Open Water Trips

Adventures in Open Water in Small Boats

Paddling Amisk Lake, Alberta NOT SPAM *LINK*

Well, well, well! I can hardly believe that summer is almost over (not official till autumn equinox ~Sept 21). As a Canadian, I experienced a long weekend last weekend. It was Labour Day. Sadly, my $%#@*&$ lymph nodes decided to become inflamed during Friday and by Saturday and Sunday all I wanted to do was sleep. Maybe this inflamation is tied in with the listeriosis outbreak here in Canada, maybe not, BUTTTT I am a semi-regular consumer of Safeway brand Lumberjack sandwiches whole french loaf submarines) and this sandwich was the first on the list of possibly contaminated foods. I decided that if I was still sick on Monday, then I'd go see a doctor. Well, I was still feeling tired but most definitely my health was on the upswing.

After spending so much time in bed, I was itching to get out of the house so I took a friends advice and headed out to Amisk Lake, Alberta, a two hour drive northeast of Edmonton. When I got there I was greeted by the sounds of loons communicating back and forth across the lake. I smiled when I heard them. That sound is a balm to my city-weary soul, which is constantly harrassed by the sounds of a city rushing to get to nowhere. All of my urban induced stresses melted upon hearing the loons. I was in the water within five minutes of arriving at the public launch site a short distance along Amisk Road, located about 10-kms east of Boyle, Alberta.

I won't write much of a trip report regarding what I saw and did as the images have enough writing to describe my experience there. I will say that the south end of the lake has relatively minimal development, this is the section of the lake that I paddled: I did not paddle the north end. Each cabin does have a powerboat parked in front of it. When I first saw that, I was mildly annoyed. I am a firm believer that small lakes should be powerboat free. The smaller the lake, the weaker its ability to recover from stresses like pollution from powerboats and careless people. I was thrilled to discover that the shorelines are filled with fallen trees and there exists enough dead-heads to keep the powerboats away. I was able to paddle along the shorelines undisturbed by anything and anyone. In total, I saw only 4 operating powerboats out of a possible 15. This lake is reputed to be deeper than 220-feet: I get this from a friend whose fish finder limit is 220-ft - it reads "0" when the water goes deeper.

Amisk Lake does not have any public campsites so transient powerboater use is very limited. :)

The air temperature was tepid to cool, the sun warm and the water warm in the exposed areas and cool in shaded areas. Water clarity was good. This is one lake I would recommend as a must see for anyone who paddles and doesn't mind sharing the water with powerboaters: it's one lake that I feel provides surface water for both. I spent a lot of time at the south end of the lake where there is a bird sanctuary. I photographed a belted king fisher, couple of osprey, a golden eagle, a loon, a few mallards and a few flowers not to mention (but I will) the lake itself. I suspect that the best time to be at this lake is late July when flowers are in full bloom and march birds are present. I did not see any marsh birds at all although I thought at one point that I did hear a red winged black bird. I consider this lake to be one of the most interesting and beautiful lakes I have paddled, not including the alpine lakes in the Rocky Mountains. Alberta has many lakes so full of beauty that any paddler with keen eye would be kept busy seeing all that there is to see. The further north you go, the better it gets.

I should also mention that apparently there are about finve lakes all linked together, Amisk Lake is one of them. They are linked by streams. I did start to paddle along one of these streams and found it to be calm, plenty wide and very slow moving and surrounded by very lush growth. I opted to turn back to the lake because the stream was luring me away from the lake. I will return to paddle the stream another day. In fact, I suspect that a paddler could easily enjoy a whole week of paddling if he/she/they were to paddle each lake and linking stream. I heard that this can be done during the early summer (June) while water levels are higher.

Robert N Pruden

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Paddling Amisk Lake, Alberta NOT SPAM *LINK*
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