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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » South Saskatchewan Region » Bow River Basin » Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake

    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Lake Basin Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:821/14, 82P/3
Location:Tp23, 24 R24, 25 W4
Lat/Long:51°00'N 113°19'W

Eagle Lake is set in gently rolling prairie near the town of Strathmore, approximately 40 km east of the city of Calgary. To reach the lake from Calgary, travel east on Highway 1 until you are 8 km east of Strathmore, then turn south onto the road that leads to the locality of Namaka. Drive 6 km, and you will reach a commercial recreation area on the east shore of the lake (Fig. 1, 2). The lake is located in the County of Wheatland.

The Blackfoot name for Eagle Lake, Pataomoxecing, means "many eagles" (Geog. Bd. Can. 1928). On nearby Eagle Hill, just southeast of the lake, Indians would lie in baited holes waiting for eagles to land; when an eagle approached the bait, the hunter would grab its legs and pull its tail feathers out to use for headdresses (Namaka Commun. Hist. Commit. 1983).

Settlement began when the Canadian Pacific Railroad came through the area in 1883. In the same year, Strathmore was founded on the west side of Eagle Lake; it was moved 6 km along the track to the present townsite in 1904. Before refrigerators were common, hundreds of tons of ice were cut from the lake each winter. Covered in sawdust and stored in buildings, the ice was available all summer. A heavy snow accumulation in the spring of 1948 caused serious flood damage to a secondary rail line cutting across the southern end of the lake. In the same year, the railway company built a control structure and dug a drainage ditch from Eagle Lake to Namaka Lake to lower the water level of Eagle Lake and prevent future flooding. This secondary rail line was abandoned in 1982, but the berm still crosses the lake except for a 4-m-wide channel (Fig. 2), which at one time was spanned by a bridge. The control structure on the outlet canal is now operated by the Western Irrigation District (WID). In 1958, a small-scale sand dredging operation commenced on the southeast shore. Sand was hard to find in quantity so the business was abandoned in 1970 (Namaka Commun. Hist. Commit. 1983).

There is no Crown land around the lake. The major land use is irrigation farming or grazing. A subdivision of 100 lots is situated on the northwest shore; by 1988, 20 lots had been developed (Clark 1988). There is a commercially operated campground on land owned by the County of Wheatland on the east shore of the lake (Fig. 2). The campground has 80 campsites, tap water, a beach and a boat launch (Alta. Hotel Assoc. 1988). There are no boating restrictions specific to the lake (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988), but sudden strong winds can make boating treacherous.

Eagle Lake is very nutrient rich and has dense blooms of blue-green algae all summer. Submergent aquatic plants form a ring around the lake, extending about 100 m from shore. The lake supports a moderate sport fishery. Walleye were stocked from 1966 to 1972 and from 1978 to 1980 and are now the major species in the sport fishery; pike are also caught (Sosiak 1988). Provincial regulations regarding the size and number of fish caught apply, but there are no additional regulations specific to Eagle Lake (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989).

Physical Information
Area (km2)11.8
Max. Depth (m)4.9
Mean Depth (m)2.6
Dr. Basin Area (km2)120
Dam, WeirWeir
Drainage BasinBow River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundPresent
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishWalleye, Yellow Perch, Northern Pike

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusHyper-eutrohpic
TP x (µg/L)334
CHLORO x (µg/L)39.5
TDS x (mg/L)1299

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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