Lake Athabasca, Alberta & Saskatchewan, Canada
Lake Athabasca is a 1,939,776-acre lake with a maximum depth of 410 feet making it the largest and deepest lake in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Approximately 30% of the lake lies within Alberta and the remainder is located in Saskatchewan. Lake Athabasca is a fly-in lake meaning the only way to get there is by plane. Known for its superb fresh water fishing, this remote Canadian lake…
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Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Athabasca! Article topics include:
- All About Lake Athabasca
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Lake Athabasca Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Lake Athabasca Gifts
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All About Lake Athabasca, AB
Lake Athabasca is a 1,939,776-acre lake with a maximum depth of 410 feet making it the largest and deepest lake in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Approximately 30% of the lake lies within Alberta and the remainder is located in Saskatchewan. Lake Athabasca is a fly-in lake meaning the only way to get there is by plane. Known for its superb fresh water fishing, this remote Canadian lake offers anglers an ultimate fishing vacation getaway.
Lake Athabasca has consistently produced record setting trophy fish for many of the species indigenous to the lakes of northern Canada. The largest recorded lake trout ever caught at 102 pounds was landed by commercial fishermen in 1961. The Canadian record for a 42 pound northern pike came from the crystal clear waters of Lake Athabasca. Other sport fish in the lake include walleye, lake whitefish and arctic grayling. Local fishing guides will be more than happy to take you out on the lake to places where 60 pound trout are common and northern pike often exceed 50 inches. Arctic grayling, though small compared to trout and pike, are mighty fighters and a real thrill to catch. You can also try your hand at fly-fishing from the main shore, which encircles the lake for 1,181 miles, or the shore of several small islands on the lake.
Although fishing is Lake Athabasca’s main attraction, sand dunes on the south shore also draw much attention. Designated a Provincial Wilderness Park in 1992, the Athabasca Sand Dunes run for about 60 miles reaching as high as 100 feet in some areas. The sand dunes are the most northerly major sand field in the world. You will need a boat to visit the sand dunes and camping in designated areas is allowed. Be sure to notice the plants that grow up through the sand as you will not see them anywhere else in the world.
Spending some time on Lake Athabasca will allow you to discover the magnificent beauty of the unspoiled wilderness of the area encompassing a pristine lake so large that the opposite shoreline cannot be seen. There are a few lodges and vacation rentals on Lake Athabasca and two small towns – Fort Chipewyan and Uranium City. Fort Chipewyan is a small community that sits on Lake Athabasca in the northeast corner of Alberta. While only accessible by plane or winter ice roads, tourism plays a key role in the economy, especially in the summer months. The town is also responsible for a wild bison herd as part of Wood Buffalo National Park.
Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northwestern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, was established in 1922 to protect the world’s largest herd of free roaming Wood Bison. It is also the only known nesting site of whooping cranes. The park headquarters is located in Fort Smith, Alberta, with a smaller satellite office in Fort Chipewyan. The park is located directly north of the Lake Athabasca Sands Dunes but access from Lake Athabasca is best by plane. Camping, hiking, swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, cross-country skiing, and shoeing are all allowed in the park.
Uranium and gold mining along the northern shore of Lake Athabasca resulted in the birth of Uranium City, Saskatchewan, which was home to the mine workers and their families. When the last mines closed in the 1980s, most of the people left the area and the population dropped from a high of 4,500 people to the present population of 120. Living in isolation, all goods and services are provided by air, winter roads and summer barging services. The town does have a certified airport with a gravel runway operated by the Saskatchewan Government Department of Highways & Transportation. The airport is one of the few employers left in the community.
Lake Athabasca has something for everyone. Anglers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking a vacation off the beaten path will thoroughly enjoy the wide array of breathtaking scenes and points of interests that can only add to a truly unforgettable sport fishing experience.
Things to Do at Lake Athabasca
These are some activities in the Lake Athabasca, AB area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Wildlife Viewing
- National Park
What Kind of Fish Are in Lake Athabasca?
Lake Athabasca has been known to have the following fish species:
- Lake Trout
- Northern Pike
Find Places to Stay at Lake Athabasca
If you’re considering a Lake Athabasca lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
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More Sites to Book a Lake Athabasca Vacation
Our interactive Lake Athabasca lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
Lake Athabasca Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed
Water Level Control: Natural
Surface Area: 1,939,776 acres
Shoreline Length: 1,181 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 699 feet
Average Depth: 66 feet
Maximum Depth: 407 feet
Water Volume: 165,242,878 acre-feet
Drainage Area: 106,000 sq. miles
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