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

Figure Eight 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:84C/5
Location:Tp84 R25 W5
Lat/Long:56°18'N 117°54'W

Figure Eight Lake is a tiny, naturally productive lake in northwestern Alberta. It is located in a treed setting, 45 km northwest of the town of Peace River and 7 km northwest of Lac Cardinal. For over three decades, Figure Eight Lake has received considerable attention from local groups and the provincial government because it is one of the few lakes in the Peace River region that serves as both a sport fishery for trout and a recreational area. To reach Figure Eight Lake, take Highway 2 west from Peace River for 20 km to the junction with Highway 35. Follow the latter north for 9 km and then turn west onto Secondary Road 737 and continue for 16 km. The lake is just northwest of the secondary road (Fig. 1); the turnoff is well marked with a large, carved wooden sign. Alternatively, the lake can be reached by continuing on Highway 2, past Highway 35, to the hamlet of Brownvale. At Brownvale, turn north on Secondary Road 737 and continue to the turnoff for Figure Eight Lake.

Figure Eight Lake is situated between the forested area of the Whitemud Hills to the north and the agricultural lands of the lower Peace River basin to the south and east (Makowecki and Bishop 1978). Although a few settlers had arrived to farm the region before the turn of the century, homesteading began in earnest about 1908 (MacGregor 1972). The number of farms in the area increased rapidly until 1931 (Scheelar and Odynsky 1968).

Figure Eight Lake is a regulated lake that drains south, then southeast to Lac Cardinal. The Peace River area has a shortage of recreational lakes. Consequently, an earthen weir was built on the outflow to raise the lake level for recreational purposes. In 1970, the old weir was replaced with a fixed-crest earthfill dam (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. n.d.). These projects were supported by a number of local and provincial groups, including the Brownvale Community Club, Figure Eight Lake Recreation Club, Alberta Environment, Ducks Unlimited (Canada) and Fish and Wildlife Division, including Buck for Wildlife. In 1975, the first boat launch and pier were constructed at the southwest corner of the lake and fences were erected to protect the shoreline from cattle grazing. In 1981, a site development program was drawn up for the lake (Butler Krebes Assoc. Ltd. 1981). From 1986 through 1988, Alberta Environment and the Lac Cardinal and Figure Eight Lake Recreational Associations coordinated a project to install 42 overnight campsites, a large playground, a concrete boat launch with a dock, a day-use area, a sand beach and two ball diamonds on the southwest corner of the lake (Becker 1988). The group also has plans for ski and nature trails around the lake. The control structure and recreational facilities at the lake are now operated and maintained by Alberta Environment. There are no other developments on the lakeshore.

Figure Eight Lake takes its name from the shape it had before 1970 when the water level was low; in these earlier days the lake had two basins and resembled a figure eight.

Figure Eight Lake has algal blooms in summer, to the extent that it has a tendency to winterkill and occasionally summerkill. Since 1980, Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Environment, and recently the University of Alberta, have supported a program to reduce excessive algal blooms and the risk of fish die-offs in the lake. This program has entailed the use of copper sulphate (or "bluestone") from 1980 through 1984, lime (both calcium carbonate and calcium hydroxide) in 1986 and 1987, and the installation of an aerator in 1986. These programs have enhanced the sport fishery (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. n.d.).

The lake is stocked annually with rainbow trout. It is a popular location for family and group recreational fishing and camping, particularly on warm summer weekends. Fishing for bait fish and use of bait fish are not permitted in Figure Eight Lake (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989); only electric motors are permitted on the lake (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988).

Physical Information
Area (km2)0.368
Max. Depth (m)6
Mean Depth (m)3.0
Dr. Basin Area (km2)4.47
Dam, WeirDam
Drainage BasinPeace River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundPresent
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishRainbow Trout

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusHyper-Eutrophic
TP x (µg/L)182
CHLORO x (µg/L)99.1
TDS x (mg/L)No Data

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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