Must-Fish Lakes in Southern Alberta

Southern Alberta is home to countless lakes offering some pretty spectacular fishing. While some are well-known and popular destinations, others are hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered. Some offer easy access and can be quite busy, others require a hike and often in these instances, an angler will find they have a lake all to themselves. Here is a selection of great fishing lakes in Southern Alberta; some will be instantly recognized, others, maybe, will become a new destination and discovery for years to come!

Crawling Valley Reservoir

Created in 1983, Crawling Valley Reservoir is one of the best shore fishing destinations in Alberta. The lake offers great fishing for northern pike and walleye along with a few rainbow trout. There is a boat launch at the southern end of the 18 kilometres (11 miles) long lake. The lake makes a great winter ice fishing destination as well.

Northern Pike

Glenmore Reservoir

The Glenmore Reservoir sits in the heart of Calgary and due to its easy access by both public transit and vehicle, it is a popular fishing location. The reservoir holds brown trout, northern pike, whitefish and yellow perch. Fishing can be slow so a good bet is to launch a non-motorized boat and head to the deeper waters where the larger fish hang out.

Keho Lake

Keho Lake sits just to the north of Nobleford off Highway 23. The lake is a great place for northern pike, in fact, Alberta’s biggest pike on record, at 17.24 kg (38 lbs), was pulled from these waters. In addition to the northern pike, anglers will find walleye, whitefish and burbot. The lake does see heavy fishing pressure but enough big fish are caught to keep folks coming back.

Keho Lake – View from BRMB Maps

Lake Minnewanka, AB

Lake Minnewanka

This large, murky lake can be found just outside the Banff Townsite and is considered one of the top ten lakes in the entire province for trophy lake trout. These fish can get up to 20 kg (45 lbs). Anglers will also find bull trout, rainbow trout and mountain whitefish. This is the only lake in the park that allows motorboats and these can be quite helpful in the summer when the fishing slows due to the fish heading to deeper waters.

Lake Newell

One of the largest man-made lakes in the province, it is home to a scenic provincial park. Found southeast of Calgary, the lake offers anglers northern pike, walleye, whitefish and a few rainbows near the Bow River inlet. It is rumoured pike can reach 14 kg (30 lbs) here. Fishing is best from a boat but some good shore fishing is possible from the end of the breakwater.

Lake Winchell – View for BRMB Maps

Lake Winchell

Found north of Cochrane and south of Cremona, the land surrounding Lake Winchell is just a wee bit wet and swampy; rubber boots are definitely required. That said, the lake holds a good number of rainbow trout. There are plenty of dragonflies and other insects making it a great spot for fly angling. While there is no boat launch, it is easy to launch a canoe or small inflatable boat to get out onto the water as parking is available right off Township Road 290A.

Lower Kananaskis Lake

Of the two lakes in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Lower Kananaskis Lake offers better fishing. The sparkling clear waters of the lake, framed by spectacular mountains, offer the angler bull trout (up to 5kg/11 lbs), stocked cutthroat trout (up to 1 kg/2 lb) and rainbow trout (up to 2.5 km/5 lbs). While trolling is the most productive method to fish in the lake, fly fishing in these scenic surroundings seems like a great way to spend the day.

Lower Kananaskis Lake, AB

McGregor Lake Reservoir

This large sprawling reservoir sits midway between Lethbridge and Calgary near Vulcan. The lake holds some good-sized northern pike which put up a good fight along with walleye, yellow perch, whitefish and burbot. The lake can be busy during the summer with boaters and waterskiers but makes a good winter ice fishing destination.

Spray Lake Reservoir

Easily accessed by the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Road south of Canmore, the Spray Lake Reservoir is a good-sized lake, at over 20 km (12.5 mi) in length. It also offers some good fishing for lake trout (up to 8 kg/18 lb), cutthroat (up to 1 kg/2 lb) and mountain whitefish (up to 1 kg/2 lb).  There is a boat launch and the best fishing is in the early spring and late fall.

Spray Lake Reservoir – View from BRMB Maps

Rainbow Trout

Window Mountain Lake

This is a pretty lake, set below Mount Ward and accessed via a 2 km hike from Allison Creek Road. The lake holds rainbows in the 1 kg (2 lb) range along with some smaller cutthroat. A narrow trail circumnavigates the lake and while wading isn’t possible, fly fishing and spincasting from shore both work well. Sometimes the fish bite here, other times they don’t but surrounded by the scenery, it is hard to be disappointed!

We hope this selection of lakes has to whet your appetite to head out and explore southern Alberta’s lakes. If so, there is nothing more useful to bring along on your adventure than a Southern Alberta Backroad Mapbook or our BRMB Maps app! You will find industry-leading cartographic detail, write-ups on hundreds of lakes and rivers, access and stocking information and special regulations as well.

Do you have a favourite lake you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below and share your own adventures with us on Instagram using #brmblife.