Hasse Lake

Basic Info
Map Sheets83G/8, 9
Lat / Long53.4833333, -114.1666667
53°28'N, 114°10'W
Area0.90 km2
Max depth9.5 m
Mean depth3.5 m
Dr. Basin Area7.4 km2
Dam, WeirNone
Drainage BasinNorth Saskatchewan River Basin
Camp GroundNone
Boat LaunchHand/Small Boat
Sport FishRainbow Trout
Trophic StatusMesotrophic
TP x22 µg/L
CHLORO x5.8 µg/L
TDS x344 mg/L
Photo credit: unknown


Hasse Lake, a quiet little lake in the rolling hills west of the city of Edmonton, is a beautiful spot for canoeing, fishing or birdwatching. To reach the lake, drive 6 km west of the town of Stony Plain on Highway 16 to the turnoff for Edmonton Beach and continue west for 2.5 km. Turn south and drive for 5 km, then turn west onto a winding road and follow it west and south for 10 km to reach Hasse Lake Provincial Park. The route is well marked with signs indicating the provincial park. The lake is located in the County of Parkland.

The lake was named for Frederick Hasse, who started farming beside the lake in 1936. Prior to the arrival of British and European settlers, the region was frequented by Cree and Stoney Indians. Settlement was rapid from 1902 to 1910, and agriculture has been the main land use ever since. Private recreational facilities were developed on Hasse Lake in 1956. Land was later purchased by the provincial government, and in 1970, Hasse Lake Provincial Park was established (Alta. Rec. Parks n.d.).

The provincial park covers 69 ha on the northwest shore of the lake (FIGURE 1). Its facilities are for day use only and include a picnic shelter, pump water, a telephone, a playground, walking trails, a small beach, four piers and two floating boardwalks (FIGURE 2) (Alta. Hotel Assoc. 1988). There is an area where small boats and canoes can be launched; boat speed is restricted to 12 km/hour on the entire lake and all boats are restricted from posted areas near the beach (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988). The park is open year-round.

Hasse Lake has clear water. Except for the small beach at the provincial park, most of the shoreline is soft and weedy. The lake has been stocked with rainbow trout since 1953 and provides a locally popular sport fishery. Fishing for bait fish and the use of bait fish is prohibited in Hasse Lake (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). Aquatic plants grow on most of the lake bottom but rarely reach the surface. Emergent plants grow abundantly in shallow areas and provide good nesting habitat for waterfowl.

Drainage Basin Characteristics

The drainage basin of Hasse Lake is small (7.4 km2, TABLE 1), only about 8 times the area of the lake (0.90 km2, TABLE 2). Of this area, only 2.8 km2 contributes runoff directly to the lake (FIGURE 1). Groundwater input is likely significant, but has never been measured (Prepas n.d.).

The drainage area lies on the eastern edge of the Duffield Moraine, which consists of glacial till laid down during the last glaciation. It is characterized by numerous pothole lakes, like Hasse Lake, and mounds of till that have an average height of 35 m. Slopes in the drainage basin range from 6 to 15%; the area immediately around the lake is less hilly (Lindsay et al. 1968).

The watershed is part of the Moist Mixedwood Subregion of the Boreal Mixedwood Ecoregion (Strong and Leggat 1981). The predominant vegetation is trembling aspen and balsam poplar, with willows in less well-drained areas and sedges in poorly drained boggy areas. Soils are mainly Dark Gray Luvisols, but the soils in the wet area at the northeast corner of the lake are Typic and Terric Fibrisols, which are typical of sedge-dominated bogs (Lindsay et al. 1968). The arability of the soil in the basin is considered to be mostly fair to fairly good. About 65% of the basin has been cleared for agriculture, primarily grain crop production or pasture. There are no population centres in the basin.

Lake Basin Characteristics

Hasse Lake is an oval lake with three bays on the west side. The basin slopes gently all around, with the steepest gradient at the north end of the lake (FIGURE 2). The deepest spot (9.5 m) is in the middle of the lake. There are two islands, one in the north half of the lake and one in very shallow water just off the southeast shore. The littoral zone extends to a depth of approximately 4.5 m (calculated from Chambers and Prepas 1988) and includes approximately 65% of the lake area (FIGURE 3).

The water level of Hasse Lake has varied less than 0.6 m from 1975 to 1987 (FIGURE 4). From 1968 to 1973, the level was relatively low; it rose sharply in 1974, a year of heavy snow and near-record spring rains, and has stayed relatively high. There is no defined surface inflow to or outflow from Hasse Lake, but local anecdotes tell of outflow from the lake to the North Saskatchewan River in the first three decades of this century (Stony Plain Dist. Hist. Soc. 1982). The residence time of water in the lake, based on surface inflows, is long, but because the rate of groundwater flow is unknown, the residence time cannot be accurately estimated.

Water Quality

The water quality of Hasse Lake was studied by the University of Alberta from 1981 through 1983 (Prepas n.d.; 1983[a]; 1983[b]; Prepas and Trew 1983; Babin 1984; Prepas and Vickery 1984; Babin and Prepas 1985; Prepas and Shaw 1985).

Hasse is a freshwater, well-buffered lake. The dominant ions are sulphate, bicarbonate, calcium and magnesium (TABLE 3); their concentrations are relatively high for a freshwater lake and are likely strongly influenced by groundwater inflow (Prepas n.d.).

The lake is weakly thermally stratified in summer (FIGURE 5). Anoxic conditions develop over the bottom sediment by early June and remain so until fall (FIGURE 6). These anoxic conditions do not extend high into the water column because there is some mixing in the upper strata. Also, aquatic macrophytes extend across most of the lake bottom and likely inhibit mixing near the sediment-water interface. In the autumn, the entire water column is fairly well mixed, and by freeze-up the lake is usually fully saturated with dissolved oxygen. Throughout the winter, dissolved oxygen decreases at a steady and relatively slow rate, 0.373 g O2/m2 per day (Babin and Prepas 1985). Anoxic conditions develop over the sediments in the latter part of the winter and gradually extend upwards in the water column. Winterkills of fish are not common, but severe ones occurred in each winter from 1967/68 to 1969/70 and in the winter of 1972/73 (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. n.d.).

Hasse Lake is fairly low in nutrients; its trophic status is at the low end of the mesotrophic range. Total phosphorus concentrations in the euphotic zone are highest in the spring and autumn (FIGURE 7), when deep water containing a high concentration of phosphorus is mixed throughout the water column. The concentration of total phosphorus is much higher below the thermocline than in the surface waters by early June; total phosphorus concentration in the deep water continues to increase throughout the summer. By late August 1983, the total phosphorus concentration was 292 µg/L at the bottom of the lake but only 19 µg/L at the surface (FIGURE 8). Under ice cover on 14 March 1982, the total phosphorus concentration was 91 µg/L at a depth of 9 m (Prepas n.d.).

Since most of the phosphorus in the lake water is trapped in the hypolimnion, chlorophyll a concentrations in Hasse Lake are usually fairly low (TABLE 4, FIGURE 7). Algal biomass peaks in the spring when phosphorus-rich water is mixed into the euphotic zone, where light is available. For most of the summer, the water is clear and Secchi depths are usually between 3 and 4 m (FIGURE 7).

Biological Characteristics


There are no data on algal species in Hasse Lake.

Aquatic macrophytes blanket almost the entire bottom of Hasse Lake. They reach to the surface in only a few areas and are not generally a nuisance to boaters; in fact, floating in a canoe and looking through the clear water to the underwater garden below can be a very pleasant way to spend a summer day.

A brief survey of aquatic vegetation in Hasse Lake was conducted for Fish and Wildlife Division in 1986 (R.L. & L. Envir. Serv. Ltd. 1987). Emergent plants ring the lake except for the small area of beach in the provincial park. Cattails, bulrushes and sedges were the dominant emergent species. Stonewort was the most prevalent submergent species; northern watermilfoil, coontail and Sago pondweed were also present at most sites, but at lower densities than stonewort (TABLE 5).


The zooplankton community was sampled on three dates in 1981 and 1982 by the University of Alberta (Prepas 1983[a]). Cladocerans (Daphnia pulicaria, D. galeata mendotae and Daphnia sp.) were the most abundant group on all dates.

The benthic invertebrates in Hasse Lake have not been documented.


Hasse Lake has only two indigenous species of fish: fathead minnow and brook stickleback. Other species present are rainbow trout, which are stocked by Fish and Wildlife Division, and the mysteriously introduced threespine stickleback, which first appeared in 1980.

Prior to 1930, local residents reported northern pike, yellow perch and suckers in the lake (Stony Plain Dist. Hist. Soc. 1982). The pike and perch provided a modest sport fishery until the winter of 1952/53, when they were eliminated in a severe winterkill. Fish and Wildlife Division stocked the lake with rainbow trout in 1953, 1955 and 1956, and with brook trout in 1954. The trout fishery was slow and public pressure was exerted to stock the lake with perch and pike. Perch were stocked in 1957, pike and walleye were introduced in 1959, and more pike were added in 1960. A successful fishery was not established and many fish died in a partial winterkill in 1967/68. Rotenone was applied to the lake in 1968 to kill all pike, perch and suckers. From 1970 to 1988 (except 1983) the lake has been stocked annually with fingerling rainbow trout. As well, brook trout were added in 1970 and 1971 but they did not become established. The rainbow trout do not spawn successfully in Hasse Lake (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. n.d.; R.L. & L. Envir. Serv. Ltd. 1987).

Hasse Lake provides a popular trout fishery in both summer and winter. An extensive creel survey conducted between March 1982 and January 1984 revealed a success rate of 0.14 trout/angler-hour; 18% of the 3,787 anglers interviewed caught at least one fish. The total hours fished over the course of the survey were estimated to be 185,635. The total number of trout caught was estimated to be 25,977, with 40% caught in winter. The oldest trout caught were age 5; the longest was an age-5 female with a fork length of 618 mm and a weight of 3.2 kg (Berry 1986).

Hasse Lake is unique in Alberta because it harbours a vigourous population of threespine stickleback. This species is usually found in coastal British Columbia, near Hudson's Bay and in the Maritimes; it is rarely found at elevations over 100 m. The discovery of threespine stickleback in Hasse Lake in 1980 was the first in the interior plains of North America. It was probably introduced by an unknown person in 1976 or 1977 (Nelson and Harris 1987). This species inhabits dense aquatic vegetation and has thrived in Hasse Lake; in 1986, it accounted for 95% of the fish caught by seining. The highest catch rate was 150 fish/100 m z (R.L. & L. Envir. Serv. Ltd. 1987).

Research into the feeding patterns of fish in Hasse Lake conducted by the University of Alberta in the mid-1980s found: 1) no cannibalism of adult trout on newly introduced trout fry, 2) little or no overlap in the diet of threespine stickleback, brook stickleback and yearling rainbow trout, and 3) only minor overlap in the diets of young-of-the-year trout and adult trout. The newly stocked trout feed on brook stickleback by early August and young-of-the-year threespine stickleback by late August. Adult threespine stickleback are the main prey of larger trout (Smith n.d.).


Hasse Lake provides good habitat for nesting waterfowl, including Common Loons (Finlay and Finlay 1987), but there are few data regarding numbers or species.

J.M. Crosby


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-----. 1983[a]. The influence of phosphorus and zooplankton on chlorophyll levels in Alberta lakes. Prep. for Alta. Envir., Res. Mgt. Div. Rep. 83/23, Edmonton.

-----. 1983[b]. Orthophosphate turnover time in shallow productive lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 40:1412-1418.

----- and J.F.H. Shaw. 1985. Phosphorus dynamics in five shallow Alberta lakes: Hasse, Mayatan, Mink N., Mink S., and Wizard. Prep. for Alta. Envir., Res. Mgt. Div., Edmonton.

Prepas, E.E. and D.O. Trew. 1983. Evaluation of the phosphorus-chlorophyll relationship for lakes off the Precambrian Shield in western Canada. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 40:27-35.

Prepas, E.E. and J. Vickery. 1984. The contribution of particulate phosphorus (>250 µm) to the total phosphorus pool in lake water. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 41:351-363.

R.L. & L. Environmental Services Ltd. 1987. County of Parkland fisheries inventory - Hasse Lake. Prep. forAlta. For. Ld. Wild., Fish. Wild. Div. and Alta. Rec. Parks Wild. Foundation, Edmonton.

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