Kuril Lake in Kamchatka: description, features, nature, flora and fauna

Kuril Lake in Kamchatka: description, features, nature, flora and fauna
Kuril Lake in Kamchatka: description, features, nature, flora and fauna

Among the many reservoirs that our planet is rich in, Kuril Lake is especially distinguished by its pristine beauty. This is one of the main natural objects of the Kamchatka Territory, which is of great importance for scientific and educational tasks.

Kurile lake


Lake Kuril is the second largest among all freshwater reservoirs located on the territory of Kamchatka. Its area is 77 square kilometers, and the greatest depth reaches 306 meters. The lake is filled with numerous streams and mountain rivers flowing into it from the surrounding hills. Replenishment of water supplies occurs due to rain and snow. The highest water level is observed in June, the lowest - in April. Its average temperature ranges from 7.8 to 10.6°C.

One of the shores of the lake is decorated with the cone of the Ilyinsky volcano, and on the opposite side there is Kambalnaya Sopka. Weather conditions in this climatic zone cannot be called favorable. They are unstable. Thaws accompanied by snowfalls are replaced by frosts whenthe thermometer drops to 20 degrees below zero. Quite often, strong winds are observed in the lake area, the speed of which reaches more than 30 meters per second.

Kurile Lake Kamchatka

Where is Kurile Lake

Despite its name, this picturesque lake is not located in the Kuriles at all. It is located in the southern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula, whose lands belong to the South Kamchatka Federal Reserve. A lake was formed in the basin of an extinct volcano, the height above sea level is 104 meters. It hides among the wild rocky shores and thickets of bushes, so it can only be reached by helicopter.


According to experts, this unique reservoir was formed more than 8 thousand years ago. The origin of the Kurile Lake is connected with a beautiful legend, which tells that a huge mountain used to rise in this place, covering the sun for the nearest neighboring mountains. This caused quarrels and resentment on their part. As a result, the high mountain, tired of strife, went into the sea. And a lake appeared in its place.

Scientists have found out the true reason for the formation of this unique reservoir. Powerful volcanic eruptions that took place in this place during the Holocene epoch devastated the volcanic interior and formed a basin, the depth of which exceeded 300 meters. Gradually, over millions of years, this caldera filled with water, and Kuril Lake was formed, the tectonic origin of which is confirmed by pumice deposits up to 150 meters thick.

Features andattractions

The most unique phenomenon on the Kuril Lake is the spawning of sockeye salmon, which lasts from April-May until October. The only flowing river Ozernaya, along which the largest herds of salmon in Eurasia move upstream, is literally teeming with fish. Sometimes up to 6 million producers enter the lake. All this attracts a lot of brown bears here. Avoiding each other under normal conditions, they are so passionate about fishing that they completely do not pay attention to their relatives at this moment. In one place, up to 20 bears can feast on fish at the same time.

Kuril lake tectonic

Nature near the Kuril Lake is simply fantastic. Like many lakes of the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin and Kamchatka, it attracts a huge number of tourists with its beauties. The real decoration is the active Ilyinsky volcano, whose height is 1578 meters. Particularly noteworthy is its shape in the form of a regular cone, as well as young lava flows descending directly into the lake.

Main rivers

Several small rivers flow into the lake. Among them are Etamynk (18 km), Khakytsyn (24 km), as well as Kirushtuk and Vychenkia. The water in these rivers is unusually clean and transparent, as it flows from high mountain springs formed as a result of melting snow. During the spawning period, sockeye salmon near the mouth are going fishing with bear cubs. Adult males fish a little upstream, where the channel is narrower. On the banks of the rivers flowing into the Kuril Lake, dense and impenetrable forest thickets are located.Here you can only move along the bear trails.

origin of the basin of the Kuril lake

The only river originating from the Kuril Lake is called Ozernaya, which flows into the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. Its length is 62 kilometers, and the width closer to the mouth can reach up to 100 meters. Grayling, kuja, arctic char, nine-spined stickleback are constantly found in Ozernaya, spawning chum salmon, pink salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon. The river is fed by 18 tributaries.

Plant world

The flora of the South Kamchatka Reserve, where Kuril Lake is located, is simply unique. A man-sized fern rises on the shore. It emits an intoxicating aroma that makes your head spin. There are 380 species of various plants here. Some of them grow only in this region. In the lake basin, large areas are occupied by sparse thickets of stone birch in combination with Kamchatka forbs. There are also alder, willow, cedar.

Animal world

Innumerable herds of sockeye salmon, rising into the lake during spawning, lure the surrounding bears to the shores. By the end of summer, up to two hundred of them gather here. Bears are real gourmets. In fish, they are only interested in caviar. Gutted remains they throw right on the shore. They are instantly collected by foxes waiting for their turn. Red-haired cheats do not bother hunting. They know full well that their patience will be rewarded.

lakes of the Kuril Islands

The largest population of the brown bear inhabits the territory,where is the Kuril lake. Kamchatka is a place where you can safely observe these animals. Under the protection of the reserve, the bears are very trusting and are not afraid of humans at all. However, tourists are not allowed to approach them.

The largest colony of the slaty-backed gull inhabits the islands located in the center of Kuril Lake. Its number reaches 2.5 thousand pairs. Closer to winter, birds of prey accumulate here - Steller's sea eagle, white-tailed eagle, golden eagle. Whooper swans and ducks hibernate on the non-freezing water surface. For all these birds, the main food is sockeye salmon and its caviar.


Volcanic eruption, which is associated with the origin of the basin of the Kuril Lake, contributed to the formation of several islands that adorn the surface of the water today. The names of some of them are associated with legends. Thus, the rocky island Heart of Alaid, located in the southern part of the lake, appeared, according to legend, after a high mountain that had gone into the sea left its heart in the lake. The trail left by the mountain later became the bed of the Ozernaya River.

From a geological point of view, the Heart of Alaid, as well as other islands of the Kuril Lake (Low, Chayachiy, Samang archipelago) are of volcanic origin. Their domes, created from lava, reach a height of up to 300 meters. The northernmost island was formerly also called Alaid (after the volcano located on it), then it was renamed Atlasov Island. Volcano Alaid is the most active in the archipelago, its last eruption was recorded in 1996. This is the highest point of the Kuril ridge,the top of the volcano is at an altitude of 2339 meters.

The Heart of Alaid and Chayachiy are islands, the inaccessibility of which makes these places convenient for breeding gulls. But since there is not always enough food in the lake, one can often observe a picture when seagulls fly 40 km to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. There, at the fish processing plant, they collect fish waste and return back, burping the semi-digested food they brought into the beaks of the chicks.

Hot springs

This is another of the main attractions of the Kuril Lake. The springs are located on the shore in the Teploya Bay, which was formed due to lava flows that descended from the volcano. They are small streams of water with a temperature of 35-45⁰С.

where is the Kuril lake

Kuril Lake is a real monument of nature. The South Kamchatka Reserve, on the territory of which it is located, is included in the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List.

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