Fly Fishing Edmonton

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Edmonton's Local Trout Lakes





*NOTE:  Due to the illegal stocking of perch and pike, Hasse Lake was taken off the list of stocked trout lakes in Alberta.  After suffering a sever winterkill in 2010 ESRD has decided to stock the lake with there own perch and pike instead of reverting back to a trout fishery.

 


Hasse Lake is a provincial park stocked each spring with rainbow trout. There is a $3.00 charge to drive into the park or you can park at the gate and walk in for free.  It features a beach, a large sturdy fishing dock, a boat launch and a kid’s play park. Hasse opens at 5am in the morning and closes at 11pm.  It is well equipped with lots of picnic sites including fire pits but overnight camping is not allowed.  Hasse Lake is also known for producing some decent size perch and there are reports of some good size trout being caught as well.  Hasse at one time was the most popular pothole lake in the Edmonton area.


Hasse has a good mixture of shallow and deep water but because of the low water level, launching a boat from the launch is next to impossible.  If you're using a float tube, try using the beach. Lots of weed growth here making for good insect activity but three spine stickle back minnows were illegally introduced here years ago. Most trout over 13 inches will taste muddy from this lake.  There was word of a complete winterkill at Hasse for the 2011 season but Pike & Perch do remain in the lake. In July 2011, Alberta Health Services advised the public to stay away from Hasse due to water tests that showed higher than usual levels of fecal coliforms, which are intestinal bacteria particles.  This advisory was lifted before autum.

 

Directions: Follow the Whitemud Freeway west, the road ends at Hasse or follow Hwy 16A west about 5km past the town of Stony Plain then head south at the sign and follow sign directions.  If you get as far as the Mohawk (located on the east side of 16A) then you've gone just a little too far.

 


 

 


Star Lake is my favorite Edmonton fishery. Star is consistently producing some large trout but don't expect high catch rates here as the trout are very fickle and feeding can turn on and off like a light switch with the switch being turned off more than on. Star lake reminds me of Hasse Lake about 18-20 years ago. The lake is stalked every spring with Rainbow trout and there is easy access for float tubes and boats (electric motors only) as the parking lot is located right on the lake. A great lake for those looking for more of a challenge with some really good chironomid hatches through out the summer. There is believed to have been a partial winterkill for the 2011 season making catch rates of any decent size trout drop substantially. Stocking took place in May of 2011 with 6400, 2N, 21cm rainbow trout and 1600, 2N, 22cm rainbow trout. 2012 saw 8000, 2N, 20cm rainbow trout.


Directions:  From Edmonton take Hwy 16 west to Hwy 770 then 7km south and 3km west on Township Rd 524 (the road ends at Star, look for the sign). Star Lake is just west of Mink Lake.


 

 

 

aka: Cottage Lake

 /

 

aka: Edmonton Beach

 

Spring Lake was one of my favorite Edmonton pothole lakes offering some good size trout.  Unfortunately, over the last few years Spring Lake had a perch problem and the fishing had been less then adequate.  I only fished this lake three times in 2004 and the last time I fished it in September of '04, I caught well over 15 perch and no Trout.  In the winter of 2006/2007, the aerators were removed in hopes of a winterkill to reduce the perch population.  Reports came in over the winter from ice fishermen of dead perch and trout seen lying at the bottom of the lake.  Hopefully after the 2007 trout stocking, we'll start seeing some growth back in the trout and less perch in the lake.

Boats are allowed here, pretty much any size within reason and gas or electric motors are fine with a 12km/h restriction. There is a private boat launch at Spring Lake Resort & RV Park, the cost is $4.00.  Canoes, rowboats and paddle boats were available to rent but it seems that they have stopped this practice. They do have a wonderful, large, sandy beach for the kids and campsites with or without hook-ups including public washrooms with showers. Tents are no longer welcome as of 2004 due to continuing problems with young rowdy campers but tent trailers, trailers and campers are fine and they also have an R.V. park. Spring Lake is home to the Edmonton Trout Club and had an aeration system on it during the winter months. This aeration system had stopped winterkill and the size of trout was reaching the 8+ pound mark (I've heard fish tales of 10+ pounds). The 07/08 winter has seen the aerators returned and reports are coming in of decent growth in the '07 stockers.  Perch do remain in the lake but in much fewer numbers. As of 2012, reports of larger trout being caught are coming in and stocking took place in May with 10,000, 2N, 20cm rainbow trout.




 

What I find negative about Spring Lake is the large percentage of shallow bottom there is.  Although this makes for excellent bug activity and big fish, a lot of

the lake is un-fish-able at times because of massive weed growth. I've also heard that there is some type of bacteria in the lake that makes the fish taste muddy, keeping any trout under 13 inches should taste ok though. (I practice C & R so that last complaint doesn't really bother me). I also think that this lake should be electric motors only but because of how resorty it is I doubt that will happen in the near future. *NOTE:  As of 2007, Spring Lake had a winter kill but perch remain in the lake.  Hopefully in a lot lower numbers.

Directions: From Edmonton follow Stony Plain Road (hwy 16A) west, turn left 6kms after the Town of Stony Plain right before the Mohawk and follow the signs to Spring Lake Resort and RV site (Edmonton Beach). The last time I fished here there was a $4.00 parking fee or you could park at the gate and walk in for free.  I have heard through the grapevine however, that access here is now limited to reserved campers only.






East Pit Lake used to be a coal mine and is now a pretty decent fishery. It's stocked with Rainbow trout every spring and does not allow any motorized boats. You can get a canoe in there but it's quite a hike up-hill and then down-hill to the lake, a float tube is the way to go but bring your shoulder straps. There was talk a few years back of guy's pulling in 7-9 pounders but heavy pressure has brought down the size of trout in here.  This lake is very popular with bait fishermen as you can fish from pretty much anywhere on the lake. It is a good lake for beginners to practice their fly casting. 11,600 2N, 20cm rainbows were stocked into the lake as of May 2012.

Directions: From Edmonton head west on highway 16 and take the turn off to the town of Wabamun. Once on top of the overpass, at the intersection turn north (right) and look for the gate on your left hand side.

 
 


This lake is one of the best places to practice your fly casting from shore.  There's lots of open space and the lake is perfect for somebody new to fly-fishing that doesn't yet have a boat.  I sometimes visit this lake for a quick fix when I don't have time to fill the tube/'toon or load the boat.  I've done well here from shore with my best being a 3 pounder on a #14 Adams. The lake is stocked every spring with Rainbow trout and perch are abundant as well. As of May 2012, 15,000 2N, 14cm rainbows were stocked.

The lake can be very weedy, especially from July through September.  This can make it hard to fish nymphs or hardware. There is no charge for parking but it's a little ways to carry a boat. They do have a boat rental but I've never seen it open. There are also several small parks for the kids to play in.

Directions:  From Edmonton, travel north on highway 2 out of St. Albert, just before Morinville turn right at the Cardiff sign then you have the option of going straight or turning right again after the town of Cardiff. Turn into the park gates (just follow the signs to the golf course, the lake is opposite the course). The park sign reads open at 8:00am but because of the golf course it usually opens at 6am. The park closes 1/2 an hour after dusk.





I've fished this pond a few times now.  It gets stocked with Rainbow trout every spring and perch are present as well. This is usually the first lake I fish in the spring as it's usually the first open water in the Edmonton area.  I haven't caught any lunkers out of here yet but have hooked into some decent scrappers that may have went up to 20 inches.  I've heard reports from other anglers of trout caught up to 23 inches in length. The lake was last stocked in 2012 with 3,000 3N, 22cm rainbows in May and 3,000 3N, 21cm rainbows in June.
 
To get here take highway 2 north to Morinville and it's just west of the overpass.

 
 


Chickakoo used to be my favorite Edmonton pothole lake.  Every spring it gets stocked with brook trout and as of May, 2003, rainbows were stocked as well. I used to catch 2-5 pounders out of this lake on a regular basis but it now winterkills frequently. It's a great lake for tubes, canoes and fly casting because it's surrounded by trees which keeps the wind down.

This lake is a day area only with no camping and no gas motors allowed on the lake. There are actually two stocked lakes here with Chickakoo being the largest. (Sauer to the south is stocked with Rainbows).  In the summer the family can enjoy marked trails for hiking around several of the lakes near to chickakoo and in the winter these same trails are used for cross country skiing.  The trails all start and end in the Chickakoo parking lot.

To get to Chickakoo, travel 10kms north of Stony Plain Corner on secondary hwy 779, then 5km north and west (signs are well marked).
 
*NOTE:  Chickakoo rarely over winters and the trout usually die off by February of each year.  Stocking of 8,000, 20cm, 2N rainbows and 4,000, 18cm, 3N brook trout took place in May 2012 .

 
 
 


I fished Peanut lake tons when I was younger. It reminds me a lot of Hasse. It's stocked with Rainbows every spring but is subject to winterkill (not as often as Chickakoo though). Flat fish (yes hardware) actually work really well here when trolling, don't be afraid to throw one on your fly line and troll it with split shot about 3-5 feet under the surface. Doc Spratley's also work wonders here.   There are perch in this lake as well.

Directions: From Edmonton, take highway 16 west then north on the Mackenzie hwy to hwy33.  Head north on 33 towards Barhead, then take hwy 654 east to Belvedere and north to the lake.

Note:  Reports for 2010 are not good regarding over wintering of trout.  It appears there has been a winterkill.  The lake was stocked in the spring of 2012 with 15,000, 17cm, 2N rainbow trout.
 
 
 



Dolberg is s great lake with some decent size trout between 15 - 23 inches.  It has a boat launch with a quick drop off, great for float tubers. Campsites are available at a cost of $7.00 per night.  The best time to try Dolberg is in Sept and early Oct. Get in your float tube, tie on a leach pattern and let the catching commence.
To get to Dolberg travel 17.5kms west of Barrhead on Highway 18, then 3kms north and 24.5kms west.  Big Thanks to Garnet for the pic.

*NOTE: Dolberg was stocked with 18,000 17cm triploid rainbow trout in May of '08. As of May 2012, ESRD has reverted back to stocking 2N rainbows with 18,400, 17cm trout.


 
 
 


Millers Lake offers up good size trout of both rainbows and browns.  Unlike the rainbow trout, brown trout are not stocked every year. Millers is a day use only with no camping or picnic tables but does have outhouses and a decent boat launch.  This lake is aerated in the winter months to stop winterkill.  Millers Lake has some good structure with shallow weedy areas to the north and long growing weeds on a shoal in the south that drops off to about about 30ft. Cudo's to the fisheries biologist here who has decided to periodically stock triploid brown trout into this fishery. In May 2012, 12,000, 3N, 17cm rainbows were stocked and in June, 1,100, 3N, 15cm browns were stocked.

To get to Millers Lake, head west on highway 16 and look for sign about 22km's past the town of Edson.  Turn right on RR194, then take your second left and follow that road to the lake.
 
 
 
 


Muir Lake is a work in progress.  This lake was stocked back in the 60's & 70's but because of yearly winterkill, the stocking program was stopped. 

 

The lake is now stocked every spring with rainbow trout which started in May of 2003 thanks to the efforts of the Edmonton Trout Club, the Northern Lights Fly Tiers, the Edmonton Old Timers Fishing Club and Trout Unlimited Edmonton.

 

This project includes an enhanced fishery and with the help of two aerators, anglers will have a chance at larger then average trout.  Also found at Muir Lake is the education center to teach anglers how trout fisheries rely on various organisms that live in and around the water.  Other enhancements to look forward to are; the Walk Of Fame, honoring those who have enriched angling in Alberta and eventually a fly-casting platform. 

 

Muir has in affect special regulations for anglers, which include:

  • Anglers may keep only one fish over 50 cm per day (Any fish under 50cm must be released)
  • Artificial lures only (No Bait)
  • No fishing from November 1 to April 30 (Open May 01 - Oct 31)
  • A plan to have no gas motors (electric only)

Initially, the growth rates at Muir were lower then expected, we assume because of the lack of harvesting.  The stocking in 2006 and 2007 was much lower leaving more bio-mass for the trout to grow.  In 2007 we started seeing larger trout with some getting over the size limit mark of 50cm's.

The only negative feed back other then slow growth from the trout is the amount of weed growth.  By the time August comes around, it's hard to get to the east side of the lake in a float tube due to the high growth in weeds.  We talked about cutting the weeds back but no action had been agreed upon.

Directions: From Edmonton travel west on the Yellowhead (hwy 16) and turn north on Campsite Road then head west on 540.  Turn south (left) just before the road bends north.  From Stony Plain, head north on secondary highway 779 then east on 540.  At the T-intersection, turn south (right) and take your first right (south) into the parking lot.

NOTE: Muir Lake was stocked with 5,000 17cm triploid rainbow trout in May of '08.  As of the fall of 2009, water levels at Muir were exceptionally low and although we saw plenty of rain for 2010, reports came in of a partial summer kill.  Sept/Oct of 2010 saw Muir fishing well but few trout over 22 inches had been reported. The 2012 season saw a lot of larger trout from 20-26" as well as high catch rates of trout in the 12-14" range.  Few reports however have come in of trout being caught in the 15-18" range.  Water levels have come back up for 2012 and the weeds did not flourish as we've seen in past years. Muir was stocked with 5,700, 24cm, triploid rainbows in May of 2012.

 

The Muir Lake Project

Currently,communities far from natural trout waters visit local trout lakes for convenient fishing excursions. This and to ease pressure off of our native fisheries is the reason behind stocking lakes that were once void of any game fish. The idea of stocking thousands of small trout each spring into these local lakes, also known as pothole lakes, is great for the "catch and keep" angler with it's five trout per day possession limit. These regulations help in conservation strategies by deterring a lot of anglers from fishing our native fisheries that have restricted possession limits. These Stillwater¿s can however discourage anglers wishing to fish for larger trout. With the amount of fishing pressure these lakes receive, it's hard to find trout that will actually grow to a trophy size before they are harvested by anglers. It's also hard to keep the smaller trout off your lure when their numbers are so abundant.

In 2002, the Edmonton Trout Club, the Northern Lights Fly Tyers & Fishers, the Edmonton chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Edmonton Old Timers Fishing Club put togetherthe Muir Lake Project. Each of these clubs have two representatives that form the directors board for FESA (Fish Enhancement Society of Alberta). The project goals of FESA were to re-establish a trout fishery with exceptional angling opportunities, create a walk of fame honoring those who have enriched angling in Alberta and build an education center that connects anglers, trout, and simple life forms. They hope this project helps people understand the relationship between fish and their environment and how we need activists to ensure we can improve the quality of our fishing habitat in the future.





The concept of a trophy trout lake has been the topic of discussion amongst Alberta anglers for quite sometime, especially in areas that are distant to natural trout habitat. Beaver Lake south of Rocky Mountain House was the first to experiment with catch restrictions and lake aeration producing some very large Rainbow trout. Beaver Lake was used as a model for the Muir Lake Project and Stephen Spencer (Stony Plain area fisheries biologist) suggested a more restrictive limit than Beaver due to Muir's proximity to Edmonton. Some of these restrictions include:

  • Anglers may keep only one fish over 50 cm per day
  • Artificial lures only (no bait)
  • No fishing from November 1 to April 30 (open May 01 ¿ Oct 31)
  • A plan to have no gas motors (electric only) 
The stocking of 14,300, 11centimeter Rainbow Trout took place in May of 2003 and 5,700, 20 centimeter Rainbow Trout in May of 2004.  The committee hoped that, thanks to the founder's effect, the fish that survived the first winter of 2004 would reach 30-40cm by May of 2004 and then possibly a few may break the 50 cm mark by the following September.  By October of 2004, 45cm trout were frequently reported.  The rationale behind the regulations on Muir Lake was to create an enhanced fishery with a delayed harvest. The vision was to have high catch rates and the opportunity to keep a trophy. The 50-cm size limit may need to be revisited depending on growth rates, angling pressure, etc. There is considerable angling pressure being so close to Edmonton but more observation is needed before any decisions are made to revisit Muir¿s regulations.

The first major hurdle the committee faced was finding a suitable lake. Biologist Stephen Spencer required a lake that was a closed system, did not have any existing native sports fish and would not interfere with an exis
ting trout fishery. The committee needed a lake that was relatively close to Edmonton, had public access, and would provide suitable habitat to grow trout. Searches led them to Muir Lake, which had a trout fishery in the 1960's and 70's but was very susceptible to winterkill. The lake was test netted during the summer of 2002 and there were no game fish found in the lake. Thanks to the well-known technology of aeration, Muir Lake became an ideal candidate for the project and gave them the opportunity to restore its trout fishery. Muir Lake has a surface area of 32 hectares (78 acres) and depths that range to 6m (20 ft). Most of the lake is less than 3.5m, (12 ft) deep, which is excellent for growing trout but makes the lake prone to winterkills. The narrowest part of the lake is quite shallow and proper aeration requires two aerator units. One will is located east of the island and the second is located on the northeast end of the lake not far from the lake entrance.

The other important elements of this project are the Walk Of Fame and Education Center. The Walk Of Fame honors those who have enriched angling in Alberta. Our province has a rich history of people and groups that have gone to great lengths to restore damaged fishing environments or to protect existing ones. Every angler in Alberta owes a debt of gratitude for this work. The project plans to repay this debt by recognizing these contributions and helping to ensure that the legacy continues. The Education Center helps anglers with understanding how trout fisheries rely on imitating the various organisms that live in and around the water. The project plans also included building an interpretive area where people, young and old, can learn about the life cycles of these organisms and angling strategies used when imitating them.  A spawning channel is currently being looked at for two purposes.  First, as a tool for education and second, to help relieve stress on trout by letting them release their eggs rather than absorbing them back into their systems.  A casting platform is also in the works for Muir Lake and should be completed by the summer of 2008.

Muir Lake is located between highways 778 and 779 on #540.  The Muir Lake Project is a privately funded project using raised or donated money. If you would like to get involved with this project please feel free to contact myself via e-mail at [email protected] or Tim Doskoch at [email protected].

So What Exactly Is A Pothole Lake?

Potholes lakes are smaller water bodies  usually less than 40 acres in size although pothole lakes stocked with trout typically have a surface area larger than 40 acres.  When observed from an aircraft these water holding depressions look similar to potholes in a road.  Pothole lakes are leftovers that formed over 10,000 years ago by the great continental glaciers that occurred in 300,000 square miles of prairies in the Northern United States and West-Central Canada. Water is supplied to the potholes by seepage inflow of ground water, precipitation on the water surface and basin runoff.  Depletion of pothole water results from seepage outflow, overflow and evaporation. 


Throughout the prairie provinces and in the U.S., some pothole lakes, if deep enough and previously void of any game fish, are stocked as put and take fisheries to give anglers that don't live close to natural self-sustaining fisheries convenient fishing excursions.  The trout stocked in these pothole lakes -usually rainbow trout- cannot reproduce without moving water and because of this; these lakes may be stocked frequently according to the amount of pressure they receive.  On the flip side, these lakes may be deemed a quality fishery and have a delayed stocking schedule according to the type of management the lake is under.  For example, most pothole lakes are managed as put and take fisheries usually with high keep limits (in Alberta, an angler may keep five trout per day).  Most of these lakes are stocked once a year with some being stocked twice a year if angler pressure is exceptionally high.  Then we have some pothole lakes managed as delayed harvest lakes or even trophy fisheries where you may see stocking happen every year, two years or even three years. These delayed harvest fisheries could have regulations where an angler may only keep one trout over 50cm (20 inches) per day or may have no harvesting at all.  Both delayed and no harvest regulations give the trout an opportunity to grow to a good fighting size and in turn enhance the experience of the angler.