Lake Ełckie is the eighth deepest lake in Poland. The lake has a characteristic shape of a boomerang consisting of three parts. The north and middle are separated by an island across which the bridge runs. There is a Teutonic castle (or rather its ruins) on the island. The southern part leads to the opposite of the city and is separated from the central part by a peninsula. This part is the narrowest and shallowest. The lake has an area of ​​385 hectares. The maximum depth is 56 meters. The lake is long and 4 kilometers long, and the shoreline is nearly 19 kilometers.

Lake Ełckie. Photo: Akir, license CCBY3.0
Lake Ełckie. Photo: Akir, license CCBY3.0

The Ełk River flows through the lake, flowing into its central part and flowing from its southern end. From the west, a short canal flows from Lake Sunowo, and from the south, a stream from the nearby Szarek Lake. The surroundings of the lake are created by the buildings of the city of Ełk and the villages of Chruściele and Barany as well as farmland. There are few forests on the shore. The reservoir is used relatively little for recreational purposes, but this is due to the urban development right up to the shore.

According to research from 1928, Lake Ełckie was exceptionally clean. However, since 1986 it has been found that the lake type has changed to eutrophic. The cause of the progressive degradation, caused by an excessive inflow of pollutants from the catchment area. Since July 1999, the northern part of Lake Ełckie, due to the strong oxygen deficits in the summer and the presence of hydrogen sulphide, has been subject to reclamation treatments. The lake waters are aerated. Major sources of contamination in the reservoir were cut off. In 2003, the results of the analysis of the physical and chemical factors of the pelagic habitat of Lake Ełckie proved the positive changes that took place in the aerated fields. Currently, the lake is classified as the second class of purity.

Ełk slowly surrounds the lake. Most of the city is on the eastern bank, but now you can see the development of multi-family housing on the southern bank with new single-family housing estates on the west bank. This is surprising because the roads around the lake are narrow and do not provide smooth commuting to work. The lake is not a tourist destination, but it is interesting anyway. The coastal promenade runs through most of the city section. It is a quiet and peaceful stretch between the old and the new city beach. It encourages walking with the family. North from the old town beach to the marina, this is a typical tourist promenade. It’s full of bars and restaurants. In summer, there are restaurant gardens overlooking the water. In many buildings you can rent a room with a beautiful view of the lake.

The city tries to provide attractions on the water, but they are rather prepared for the inhabitants. There are two city beaches with full infrastructure: parking lots, toilets, catering facilities and a lifeguard. There are campsites on both beaches – this is rare in cities. There are also typical urban sports attractions, such as a sports hall, swimming pools, sports fields. Thanks to this, the offer of active recreation is very extensive.

The user of Lake Ełk is the PZW Fisheries Farm in Suwałki. You must purchase the appropriate permit. There are typical lake species here: pike, zander, eel, perch, roach, bream, crucian carp and tench, as well as several river species such as chub and ide. However, the lake usually disappoints anglers. There are other lakes more abundant in fish in the Ełk Lake District.


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