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Cree Lake

Cree Lake.
Doug Chisholm

(57°30’N, 106°30’W; Map sheet 74 G/7). Cree Lake, 81 km long and 57 km wide, covers some 1,434 km2. It is located in the northern Saskatchewan Shield, about 300 km northwest of La Ronge. It drains northward via Cree River into Black Lake. There is also access southward via portage into the Mudjatik and Churchill rivers. Cree Lake is a remnant of a much larger lake formed by meltwaters of the retreating continental ice-sheet about 8,700 years ago. While the present shoreline lies at 487m, strand-lines of the former pro-glacial lake are elevated at 520 m. Glacial Cree Lake initially drained southward through glacial spillways into the Churchill River, but isostatic rebound elevated these southern outlets and the lake spilled northward into a succession of spillways leading into Lake Athabasca.

A sandy area at the south end of Cree Lake was historically a Dene wintering ground. Today, a reserve and a small settlement are found there. In spite of the isolation, a fur-trade post was located on the lake around 1803. In the 1920s and 1930s the area was used by white trappers seeking a living during the Great Depression. Today, fly-in fishing camps on the lake provide southern tourists with the chance to catch trophy specimens of northern pike, lake trout, Arctic grayling and walleye.

Marilyn Lewry

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Further Reading

Karras, A.L. 1970. North to Cree Lake. New York: Trident Press; Schreiner, B.T. 1984. Quaternary Geology of the Precambrian Shield, Saskatchewan. Regina: Saskatchewan Energy and Mines Report No. 221.
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