Gull Lake, Alberta, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Alberta -

Surrounded by Alberta’s wide-open spaces and endless Canadian skies, Gull Lake is located in Alberta’s Central tourism region. Well situated between Edmonton and Calgary in south-central Alberta, Gull Lake attracts a growing number of seasonal residents. Gull Lake’s 19,917-acre surface area lies across portions of rural Lacombe and Ponoka Counties in Canada’s Mountains West tourism region.

Records indicate that as early as 1850, an Oblate missionary, Father Albert Lacombe, came to the Gull Lake area to help resolve tensions between native Blackfeet and Cree people. Several decades later, in 1883, the first settler came to live in what would become the neighboring community of Lacombe. In 1908 the Blindman River Electric Power Company tapped into the water power of Gull Lake by building a dam at the lake’s outlet. After the dam was destroyed in 1910, lake water levels began to fall. The Summer Village of Gull Lake rebuilt the dam in 1921, hoping to slow receding lake levels. In 1977 a pipeline and canal were built to divert water from the Blindman River into Gull Lake. Since that time, water levels have been stabilized well below the dam. With a maximum depth of 26 feet and average depth of 18 feet, Gull Lake is now considered a terminal basin. Alberta’s Ministry of Environment controls the pumps that bring water from Blindman River.

Gull Lake water levels and water quality are monitored regularly. The Gull Lake Management Plan continues to evolve through active participation of Gull Lake property owners and county governments. The lake’s fragile ecosystem is constantly being challenged by development along the 36-mile shoreline. The Summer Village of Gull Lake sits at the southeastern end of the lake and has a population exceeding 200. The northwestern shoreline holds the Summer Village of Parkland Beach and a population of approximately 150. These numbers will certainly grow as new development is underway with a potential capacity of 1,530 residential lots and 9,180 recreational units.

Numerous private campgrounds and resorts are found along the 36-mile shoreline of Gull Lake. Public access is limited to provincial-owned land. One of Alberta’s first provincial parks, Aspen Beach Provincial Park, is located at the southwestern end of Gull Lake. Included in the park’s 531 acres are two campgrounds, Lakeview and Brewers. Together, these grounds provide 559 campsites (many pull-through), water, sewer and some power. A sandy beach, picnic area, showers and washrooms add to the convenience of this scenic park. A boat launch is found at each campground with Brewer’s being suitable for small boats only. Activities include swimming, water-skiing, windsurfing, boating, and hiking the wooded trails. Visitors may also access Gull Lake through provincial land along Birch Bay on the western shore. Power-boaters should be watchful for marked areas where boating is not permitted or speed limits apply.

Summer or winter, sport fishing is a popular attraction on Gull Lake. Among the species found in the lake are northern pike, walleye, lake whitefish, white suckers, burbot, spot-tail shiners and brook stickleback. Gull Lake is also an excellent site for bird watching. While fishing the marshy waters at the lake’s north end, keep an eye out for ring-billed gulls, black terns, common goldeneye, American widgeons, mallards, blue-winged teal, white-winged scoters, ommon mergansers, common loons and red-winged blackbirds.

The surrounding communities of Rimbey, Bentley and Red Deer provide shopping for campers or lakeside residents. Additional shops, restaurants and services can be found in historic Lacombe, less than ten miles east of Gull Lake. Approximately 75 miles north of Gull Lake is Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. With a metro population approaching 1 million people, Edmonton is a growing, modern city. In addition to cultural and sporting attractions, West Edmonton Mall, North America’s largest shopping and entertainment center provides hours of family fun. The mall boasts “800 shops and services, over 100 eating establishments, and nine world-class parks and attractions.”

Drive 120 miles south of Gull Lake and experience the “new west” in Calgary. This city of over a million people rises out of Alberta’s prairies with views of the Canadian Rockies to the west. Known for its year-round celebrations and sporting events, Calgary hosts the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day rodeo event promoted as the “greatest outdoor show on earth.”

Winter is a part of life in Alberta. Activities change easily with the seasons, offering more opportunities to visit and enjoy Gull Lake. Ice-fishing and cross-country skiing are part of lake life as winter sets in. Snowmobiling is restricted to the lake only, sharing the surface with motorcycle ice racing.

Gull Lake’s western horizon includes the grandeur of the snowcapped Canadian Rockies, home to Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho parks. In direct contrast to these majestic peaks, the expanse of Gull Lake’s vast surface and gently rolling shoreline overwhelm you. Feel the enormity of endless blue skies, clean and fresh air, and miles of waving wheat fields. This is the heartland of Alberta. Here, vacation rentals and real estate properties offer a relaxed pace for city dwellers and permanent residents. Escape in a canoe or kayak on a warm summer day, escape to evening cook-outs with family and friends, escape to scenic sunsets and the call of the loons. Escape to Gull Lake.

Things to do at Gull Lake AB

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Gull Lake AB

  • Burbot
  • Carp
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Stickleback
  • Sucker
  • Walleye
  • Whitefish

Gull Lake AB Photo Gallery

Gull Lake AB Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Province of Alberta. Ministry of Environment.

Surface Area: 19,917 acres

Shoreline Length: 36 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,950 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 2,958 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 26 feet

Water Volume: 354,221,666 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1921

Drainage Area: 80 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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