops Lake.   The main channel is about 2/3 of the way across to the other side.    The water moves more quickly there and is deeper.   On the north side of the mouth are two channels, the one closest to Cooney Bay and one shallow channel farther over.   In between the channels are a number of sand islands.   At low water, the islands dry out, some with a few logs or other debris.   I paddled up the first channel, past the gravelly beaches and cottonwoods by Tranquille.

I paddled up the first channel and then down the second one,  watching for shallow spots since its no fun to ground the boat.  I turned the corner at the lake mouth, then went up the main channel, paddling against the current and landed on a sand island.

I explored the island, examining debris and tracks.   There were lots of bird tracks (mainly seagulls), but there was also a river otter tracks that started at one end of the island and went across to the other side.    I have spotted river otters in this area a few times, especially during freshet.

I paddled over to the next island and explored it too.   I tried wading through shallow water between the islets, but the super-saturated silts were like quicksand, with my boots burying deeper with each step.

After exploring 3 islands. I paddled to the south shore then looped back through deeper water in the lake to the launch spot at Cooney Bay.   All of these islands will be covered in water by now and will have to wait until mid-fall to dry out again.

We are lucky to have access to this area, but it is rarely explored, except by a few who kayak into the lake.

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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at: http://www.kamloopstrails.net/

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