Lake Winnipegosis, Manitoba

Lake Winnipegosis, located in the province of Manitoba 300 kilometers North-West from Winnipeg, is Canada’s 11th largest lake. The freshwater lake lies between the Saskatchewan border and Lake Winnipeg.

At a Glance

    Lake Winnipegosis Stats

    Lake NameLake Winnipegosis
    Surface area5035.510
    Maximum depth12.0
    Average depth3.2
    Lake typeGlacial
    Catchment area53350.10
    OutflowsWaterhen River
    Shore length2340.45
    Mixing typePolymictic
    SettlementsCamperville, Winnipegosis
    Residence time2392.8
    FrozenNovember to May
    Average discharge77.392
    Paddle boarding

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    Geography and Hydrology

    Lake Winnipegosis is part of the remnants of Lake Agassiz, a prehistoric glacial lake, which was formed by glacial melt water at the end of the last ice age.

    The province of Manitoba has three large lakes, of which Winnipegosis is the second largest after Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. The three share the same glacial origin. Lake Winnipegosis is part of Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River and the Hudson Bay watersheds.

    There are a number of rivers flowing into the freshwater lake, mostly coming from the Manitoba Escarpment. Its main tributaries are the Mossy, Point, Pine, North Duck, Pelican, Shoal, Steep Rock, and Red Deer Rivers. Its main outflow is the Waterhen River, which makes its way and drains into Lake Manitoba.

    The lake is home to many islands of which Birch Island is the largest, located in the middle of Winnipegosis. On the Northern part the island is separated by a 6 km wide land barrier from Cedar Lake, whilst from the South-East it’s isolated from Lake Manitoba by a 3km wide barrage. The island is part of the Birch Island Provincial Park, which was established in 2010.

    There are many communities located along the lakeshore. On the Northern part there are four larger settlements: Shoal River, Pelican Rapids, Dawson Bay, and Denbeigh Point. There are more communities situated South from Birch Island, of which we can enumerate Winnipegosis, Camperville, Pine Creek, Duck Bay, Salt Point and Meadow Portage.

    History, Legends, and Origins of its Name

    The lake area was first explored in 1739 by Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, a French military officer, fur trader and explorer. Later the precinct was part of a major East-West canoe route, part of the North West Company.

    Local legends say that a creature similar to the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland, known as the “Winnipogo” roams the lake waters.

    The name “Winnipeg” originally means “big muddy waters”, whilst “Winnipegosis” signifies “little muddy waters”. Locals also often refer to the lake as Lake Winipigoos.

    Leisure Activities

    Lake Winnipegosis is considered to be one of the best outdoor natural lakes, because it is almost entirely surrounded by wilderness, thus it is a popular place among outdoor sports enthusiasts. There are numerous hiking trails on the lake shores, and it is also a popular hunting ground, since bears, geese, deer, elk, and moose can frequently be seen in the area.

    Fishing is the most popular sport in Lake Winnipegosis, which has a wide variety of fish, including lake trout, drum, northern pike, perch, and walleye. Northern pike and mullet make up more than 80% of local commercial fishing. Ice fishing is also popular in the precinct, since the lake is frozen from November until May. Although the populations of walleye, pike and perch have been in decline because of overfishing, efforts have been made to bring back specific populations to their normal numbers.

    The marshy areas of the lake are also home to large flocks of migrating birds, making it an ideal spot for bird-watching.

    There are plenty of private campgrounds around Lake Winnipegosis, with their own beaches and pleasant campsites and their facilities, where one can enjoy a relaxing holiday.

    Lake Winnipegosis Map