Fishing at Upper Kananaskis Lake Alberta

Article By: Joe Seaborne 2021-03-03

Upper Kananaskis Lake Alberta

Whenever I have the urge to go fishing for humongous Rainbow Trout I head out to Upper Kananaskis Lake! If you’re in search of a quality fishery that holds a good number of trophy-sized rainbows, I recommend giving Upper Kananaskis Lake a try.

Upper Kananaskis Lake is a medium-sized lake that’s located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, in the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It’s a popular place to go hiking, camping, and fishing because of the mountain fresh air and beautiful scenery. I personally enjoy it because it’s only a couple hours from my house and the mountains make for a relaxing getaway.

For the duration of this article, I’ll be going over some general information about Upper Kananaskis Lake that’s hopefully useful to anyone that hasn’t been there. Then I’ll be going over my favourite fishing spots and sharing where I’ve had the most successful fishing trips and what lures seem to work best.


Getting to Upper Kananaskis Lake isn’t too difficult because the roads are well maintained and frequently used. You can either take Kananaskis Trail or Smith Dorian Trail to Kananaskis Lakes Trail. Once you’ve made it to Kananaskis Lakes Trail, just follow it until you see the upper lake.


Upper Kananaskis Lake has good amenities including male and female washrooms, pick-nick tables, fire pits, garbage containers, a day-use area, and a campground.

Is there a boat launch at Upper Kananaskis Lake?

Yes. There’s a concrete boat launch located in the day-use area. The boat launch features a small traffic circle and a decent-sized parking lot that’s suitable for parking a large trailer.

What are the fishing regulations for Upper Kananaskis Lake?

Upper Kananaskis Lake is listed in the Alberta Fishing Regulations under ES1. Always check the regulations before heading out. Below is a link to ES1.

Alberta Fishing Regulations ES1

What fish are in Upper Kananaskis Lake?

I've only ever caught Rainbow's while fishing Upper Kananaskis Lake however, Cutthroat are also listed in the Alberta Fishing Regulations.

Best lures for fishing at Upper Kananaskis Lake

The 360-foot hole

This is the deepest part of the lake, reaching a depth of around 360 feet. Although I’ve never caught any fish anywhere near the bottom, I still find that I have pretty good luck fishing in this area. I like trolling across the hole with a deep diving lure set to various depths between 25 to 75 feet. Buzz Bombs are also effective at catching fish in this area. You can use them as a jig to get down deep or cast them out and work a jigging action as you reel in your line.

deepest spot in Upper Kananaskis Lake Map Source:Google Maps

The small island on the north end

The small island that’s located on the north end of the lake is a worthwhile spot to check out. Between the main shoreline and the island, it’s not very deep but as you make your way around the island you’ll encounter a little drop-off that’s around 50 feet. I’ve caught numerous fish while trolling around the island in the 20 to 30-foot depth range while using a deep-diving hard bait. My lure of choice is the Rapala Rainbow Trout.

picture of Upper Kananaskis Lake Alberta Map Source:Google Maps

Hawk Island

Hawk Island is the biggest of the islands and is located closer to the middle of the lake. It’s actually surprisingly shallow all around the island, however, it gets really deep as you move a little further out and usually decent for Rainbows.

picture of Upper Kananaskis Lake Alberta Map Source:Google Maps

Fishing from shore

The dam that’s just above the lower lake is one of my favourite places to fish from shore. It’s probably not the safest place to be hanging around so I try to distance myself from the spillway. The absolute best time to fish the dam is when it’s windy and there are lots of big waves. For whatever reason, the dam is a hotspot for huge rainbow trout during this time.

picture of Upper Kananaskis Lake Alberta Map Source: Google Maps

The deepest spot to fish from shore

This is the deepest spot I’ve found that’s within casting distance from shore. Starting from the shore is a steady drop that gets extremely deep as you head out towards the middle of the lake. If you’re moderately good at casting then you should have no problem getting your lure out to where it’s 30 - 50 feet deep.

picture of Upper Kananaskis Lake Alberta Map Source:Google Maps

Other hot spots

Close to the boat launch is also a decent place to try fishing and if you don’t mind walking, I recommend fishing close to either one of the waters-falls

Quick Recap: