Lake Laberge, Yukon, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Yukon -

A famous poem by Robert Service forever immortalizes Lake Laberge and the wonders of the Yukon Territory.

“There are strange things done ‘neath the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.
The northern lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Laberge
I cremated Sam McGee.”

Nestled in the Yukon wilderness of Canada, Lake Laberge is 49,668 surface acres. On average it plunges down to 177 feet, and is at its deepest at 479 feet. Surrounded by the jutting points of mountain peaks, it has miles of beaches and numerous bays. It is one of those beautiful splendors of the earth commanding the stillness of the spirit and giving relief to the heart and mind.

Yukon is in a semi-arid region of Canada, located on the western border adjacent to Alaska. Usually sunny and dry, it is a pristine wilderness area, home to hundreds of animal and plant species and a small density of human populations. Lake Laberge was formed during the last Ice Age. It is 31 miles long and is a 3-mile widening of the Yukon River which flows in one end of the lake and out the next. Lake trout and whitefish are in the lake. And for thousands of years chinook salmon have been born in the Yukon River, migrated the long journey to the Bering Sea and returned to their place of birth to spawn the new generation of salmon that will repeat the cycle again. A hydroelectric dam was built by Northern Canada Power Commission at Whitehorse to the south in 1956 which greatly disrupted the cycle of the chinook salmon. In 1959, the company built the Whitehorse Fishway which has the longest wooden fish ladder in the world. An interpretation center at the Fishway has an underwater window that allows you to look at the salmon on their spawning journeys ‘home’. Displays in the building serve to inform visitors about salmon and the fish of the Yukon River. Anglers will love fishing at Lake Laberge, where the fish are biting, the mountains command awe and the lake stretches for miles like an endless sea.

Many adventures at Lake Laberge and the Yukon River are possible. Part of the Yukon River, the ‘Thirty Mile’, between the north end of Lake Laberge and the mouth of the Teslin River, is featured in National Geographic for its crystal clear beauty and spectacular riparian life. Take a magical canoeing trip down the river or fish its waters for Arctic Greyling. At the end of the river and beginning of another adventure, is an abandoned gold rush sternwheeler, the ‘Evelyn’, which surfaced on an island about 90 years ago. All at once a repository of history, romantic intrigue and artifact, it is one of the many sternwheelers that went down in the river.

Indeed there are treasures to be found beneath Lake Laberge’s icy waters. In 2009, the discovery of a gold rush steamer was made in Lake Laberge. The steamer, called A.J. Goddard, sank over 100 years ago and represents a relic of the gold rush that emblazoned the Yukon Territory in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The wreckage, perfectly preserved in the lake’s waters, was discovered by a team of archaeologists. Signs of life on the ship, like the stove left out on the deck, dishes and tools, or blacksmith’s forge, reflected the crew’s self-sufficiency and dogged frontier spirit in an era when thousands were rushing the gold.

The Midnight Sun during the summer months casts its ceaseless glow. Under this perpetual daylight, adventure in Yukon takes on a different meaning. Miles of enchanting history and breathtaking nature await your exploration. In Yukon’s thinly populated territory, find Whitehorse, just below Lake Laberge, a gateway to activities in Yukon. Hike the beautiful Wolf Creek Trail, picking cranberries in the fall. Visit a ranch and take a horse riding journey through the pristine countryside and foothills. Hit one of the biking trails on Grey Mountain, or marvel at Yukon from a plane miles above on your own personal flightseeing tour. On Main Street of Whitehorse, Art Underground beckons to your creative inclinations showing the work of both budding and professional Yukon artists. Take in some performing arts at the Yukon Arts Centre or the Guild Theatre. Catch memorabilia photos of the log skyscraper building, four stories high and made of logs, and peruse the Fireweed Market for stunning handmade Yukon crafts or fresh Yukon produce. Stop to visit the many historic sites that are in Whitehorse and along the Lake Laberge and Yukon River. Listen to Yukon’s many enchanting stories, of the “strange things done ‘neath the midnight sun” and the “secret tales” of the arctic trails.

In Yukon’s snowy winter, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing become the pace of activities, but one of the most amazing treats you will get is a splendid sight of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). The view from Lake Laberge of one of Earth’s most wondrous atmospheric activities is one of the best in northern Canada. The lights reportedly get so bright as to light up the lake.

While you trek, fish, canoe on your Yukon wilderness journeys you will chance upon all kinds of wildlife. Timber wolf, peregrine falcons, loons, golden eagles, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, caribou, and mule deer roam the Yukon wild around Lake Laberge. Charter one of the fishing, hiking, or kayaking guides available for an adventure led by someone with experience, or go it alone. Acquire one of the vacation rentals offered on or near Lake Laberge for a whole season of exploration. Or if you are smitten with Yukon like others have been, perhaps you will want to look into real estate or build a beautiful cabin on the lake.

People come to Lake Laberge for photography, fishing, history, hiking or relaxing. But mostly they come spurred by that calling for something that reminds them of life’s magic. Any time spent at Lake Laberge will not only incite poetry but wash your heart with wonder and place a permanent dazzle in your eyes.

Things to do at Lake Laberge

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish species found at Lake Laberge

  • Chinook Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Lake Laberge Photo Gallery

    Lake Laberge Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Northern Canada Power Commission

    Surface Area: 49,668 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,060 feet

    Average Depth: 177 feet

    Maximum Depth: 479 feet

    Water Volume: 8,755,702 acre-feet

    Drainage Area: 12,162 sq. miles

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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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