Sakinaw Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

Located two hours northwest of Vancouver, Sakinaw Lake is a 1,695-acre lake located on the Sechelt Peninsula of the Sunshine Coast, between Pender Harbour and Earl’s Cove in British Columbia, Canada. If you enjoy being on the water, you’ll love boating, waterskiing, or just plain swimming in the pristine, clear waters of this lake with the summer water temperatures often reaching near 80 degrees F.

There are numerous points of access to Sakinaw Lake off Highway 101. Most of the shoreline is dotted with vacation rentals of all kinds and private residences, but there are several public boat launches for those wishing to cruise the lake. Be sure to bring your fishing gear; Sakinaw Lake is known for its large Cutthroat trout which can reach over 4 pounds. Kokanee, Sockeye and Coho salmon are also found in the lake. The best fishing is from April to July, and September to October

Sakinaw Lake is unique in that the water in the deepest section of the lake (98 feet and below) is salt water, a souvenir of geological times when there was a direct connection between Sakinaw Lake and the Pacific Ocean. The upper layer of the lake is freshwater.

In the early 1900s, Sakinaw Lake was dammed at its outlet (Sakinaw creek) for log and water storage. In 1952, a permanent dam and fishway were built near the outlet. The fishway allows fish past the dam which lets spawners to return to the lake, and seaward migrating smolts to migrate to sea. The smolts will spend two summers in the Pacific before returning to Sakinaw Lake by the same route. An initial problem with the fishway was that fish were vulnerable to predators such as river otters and seals, and also illegal fishing. In 1995 the passage to the fishway was improved by creating two large rock overflow dams below the fishway which created large pools in the creek. These pools reduced the height salmon needed to jump from six feet to three feet. These pools also provide protection from predators and illegal fishing.

The area around Sakinaw Lake is a nature lover’s paradise. The Sunshine Coast is known for its mountain biking and hiking trails. Directly across the lake is Mount Hallowell and Spipiyus Provincial Park. These mountains contain Canada’s oldest forest and one of the oldest closed canopy forests in the world. A hike to the peak of Mount Hallowell and British Columbia’s last remaining fire lookout tower offers an incredible view.

Northeast of Sakinaw Lake is Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park. From two viewing areas in the 100-acre park, you can watch the incredible power of turbulent tidal rapids. Twice a day at the change of tide, the flow of saltwater switches, reversing the direction and power of the rapids. The flow of the Skookumchuck Rapids can reach up to 14 knots in spring and summer as up to 200 billion gallons of water flow through the narrows connecting the Sechelt and Jervis Inlets. Visitors should plan their trip to this park to coincide with the change in tides. The best viewing times are posted at the entrance of the trail and at Visitor Information Centers along the Sunshine Coast. The waters near the Skookumchuk Rapids are a favorite for experienced divers and extreme kayakers.

1161-acre Ruby Lake is north of Sakinaw Lake on the northern end of the Sechelt Peninsula, just south of Earl’s Cove on Highway 101. Ruby Lake offers hiking and biking trails, boat rentals, boat launches, fishing, and camping. Trout fishing is also excellent in this Lake.

If you’re looking to get closer to the great outdoors, Sakinaw Lake with its old growth forests, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, and horseback trail riding has an abundance of opportunities.

Things to do at Sakinaw Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park

Fish species found at Sakinaw Lake

  • Coho Salmon
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Sakinaw Lake Photo Gallery

Sakinaw Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Sunshine Coast Regional District

Surface Area: 1,695 acres

Shoreline Length: 21 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 16 feet

Average Depth: 141 feet

Maximum Depth: 459 feet

Completion Year: 1952

Water Residence Time: 9.3 years

Trophic State: Eutrophotic

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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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