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Follow the Trans-Canada Highway 25 miles east of Calgary and you will arrive at the northern shore of Eagle Lake. Surrounded by south-central Alberta's wind-swept grasslands and vast skies, Eagle Lake is a treasure in a land of harsh winters and dry summers. Found on the eastern outskirts of Strathmore, Eagle Lake is facing the transformation from a rural lake to lakeside residential retreat. After decades of discussions and numerous proposals, visions of homes, golf courses and beaches are now Eagle Lake's future.
People of the Blackfoot Nation named Eagle Lake Pataomoxecing, for the "many eagles" that once soared over the surrounding hills. The 1880's expansion of railroads brought settlers to the prairies where the town of Strathmore was founded along the shores of Eagle Lake. After the turn of the century, Strathmore relocated a few miles west of the lake saving the city from a substantial flood in 1948. That same year the Canadian Pacific Railroad built a drainage ditch and berm at the south end of Eagle Lake. Today the weir and control gate are maintained by the Western Irrigation District (WID). Eagle Lake receives its water supply from several sources. A creek at the southwest end of the lake flows into Eagle Lake along with runoff and drainage from a WID irrigation canal built east of the lake. At the southeast shore an outlet stream drains 2,916-acre Eagle Lake into Namaka and Stobart Lakes, eventually flowing into the Bow River.
Eagle Lake is a shallow, moderately saline, nutrient-rich lake with an average depth of nine feet and maximum depth of 16 feet. Blue-green algae can proliferate during warm summer months. Marshy wetlands form at the southwest end of Eagle Lake, creating an excellent bird watching habitat for waterfowl and a sampling of shorebirds including American avocets, marbled godwits and yellowlegs.
Dense aquatic plants line much of Eagle Lake's 14-mile shore, keeping shoreline fishing to a minimum. Anglers generally cast their lines from boats or the weir at the south end of the lake hoping to catch walleye introduced to the lake in the 1960s and 1970s. Native species include northern pike, yellow perch, white sucker, longnose sucker, brook stickleback and fathead minnow. Fish catch size and number are regulated by the provincial government. Links to regulations and fish consumption advisories are posted for your convenience.
Wheatland County owns a campground located at the southeastern shore. A public boat launch and sandy beach are also provided. When strong winds blow across the prairie, they can make boating hazardous but they create ideal conditions for windsurfers. When the winds pick up, windsurfers gather at the county park to launch their boards and sail away.
In a land where water is a prized possession, Eagle Lake has often been studied for its recreational and residential potential. A 100-lot development has been approved along the northwestern shore, and resort-style residential development with well over 6,000 units is proposed for the eastern shore. With plans to improve Eagle Lake's water quality and landscape, residents will be able to enjoy canoeing, swimming, fishing, picnicking, bicycling, hiking, skating, cross-country skiing, tennis and golf right in their own back yard.
Immediately south of Eagle Lake, where lake water meets the Bow River, you will find Alberta's Wyndham Carseland Provincial Park. Campgrounds are available for group use with a variety of outdoor activities. A ball field, horseshoes, hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking and cross-country skiing are among the options - but fishing is the main attraction. The Bow River is one of Alberta's best trout fisheries. The river is a fly-fisherman's paradise where river species are listed as: brook stickleback, brook trout, brown trout, bull trout, burbot, cutthroat trout rainbow trout, emerald shiner, fathead minnow, flathead chub, goldeye, lake chub, lake sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, longnose dace, longnose sucker, mooneye, mountain whitefish, northern pike, quillback, river shiner, sauger, shorthead redhorse, silver redhorse, spoonhead sculpin, spottail shiner, trout-perch, walleye, white sucker and yellow perch.
Take a short 30-minute drive toward the western Rockies and you will find Calgary rising up from the prairie. With a population exceeding a million people, residents of Eagle Lake have easy access to a delightful selection of shops, restaurants and services. Known for its celebrations, sporting events and the Calgary Stampede, Calgary is a vacation destination all its own.
Look past the city and you will see Canada's Mountains West Tourism Region gaining a new attraction on the shores of Eagle Lake. What was once a quiet fishing lake and home to "many eagles" is becoming a lakeside residential community. Eagle Lake vacation rentals and real estate properties will line the eastern shore with views of clean water, golfing greens and golden grasslands. The future is in sight. Take advantage of the first opportunity to select your view and enjoy life on the new Eagle Lake.
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