Lake Winnipegosis, Manitoba

lakeLake Winnipegosis
surface area5,036 km2
maximum depth12 m
average depth3 m
lake typeGlacial
length195 km
width51 km
catchment area53,351 km2
elevation251 m
volume16 km3
outflowsWaterhen River
shore length2,341 km
mixing typePolymictic
settlementsCamperville, Winnipegosis
residence time2,393 days
frozenNovember to May
average discharge78 m3 / sec.

Top 6 Lake Winnipegosis Facts

It is the second largest lake in Manitoba.

Covering an area of 5,370 km², the lake is second only to Lake Winnipeg in terms of surface area.

Lake Winnipegosis is also the 11th largest lake in Canada.

Its name means "little muddy waters".

The name of the lake is actually the diminutive version derived from "Winnipeg", which means "big muddy waters".

It is a remnant of the former prehistoric glacial Lake Agassiz.

Lake Agassiz was a very large glacial lake from the end of the last glacial period. The area of Lake Agassiz was larger than all the 5 Great Lakes combined.

Birch Island Provincial Park is located on Lake Winnipegosis.

Birch Island, the lake's largest lake, also give the name of the Birch Island Provincial Park, which was created in 2010. Besides Birch Island, the park also includes a number of other small islands, shoals and reefs. The park has a surface area of 790 km², and has a diverse mix of habitats, including black spruce and jack pine ridges, black sprunce and mixedwood muskeg. The small islands also offer nesting habitat for many colonial birds.

Chitek Lake Park is located on the eastern shore of the lake.

Established in 2014, Chitek Lake Park is Manitoba's 88th provincial park, and is the 12th largest in the province. Located 350 kilometres north of Winnipeg, the park is difficult to access, and is an area where wood bison (the largest land mammal in North America) roam free. Along with wood bison, the park is home to moose, elk, woodland caribou, and white-tailed deer.

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.

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 Fish Species

Freshwater drum
Lake trout
Northern pike