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Williston Lake
Ominica Arm, Williston Lake (274287741).jpg
Williston Lake is located in British Columbia
Williston Lake
Williston Lake
Location in British Columbia
Location British Columbia
Coordinates 56°N 124°W / 56°N 124°W / 56; -124
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Peace River
Primary outflows Peace River
Basin countries Canada
Max. length 251 km (156 mi)
Max. width 155 km (96 mi)
Surface area 1,761 km2 (680 sq mi)
Average depth 42 m (138 ft)
Water volume 74,000,000,000,000 litres (60,000,000 acre⋅ft)
Surface elevation 671 m (2,201 ft)
(level varies by 18 m)

Williston Lake is a reservoir created by the W. A. C. Bennett Dam and is located in the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Canada.


The lake fills the basin of the upper Peace River, backing into the Rocky Mountain Trench which is where the Parsnip and Finlay met at Finlay Forks to form the Peace. The lake includes three reaches, the Peace Reach (formerly the Peace Canyon), and the Parsnip and Finlay Reaches, which are the lowermost basins of those rivers, and covers a total area of 1,761 km2 (680 sq mi), being the largest lake in British Columbia and the seventh largest reservoir (by volume) in the world.

The reservoir is fed by the Finlay, Omineca, Ingenika, Ospika, Parsnip, Manson, Nation and Nabesche Rivers and by Clearwater Creek, Carbon Creek, and other smaller creeks.

Several provincial parks are maintained on the shore of the lake, including Muscovite Lakes Provincial Park, Butler Ridge Provincial Park, Heather-Dina Lakes Provincial Park and Ed Bird-Estella Provincial Park.


The following rivers empty into the Williston Reservoir:

  • Finlay River
  • Omineca River
  • Ingenika River
  • Ospika River
  • Parsnip River
  • Manson River
  • Nation River
  • Clearwater Creek
  • Nabesche River
  • Carbon Creek


Williston Lake was created in 1968 by the building of the W. A. C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River, which flooded the aboriginal-territorial home of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation.

The reservoir was named after the Honourable Ray Gillis Williston, at the time the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources.

Wiliston lake barge
Barge on Williston Lake
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