Hague Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

White sand beaches, the scent of toasting sunblock-covered bodies, warm water for swimming, and virgin old growth Douglas fir trees all set against the backdrop of the Coastal Mountain Range’s glaciated peaks — it’s summer at Hague Lake. Surrounded by the wild beauty of British Columbia, Cortes Island’s natural freshwater lake is best known for its swimming and sunbathing beaches. In fact, the area’s aboriginal people, the First Nation Coast Salish, called Hague Lake “Kw’as Oyeta” or “hot water lake.” The lake’s flat bottom and shallow depth means it heats up quickly in the summer, making it perfect for swimming.

Motor boats are not allowed on Hague Lake. It is a quiet lake ideal for windsurfing or paddling by canoe or kayak. It is also popular with anglers both for boat and bank fishing; fly fishing is exceptional. About 10,000 years ago, an ancient strain of cutthroat trout was landlocked in Lake Hague, and today there are plenty of trout to challenge fishermen. There are two parks bordering the lake and miles of walking and hiking trails.

Kw’as Park, pronounced “koass” measures 173 acres and includes a trail that wraps around Hague and Gunflint Lakes. Originally called Little Hague Lake, Gunflint Lake is connected to Hague Lake by a narrow channel. A bridge built by volunteers crosses the channel and continues the trail. Part of the area that became Kw’as Park was logged in the early 1920’s. Over 20 percent, however, is virgin old growth forest, and the trails wind through ancient timber stands with spectacular views of both the forest and water.

Manson’s Landing Provincial Marine Park borders both the freshwater of Hague Lake and the saltwater of Manson Bay. The 247-acre park was named for Scottish immigrant Michael Manson. In the 1880’s Manson established a trading post on the site that would later become the park. The provincial park is home to wildlife and birds including bald eagles, great blue herons, and an array of shore birds. On the Manson Bay side of the park there are Harbour and Dall’s porpoises along with saltwater fishing. It is also a popular place to kayak. Neither Kw’as Park nor Manson’s Landing Provincial Marine Park has camping, but both have picnic facilities.

Hague Lake is about two hours from Seattle by plane, but the planes only fly in the summer. There is a ferry that runs from Vancouver Island to Quadra Island that is known for its clear water and exceptional scuba diving. From there it goes to Cortes Island and then it’s just a short drive to Hague Lake. Named by Spanish explorers in 1792 after Hernando Cortes, the conqueror of Mexico, Cortes Island is part of a chain of islands known as the Discovery Islands at the northern edge of the Georgia Strait. The Spanish, however, did not settle the island. The original inhabitants were the Coast Salish who lived on both the east and west coasts of Cortes Island. Smallpox decimated the native population, but there remains a settlement of Klahoose Salish that have lived on the island since the 1800’s. The Klahoose Salish live in Squirrel Cove, one of only three settlements on the island. The others are historic Whaletown, where the ferry docks, and Manson’s Landing. There are a library, natural foods shop and restaurants in Manson’s Landing.

Cortes Island has a year-round population of under a thousand residents — mostly artists, craftspeople and people seeking an alternative lifestyle — who know how to throw a party. In the summer the population doubles, and the islanders host Sandcastle Day, Cortes Day complete with a parade, and an Oyster Festival. The oysters along with other shellfish come from one of the island’s many lagoons. There is also salmon fishing on the island.

Accommodations include a motel and vacation rentals, including some lakefront options on the shores of Hague Lake. The local artisans exhibit in galleries and there are some studios open as well. For visitors in sync with the Cortes Island lifestyle and slower pace, there is real estate for sale. Regardless of the length of stay, slowing down, sipping a drink, and watching the light fade from the deck is the perfect way to end a day on Hague Lake.

Things to do at Hague Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park

Fish species found at Hague Lake

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Hague Lake Photo Gallery

Hague Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Maximum Depth: 35 feet

Lake Area-Population: 900

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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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