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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » Peace and Athabasca Region » Athabasca River Basin » Steele Lake

Steele Lake

    1.Introduction
    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Lake Basin Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics
    6.References
    7.Appendix

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:83I/12
Location:Tp65 R25, 26 W4
Lat/Long:54°39'N 113°46'W

Steele Lake is a very quiet and pretty lake set in one of the best examples of boreal northern forest close to a major population centre. It is located in Improvement District No. 17, about 180 km north of the city of Edmonton. To reach Steele Lake from Edmonton, drive 150 km north on Highways 2, 18 and 44 until you are just beyond the hamlet of Fawcett, turn east on Secondary Road 663 and drive for about 17 km, then turn north and drive for 10 km to reach Cross Lake Provincial Park. The park was established on the west side of the lake in 1955 (Alta. Rec. Parks n.d.). By 1985 it had expanded to its present size of 2,076 ha (Fig. 1). It completely surrounds the lake and offers a 90-site campground, a group camping area, pump water, a day-use area, picnic shelters, sewage disposal facilities, a boat launch, a playground and a beach (Alta. Hotel Assoc. 1989). Although winter camping is permitted, no services are available.

The lake was first named Cross Lake for its shape and it is still called that locally. It was renamed Steele Lake for Ira John Steele DLS, a soldier killed in World War I (Holmgren and Holmgren 1976; Boyd and Cochrane 1981). There was some attempt to farm in the area in the 1940s, but the land and climate were not suitable and few homesteaders remained. Fur farming, trapping and hunting are the most prevalent land uses now (Alta. Rec. Parks n.d.).

The lake is popular for boating in summer and angling for pike and yellow perch year-round. All boats are prohibited in some posted areas of the lake and motor boats are restricted to 12 km/hour in other posted areas (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988). All inlet streams to and all outlet streams from Steele Lake are closed to fishing for a designated period during April and May to protect spawning fish. As well, fishing within 25 m of the fishway is prohibited year-round (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). The lake water is attractively clear in the early summer, but algal blooms discourage swimmers by early August in most years.

Steele Lake is in an area of northern boreal forest that offers an excellent opportunity for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts to see species and habitats not seen in more southerly parts of the province. Forty-three plant communities have been identified within the provincial park, as have 212 species of vascular plants, 26 species of mosses, 25 species of lichens, 5 species of amphibians, 139 species of birds and 20 species of mammals (Peters and Nalte 1973; Luck 1981 [a]; 1981 [b]; Finlay and Finlay 1987).

Physical Information
Area (km2)6.61
Max. Depth (m)6.1
Mean Depth (m)3.2
Dr. Basin Area (km2)255
Dam, WeirWeir
Drainage BasinAthabasca River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundPresent
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishYellow Perch, Northern Pike

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusHyper-Eutrophic
TP x (µg/L)64
CHLORO x (µg/L)25.0
TDS x (mg/L)153

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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