Fish Alberta – Wadlin Lake

When it comes to boreal lakes in Northern Alberta, Wadlin Lake is as good an example as you will find.

A gravel road and a modest campground operated by Mackenzie County are the only man-made features along the shore of this stunning 1,900 hectare lake.

The nearest settlement is the town of Fort Vermilion. Fort Vermilion, established on the banks of the Peace River in 1788, is one of Alberta’s two oldest European settlements.

Fishing – Wadlin Lake supports domestic and recreational fisheries. The lake supports native fish populations of lake whitefish, yellow perch, and northern pike, and a naturalized population of walleye that were stocked in 1990, 1991, and 1996. Other fish in the community are longnose sucker, spottail shiner, and sticklebacks. Currently, there is restricted harvest on walleye, lake whitefish, yellow perch, and burbot. Northern pike have a zero bag limit. Please refer to Alberta’s Guide to Sportfishing Regulations for more information.

Management – The land in the area is owned by the provincial government. Other than a recreational lease on the northeast shore for the municipal campground, Wadlin Lake Reserve on the east shore, and a few cutlines, there is practically no development in the area.

Alberta Environment and Parks has three Fisheries Management Objectives for Wadlin Lake:

  • Indigenous Management Objective – Honour subsistence, heritage and ceremonial fishery uses through responsible management of fish populations
  • Recreational Management Objective – Sustainable harvest for walleye, sustainable harvest for yellow perch, sustainable harvest for lake whitefish, sustainable harvest for burbot, and recovery for northern pike.
  • Habitat Management Objective – Maintain a low level of risk to sustainability with regards to water quality and quantity, and aquatic habitat fragmentation.

“Wadlin Lake is an excellent destination fishery nestled in the heart of Alberta’s Northern Boreal region. Its size, remote location, campground facilities and beautiful surroundings make it an ideal place for avid anglers and families alike. The successful addition of walleye to the lake in the 1990s has resulted in an additional angling opportunity that has enhanced this lake’s appeal. Wadlin Lake has proven itself as a productive fishery that supports both aboriginal and recreational anglers. Our objective is to manage it for long-term sustainability as a multi-species fishery for everyone’s enjoyment.”

–   Josef MacLeod, Fisheries Biologist, Lower Peace Management Area

Location – Wadlin Lake is popular for its summer and winter sport fishing, as well as boating, swimming, and nature-loving. The lake is off the beaten path, 80 kilometres southeast of Fort Vermilion off Highway 88, or 340 kilometres northeast of Grande Prairie, or 480 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Geography – Wadlin Lake is located in Alberta’s Boreal Mixedwood region where it collects water from several intermittent streams. The lake is drained by a small river on the northeast shore which flows east to the Wabasca River and eventually the Peace River. The lake is one basin and is more than 15 metres deep in some locations. The shoreline is mixed forest with scattered sedge bogs.

Indigenous people – The Peace River is named for the settling of a conflict between the Dane-Tha’ and the Tall Cree First Nation that is now near Wadlin Lake. The river marked a boundary zone where groups met for trade, celebration, and settling of disputes.

Archaeological evidence has determined Indigenous peoples inhabited the area for 10,500 years before European settlers arrived.

Although it’s a bit of a trek to get to Wadlin Lake, the unspoiled landscape and stunning natural areas make this lake one of the jewels of Alberta’s boreal forest regions. If you’re looking to escape from civilization and enjoy Alberta’s north, check out Wadlin.

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