A Hidden Gem in the North

From fishing and wildlife sighting to local culture, this remote body may not be one of the Great Lakes – but it is great.

Acclaimed for its excellent boating and fishing, Lake of the Woods is Ontario’s second-largest inland lake, spanning 105 km from north to south, and 90 km from east to west. What’s more, it boasts more than 14,000 islands, approximately 104,000 kilometers of shoreline, and has an average depth of 7.9 meters. It also reflects Canada’s Precambrian Shield landscape with its dense forests, rocky, rugged landscape, and smooth, flowing rivers.

While it’s not a Great Lake, Lake of Woods can just as easily serve up the excitement as the larger bodies of water to the east. Whether you’re on the water or on the road with your boat in tow, keep an eye out for wildlife sightings. At any given time, it’s common to see bear, wolves, deer, moose, fox, or even the rare sighting of a lynx.

The area is also renowned for its various species of fish – all game for serious and recreational anglers. The fishing is so good, Lake of Woods is a popular spot among anglers north and south of the border and thousands of sportsmen flock to the region every year. While walleye, muskellunge, and northern pike are always the fish du jour, expect rod-bending experience from the large and small mouth bass and lake trout. Keep in mind, there are limits to the number of fish that can be caught, and limits vary depending on the fish species.

Exploring by Kayak
Exploring the waters by kayak

If fishing isn’t your game, cruising on Lake of the Woods is just as exciting. There are several points to launch your boat and even more areas to anchor and enjoy this northern area to the fullest extent. The largest commercial center on the lake is Kenora, located just east of the Manitoba border. Kenora has a population of just below 16,000 that doubles in the summer months. Every year, there are many spectacles including the Corvette show at the curling club grounds held on the third week of June, Canada Day Celebrations in July and Harbourfest – a celebration of Lake of the Woods with a variety of activities including canoe jousting, a wooden boat show, parade and live entertainment – over the August long weekend.

Other popular events include the Lake of The Woods International Sailing Regatta, plus the Kenora Bass International, a premiere catch and release fishing tournament that attracts approximately 150 teams from across North America come to compete for cash prizes that total more than $100,000. But regardless when you visit Kenora, there’s always something interesting to check out. You may want to visit the award-winning Lake of the Woods Museum (one of the finest small museums in Canada) or the Lake of the Woods Railroad Museum, which displays, books, artifacts, videos, safety displays, and vinatge CP Rail railroad equipment.

The local shops are another highlight in the community, so be sure to take the time and browse all the arts and crafts that are unique to the area. For outdoor enthusiasts, this area also offers an array of leisure activities such as swimming, golfing, hiking and of course, fishing.

Sioux Narrows is another popular area to visit, located approximately 50 miles from Kenora. First-rate accommodations, insightful gift shops and an array of services are all found in its downtown district. If you’re serious about shopping, visit Sioux Narrows for the popular Christmas in July Sale or the Merchant Madness Sale in August.

About Cynthia Hodgson

No stranger to motorsports, Cynthia Hodgson has been involved in the recreational boating industry and those of similar nature for many years. Cynthia is currently the Marketing Manager for the provincial recreational boating association Boating Ontario. She has experience with all facets of the media world. She has previously worked in radio, been a freelance writer and periodically she can be seen on PowerBoat Television and Canadian Sportfishing Television. 

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