Fishing at McGregor Lake Alberta

Article By: Joe Seaborne 2020-12-27

McGregor Lake Alberta

If you’re an avid fisherman living in Southern Alberta, then chances are you’ve been to McGregor Lake. It's a popular place to go fishing because it’s close to Calgary, has great amenities, and the fishing is awesome.

My first time fishing McGregor Lake was almost 30 years ago. While growing up I spent many long weekends camping and fishing at the lake and have come to know the area well. What I like most about McGregor Lake, is the fact that you can target a wide variety of fish within the reservoir. It’s s not just another place to catch pike and walleye, but a great place to catch whitefish and burbot.

How to get to McGregor Lake

The simplest way to get to McGregor Lake is through the campground. Starting from High River: take the 23 east until you get to the irrigation canal. The entrance to the campground will be the next right once you’ve driven past the canal. At this point, you can either drive through the campground to access the boat launch or park on the dam.

What amenities does McGregor Lake have?

McGregor Lake has a large campground, washroom facilities, a parking lot, fire pits, and a day-use area.

Does McGregor Lake have a boat launch?

Yes: there is a concrete boat launch located at the end of the campground that features a big dirt traffic circle and a parking lot. Also, there’s a small beach beside the ramp that’s perfect for shore anchoring.

What type of fish are at McGregor Lake?

McGregor Lake fishing regulations

McGregor Lake is listed under zone 2 PP1. Always check the Alberta Fishing Regulations before heading out. Below is a link to the fishing regulations.
PP1 Alberta Fishing Regulations

What are the best fishing lures for McGregor Lake?

picture of walley caught at mcgregor lake

What is the best location to fish McGregor Lake from shore?

If you plan on fishing from shore, the north dam is your best option. It’s actually very convenient for fishing because you can drive onto the dam and park anywhere you like.

While trolling past the dam I’ve recorded an average depth of 15 feet within casting distance from shore. It is also fairly uniform along the entire length of the dam until you reach the end, at which point it becomes shallow.

I’ve caught the most fish on the east corner of the dam while casting my lure out into the weed patch. It’s easy to get snagged, so I prefer a shallow diving lure or something with a weed guard. My favourite lure is a skirted jig with a snag guard.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

Fishing the inlet / Carsland-Bow River Headwater Canal

The irrigation canal is located behind the campground on the north end of the lake and is fairly easy to access. Just drive along one of the dirt roads that lead to the canal and find a good spot.

What are the fishing regulations for the canal that goes into McGregor Lake?

The inlet is called the Carsland-Bow River Headwater Canal and can be found in the Alberta fishing regulations under pp1. Below is a link to the regulations.

Carsland-Bow River Headwater Canal Regulations

Fishing the inlet.

I’ve always had good luck catching whitefish early in the season, usually sometime before May Long Weekend. Baiting with maggots on a pickerel rig a couple feet off the bottom has always brought me the most success. To a lesser extent, I’ve also caught pike and walleye in the canal, but not very many.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

Fishing the channel

The inlet turns into a decent size channel that’s been cut out from water movement. It has a depth of about 10 feet and a narrow winding profile that cuts through the shallows.

This area is a hotspot for pike and only makes sense since it’s the perfect location to ambush incoming prey. Jigs work well in this area since the channel is somewhat narrow, and most of the pike are close to the bottom.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

The weedy flat area

This is a flat and weedy area. It has a slow, gradual drop, with a sweet spot somewhere between 10 to 15 feet. Trolling with a medium diving lure works well. It's also easy to get snagged on weeds, so be prepared to catch lots of salad.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

Fishing for walleye at McGregor Lake

This is a good spot for walleye because of a drop that goes down to about 30 feet. You’ll also probably notice a few fishing boats hanging around this area fishing for walleye. This is pretty much where you will want to be fishing if you are looking for walleye.

Most effective walleye lure.

Crawfish work extremely well at Mcgregor lake. However, it's against the regulations to use them, so you’ll have to settle for the next best thing, which is a crawfish jig. I prefer using a crawfish tube jig, but I've also had good results with other types of crawfish lures.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

The deepest spot of McGregor Lake

Although tricky to find, there’s a 35 to 40-foot hole near the middle of the lake. It’s not very wide, so you’ll probably have to make a few passes to find it, and you’ll definitely need a depth finder.

I’ve caught a few respectable sized fish in this area, mostly pike but the odd rainbow trout have shown up. Trolling with a deep diving rattle bait works good well, I also prefer using a 6in lure since it’s big enough to attract large pike and walleye, but not so big that trout won’t strike it.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

Where McGregor Lake becomes narrow

The south half turns into a narrow winding portion of the lake that’s 30 feet deep near the middle. Trolling around 15 feet from shore is good for pike while heading out towards the middle is better for walleye and whitefish.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps

Fishing past the bridge

Heading south past the bridge, McGregor Lake gets shallow and weedy all the way to the dam. I’ve found that there is mostly small pike in this area, and it gets pretty weedy, especially later on in the season.

map of mcgregor lake map source: Google Maps