Site Navigation

    Foreword
    Preface
    Acknowledgements
    Characteristics of Lakes
    Lakes of the Atlas
    Appendix
    Species List
    Glossary
    Selected References

   Site Information

    Contact Information
    About this Project
    Help

   Quick Search

  

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
ALL


Digitizing and providing web access to this text was funded in part by the Alberta Conservation Association and the University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences

For up to date information on Alberta Lakes, please visit
Environment Alberta








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

Thunder 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:83J/2
Location:Tp59 R5, 6 W5
Lat/Long:54°09'N 114°45'W

Thunder Lake is an attractive recreational lake located in the County of Barrhead. It is situated approximately 22 km west of the town of Barrhead and 130 km northwest of the city of Edmonton. Thunder Lake Provincial Park, on the northeast side of the lake, can be reached by Highway 18 from Barrhead (Fig. 1).

The lake's name is a translation of an Indian word that described the loud thundering sound made by the lake's ice cracking in winter (Holmgren and Holmgren 1976). The first settlement in the area was at Fort Assiniboine, 23 km north of Thunder Lake. The North West Company established a trading post there in 1825, but had abandoned it by 1859. The area between Thunder Lake and Barrhead was settled between 1900 and 1910. In 1912, Barrhead was founded a short distance northeast of its present site. The town relocated in 1927 when the railroad arrived (Wynnyk et al. 1969). The railroad brought a new wave of settlers to the area surrounding Thunder Lake, but rugged topography and poor farmland discouraged much development near the lake (Alta. Rec. Parks n.d.). The first cottage development at the lake was started in 1958, and at present, Lightning Bay village and Thunder Lake community are situated on the southeast shore.

The lake was used for recreational purposes by local residents for many years, and in 1951, they petitioned the provincial government for a park. That same year, the Barrhead Kinsmen cleared a beach at the lake, and in 1958, the province established Thunder Lake Provincial Park (Alta. Rec. Parks n.d.). The park includes the three islands closest to the north shore of the lake. It is open year-round for day use, and from 1 May to Thanksgiving Day for camping. There are three camping loops with a total of 127 sites, a group camping area, a sewage disposal facility, tap water, playgrounds, a change house, a concession, picnic shelters, two swimming areas and beaches, two boat mooring areas, a boat launch and several walking trails. There are no boating restrictions over most of the lake, but in posted areas such as designated swimming areas, all boats are prohibited. In other posted areas, power boats are restricted to a maximum speed of 12 km/hour (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988).

Algae turn the water in Thunder Lake green during summer and aquatic vegetation grows around much of the shoreline. During winter, levels of dissolved oxygen frequently become critical for the fish population, and winterkills have occurred several times since the late 1960s. The lake has been stocked with northern pike and yellow perch, and these species provide a popular sport fishery. A partial winterkill occurred in March 1989. There are no sport fishing regulations specific to the lake, but provincial limits and regulations apply (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989).

Physical Information
Area (km2)7.03
Max. Depth (m)6.1
Mean Depth (m)3.0
Dr. Basin Area (km2)20.7
Dam, WeirWeir
Drainage BasinAthabasca River Basin

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

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusEutrophic
TP x (µg/L)46
CHLORO x (µg/L)16.6
TDS x (mg/L)243

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

  Home | About this Project | Contact Information | © 2004-2005 Department of Biological Sciences