Amisk Lake NAM-44

Riparian Nation(s) Canada
Surface Area 5 km2 Mean Depth 15.5 m Volume 0.09 km3
Shoreline 24.6 km Catchment Area 244 km2 Residence Time 8 yr
Frozen Period Nov-Apr Mixing Type Partially m Morphogenesis/Dam
Related Info/Site


Amisk Lake is located within Athabasca County in central Alberta. It is 175 km northeast of the city of Edmonton and 15 km east of the village of Boyle. The lake is long and narrow with its main axis running north and south. It has two distinct basins: the larger south basin is very deep (60 m) and the north basin is moderately deep (33 m). The lake derived its name from the local abundance of beaver, "Amisk", in Cree.

Amisk Lake lies at the western edge of the Beaver River drainage basin. Skelton Lake drains into Amisk Lake from the west; Long Lake drains into Amisk Lake from the south. Water from Amisk Lake flows over a small control structure at the north end into the Amisk River.

In the early 1940's a mink farm and resort with boat and cabin rentals were established on the northwest shore of the lake. The mink were fed with fish from the lake. Over the years these developments were replaced by two subdivisions and a trailer park which was built at the north end of the lake.

The majority of the shoreline, however, remains undeveloped. Fishing, boating and swimming are popular on Amisk Lake. A public boat launch and a day-use area on the northwest side are operated by the Recreation Board of the County of Athabasca. The sport fishery includes yellow perch, northern pike and walleye. The water quality in Amisk Lake reflects the rich soils in the drainage basin. The lake is surrounded by aspen, willow and clumps of white spruce and lodgepole pine. Waterfowl and shorebirds are abundant, especially in the shallow marshy bays.

Amisk Lake is typical of many deep parkland/boreal lakes of Alberta: it experiences high summer algal biomass and phosphorus levels and very low hypolimnetic oxygen levels in mid to late summer and during the last half of ice-cover. In May 1988 researchers from the University of Alberta, the National Water Research Institute (Environment Canada) and Linde (Union Carbide Canada) designed and installed a system to inject pure oxygen into the deep waters of the north basin. The main objective of this unique long-term project is to increase dissolved oxygen levels in the hypolimnion of the north basin. It is anticipated that this will lead to improved water quality as a consequence of decreased phosphorus release from the lake's bottom sediments. The proportion of the basin providing year-round habitat and food resources for sport fish should also be increased (1-8).

Photo of Amisk Lake
Photo: D. Webb and E. E. Prepas