Cold Lake (Alberta)

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Cold Lake
Cold Lake, Canada.jpg
Aerial photograph
Location Bonnyville No. 87, Alberta / Beaver River No. 622, Saskatchewan
Coordinates 54°33′N 110°03′W / 54.550°N 110.050°W / 54.550; -110.050Coordinates: 54°33′N 110°03′W / 54.550°N 110.050°W / 54.550; -110.050
Type Mesotrophic
Primary inflows Martineau River, Medley River
Primary outflows Cold River (Saskatchewan)
Catchment area 6,140 km2 (2,371 sq mi)[1]
Basin countries Canada
Surface area 373 km2 (144 sq mi)[1]
Average depth 49.9 m (163.7 ft)[1]
Max. depth 99.1 m (325.1 ft)[1]
Surface elevation 535 m (1,755 ft)[1]
Islands Murray Island
Settlements City of Cold Lake
Cold Lake in western Canada

Cold Lake is a large lake in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. The lake straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, and has a water area of 373 km2 (144 sq mi). It is also one of the deepest lakes in Alberta with a maximum depth of 99.1 m (325 ft). It has around 24 known species of fish in it and is a major ice fishing lake. It is also major stop for many migrating birds, and is home to one of the largest warbler populations in Alberta.[1] A surface of 248 km2 (96 sq mi) lies in the province of Alberta.

The city of Cold Lake is located on the shore. Excepting the western shore, the lake is surrounded by protected areas such as the Cold Lake Provincial Park in Alberta and the Meadow Lake Provincial Park in Saskatchewan. The Cold Lake 149 A and B indian reserve of the Cold Lake First Nations are established on the western and southern shores respectively. Cold Lake House was a trading post built by the Montreal traders in 1781 near the present Beaver Crossing, Alberta south of Cold Lake.

The Martineau River flows from Primrose Lake into Cold Lake, which in turn discharges through the Cold River (Saskatchewan) in Waterhen River (Saskatchewan), a major tributary of Beaver River.

Fish species[edit]

Cold Lake viewed from Meadow Lake Provincial Park, Saskatchewan.

Fish species include walleye, sauger, yellow perch, northern pike, lake trout, lake whitefish, cisco, burbot, white sucker and longnose sucker. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan angling licenses are valid on the entire lake.

Legend of the Kinosoo[edit]

A young brave regularly paddled around the perimeter of Cold Lake (“Luwe Chok Tuwe” in Dene) to visit a beautiful young girl who he hoped would one day be his wife. It is safer to travel around the perimeter of Cold Lake because the wind can rapidly whip up large waves which can swamp a small birch bark canoe. This particular evening was calm and the lake was like glass so the brave decided to take a short cut across the water. As he got farther out, the water around him began to swirl. There was a thundering splash as the Kinosoo ("big fish" in Dene) roared up and bit the canoe in half. The brave desperately tried to beat off the Kinosoo with his paddle but soon disappeared below the waves. The young girl on the other side of Bay witnessed the struggle and waited in vain for her beloved to appear. The next morning a broken paddle and bits of canoe drifted ashore and the brave was never seen again.So from this day forward the Dene have avoided crossing large expanses of open water in their canoes.

This is a cautionary story told to children and youths to avoid the dangers of the deeper waters.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Atlas of Alberta Lakes. "Cold Lake". Retrieved 2008-01-03.