This large, deep, natural lake lies just east of the Continental Divide along Alberta Highway 3. The abandoned brick power plant at the lake's east end was coal-fired and does not, as one might suppose, signal the presence of a man-made dam. Instead, the lake spills gently into a wetland maze that consolidates as the start of the Crowsnest River, directly underneath the Highway 3 bridge crossing.
Some winters, the surface freezes smooth and flat before the snow falls, creating a vast hockey rink.
Access to Lake or River
Planted lake trout long ago displaced the native cutthroat trout of Crowsnest Lake. Consequently, motorized deep trolling and, in winter, ice fishing are the preferred techniques.
The narrow pass formed by the high mountains containing Crowsnest Lake are a natural wind tunnel. Paddlers should prepare for a one-way ride, with a long walk back to the parking area.
Driving Directions from Nearest Town or Landmark
Crowsnest Lake is bounded on the south by Alberta Highway 3, west of the municipality of Crowsnest Pass and just east of the Alberta-British Columbia Boundary.
Boat Access Locations
There is a vast parking area at the west end of the lake, a necessary amenity for the several occasions each winter when blizzard conditions close the mountain pass. The parking area includes a boat launch, also used by ice fishermen to skid their huts onto the ice.
One might think the lake would be popular with wind surfers, but they are rarely seen, perhaps because the deep lake stays cold between annual freeze-ups.
Fishing Access Highlights
This big lake is practical for boat fishing only, or ice fishing in winter. The sharply dropping bottom and the frequency of strong westerly winds makes wading or casting from shore unpleasant and dangerous.