St. Mary’s Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

Also known as:  St. Mary Lake, St. Marys Lake

St. Mary’s Lake is a beautiful and tranquil 729-acre lake located west of the community of Kimberley in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. Located at the base of Bootleg Mountain, the lake is a popular destination for fishing, swimming, bird watching and paddling trips. The St. Mary’s River flowing out of the lake is heavily used for white water rafting adventures.

If you’ve come to St. Mary’s Lake to fish, trolling or shore fly-fishing will give you the best success. Popular sport fish in the lake include rainbow trout, bull trout, cutthroat trout, white fish and ling cod. Boating, picnicking, and swimming are allowed, but camping is not. There are no camping facilities on St. Mary’s Lake, however Wasa Provincial Park, located north of Kimberley, is a 355-acre campground park popular for camping, boating, canoeing, swimming, fishing, water skiing and scuba diving.

There are a number of national, provincial and recreation parks, hiking trails, ski hills, lakes, and mountains within 30 miles of St. Mary’s Lake. The communities of Kimberley, Marysville, Meadowbrook and Wycliffe all offer vacation rentals, fine dining, and a multitude of antique shops and souvenir stores. The roads and mountains around St. Mary’s Lake are popular for cycling, mountain biking and hiking. On the north side of the lake, across the road from St. Mary’s Lake, is the trailhead to the Alki Creek Hiking Trail, a six mile hiking adventure including switchbacks, mountain passes, alpine meadows and dense forests.

White water rafters will want to take advantage of the St. Mary’s River which enters and exits St. Mary’s Lake. The exit river is a good put-in point for rafting. The first mile can be an easy two hour trip of slow moving Class 1 water, but beyond the town of Marysville the river narrows and becomes sections of Class2 and Class 3 rapids.

While visiting St. Mary’s Lake, be sure to find time to travel 15 minutes north to the Bavarian community of Kimberley, the highest city in Canada at 3,674,530 feet above sea level in the Canadian Rockies. Kimberley was once a mining town and was named after the famous South African diamond mine. Visitors will be charmed by the “Old Bavaria” feel of the downtown shopping area. There are plenty of cafes and boutiques as well as hiking, camping and golf courses for those who love the great outdoors.

Parks near St. Mary’s Lake include Kimberley Nature Park a 2,000-acre park popular for hiking, mountain biking, dog walking, jogging, bird watching, sightseeing, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park is a rugged area located south of Kimberly. Experienced and properly equipped hikers will be rewarded with incredible scenery, alpine lakes, icefields, swift moving creeks and waterfalls.

Another popular attraction near St. Mary’s Lake is Marysville Falls, a boardwalk walking path located in the Village of Marysville, east of St. Mary’s Lake. The hiking trail is a n easy walk leading to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking a 100 foot high waterfall.

The area around St. Mary’s Lake doesn’t slow down during the winter months. Skiing and winter recreation in the B.C. Rockies is just as popular as summer activities. Whether you’re looking for night skiing, recently groomed runs, mogols, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice fishing or winter tours, the ambience of the Rockies draw skiers and winter visitors of all abilities.

Weather you’ve come to fish, hike, ski, or just visit a unique little town at the top of the world, the varied terrain around St. Mary’s Lake and the B.C. Rockies region of British Columbia can accommodate any type of outdoor recreation spring, summer, winter or fall.

Things to do at St. Mary’s Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Waterfall
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at St. Mary’s Lake

  • Bull Trout
  • Cod
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

St. Mary’s Lake Photo Gallery

St. Mary’s Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 729 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 3,051 feet

Maximum Depth: 65 feet

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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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