Lochaber Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Nova Scotia -

Nova Scotia’s Lochaber Lake is nestled near the center of the main island near the Northumberland Shore region. Lochaber Lake shows its Scottish heritage proudly in its name. The name is taken from the Loch Abar region of the Scottish Highlands, the origin of most of the early European settlers. Long and narrow, Lochaber Lake is what is known as a ‘ribbon lake’, created by the scouring actions of glaciers long past.

Lochaber Lake is less than half a mile wide and several miles long. The lake is deep, reaching 172 feet near the center and currently hosts many rowing regattas each summer. The largest community of Lochaber has recently completed a new community center that will serve as the headquarters to the StFX and Antigonish Rowing Clubs. A boathouse to shelter the clubs will soon be built, and their first international championship rowing competition has already been held on Lochaber Lake. Lessons are offered for beginning rowers. Many seasonal and year-round cottages grace the southwestern shore, with many of the property owners commuting from the City of Antigonish a few miles to the north. Cottagers enjoy boating, water sports and fishing, with plenty of room for every sport. Much of the shoreline is undeveloped and heavily wooded.

In the past, brook trout had been stocked in Lochaber lake. Little is found online about the current fishery, although there is some mention of trout fishing. With eight incoming streams, spawning territory for trout of all types remains good. Reports describe lake trout, rainbow smelt and other cold-water species in Lochaber Lake. Ice fishing is popular in wintertime. It doesn’t appear that either Antigonish County or the Province of Nova Scotia provides any public boat launching facilities, although some may exist. Cottage owners enjoy kayaking, canoeing, power boating and swimming on the 759-acre lake.

Despite a growing density of housing, Lochaber Lake’s water quality remains good. A community organization, the Friends of Lochaber Lake, works with residents and visitors to monitor water quality and educate property owners about environmentally healthy lakeshore plantings and construction. The group works to encourage a sense of community so that all will feel they have an investment in the health of their lake. Farming has evolved to specialize in strawberry growing, with an annual Strawberry Festival held each summer. Farming in the area is primarily confined to strawberries, blueberries and growing vegetables for the farmers’ market trade. U-Pick farms and roadside stands are a common sight. Many of the old logging roads are now public and offer plenty of space for both nature observance and bicycling. In winter, the same old roads are popular for cross-country skiing. Discussion is ongoing about developing a formal trail system, and several local informal trails can lead the adventurous to lovely waterfalls and scenic delights.

The Town of Antigonish is less than 15 miles to the north along what Nova Scotia calls the ‘Sunshine Coast’. The beaches along the shoreline boast the ‘warmest water north of the Carolinas’ and are a popular spot for a swimming holiday. Antigonish is still a strongly Scottish town, and the Antigonish Highland Games, in existence for over 150 years, bring a huge influx of visitors to the town. As home to St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish offers the wide range of arts and cultural events found in a typical college town. Some of the better known include the Antigonish Summer Theatre, Antigonight-Art After Dark Festival, and the Antigonish International Film Festival. The Town of Antigonish has numerous restaurants and choices for lodgings. Hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts can all be found in or near the town.

Shorelines along the longest margins of Lochaber Lake are relatively steep, making it difficult to either farm or build near the shore. Only the north and south ends of the lake, where the North River St. Marys flows in and out, provide low wetlands. Familiar with inhabiting steep sloping lands from their homeland, a number of Scottish families settled here soon after 1810. The lake’s somewhat colorful history reflects the religious rivalry that engaged two denominations of Scottish Presbyterians and the few Irish Catholic families. After a couple of congregation splits and rival churches, the Presbyterian community finally resolved their differences and settled down into one church. The Catholic congregation remained faithful to their church all along. Regardless of their private religious disputes, the new settlers worked with great vigor to create a lakeshore community complete with productive farms and timber businesses. It has only been in recent years that Lochaber Lake has been home to a large cottage community, primarily along the southwestern lakefront.

Lochaber Lake is located about 140 miles northeast of Halifax along Highway 7. Campgrounds can be found in the area, although there don’t appear to be any at Lochaber Lake. Numerous private cottages are rented on a short-term basis and make a stay at Lochaber Lake possible any time of year. Enjoy the views, the lake breezes and the local trails. Gorge yourself on strawberries, sample the jams and preserves . . and just plain enjoy laid-back country lake living.

Things to do at Lochaber Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Waterfall

Fish species found at Lochaber Lake

  • Brook Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Smelt
  • Trout

Lochaber Lake Photo Gallery

    Lochaber Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 759 acres

    Shoreline Length: 11 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 99 feet

    Average Depth: 72 feet

    Maximum Depth: 172 feet

    Water Volume: 66,900 acre-feet

    Water Residence Time: 1 year

    Drainage Area: 23 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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