Bobs and Crow Lakes, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

A perfect destination to savor the character of the Rideau Lake District is Bobs and Crow Lakes. Located 50 miles north of Kingston, Ontario, the two lakes function as water storage for the popular Rideau Canal system. But Bobs and Crow lakes have their own identity separate from the well-known waterway. The two lakes, joined by a short channel, have been a preferred ‘cottage country’ destination for generations of seasonal visitors. The lakes host many private cottages and camps along their miles of rocky shoreline, but they are distant enough from neighbors to keep their scenic north woods atmosphere, replete with a variety of birds and mammals. Bobs Lake in particular is dotted with small uninhabited islands, and both contain myriad bays, coves and wetlands along the margins that offer a wealth of fishing opportunities. The Rideau Canal system is the destination of boaters who want to travel for miles; Bobs and Crow Lake attracts those who want to stay awhile and enjoy the solitude.

Generations of visitors return to the same camp year after year, introducing new family members to the joys of a chilly dip at dawn, chasing frogs in the grass along the shore, and taking leisurely afternoon boat excursions to explore the lakes. The size of the lakes is conducive to all types of water sports such as water skiing, personal watercraft, tubing, sailing, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. Quiet country roads are perfect for bicycling and hiking. Some cottages and camps have developed sandy-bottomed swim areas, while others anchor swim platforms suitable for diving offshore in the deeper water. This is the place where busy city-dwellers come to let golden sunsets and the call of the loon wash away the stress of too much civilization. Here, children learn to swim, to fish, to observe the local wildlife quietly, and to go to bed tired but happy. New friends and old are visited by boat. Bobs and Crow Lakes are a true community joined in their love of the lakes and the cottage lifestyle. More and more of these seasonal residents are choosing to retire here, leading to a growth of larger year-round homes along the rocky shore.

Only about 10% of the shoreline is Crown land. There is a solitary public boat ramp on Crow Lake. Most visiting fishermen arrive with a reservation at one of the nearly 20 resort camps located on the lakes. Most resorts will arrange use of a boat and motor for a reasonable fee, and several sell gas to all comers. Some provide guide service as well. Bobs Lake has several basins with different habitats, remnants of four separate lakes that once existed, so it is helpful to have a local experienced angler along who knows where the fish are hiding. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, rock bass, northern pike, bluegill, black crappie, walleye and lake trout all have their own types of feeding areas in the 7,776-acre lake. The Greater Bobs and Crow Lakes Association has carefully monitored water quality and the condition of the fishery. Occasionally, fry are stocked but the majority of the fish caught were bred within the two lakes and surrounding streams themselves. Crow Lake, with 1,076 acres, is generally deeper and supports a good population of lake trout, with lesser populations found in some Bobs Lake bays.

The Provincial Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) considers Bobs and Crow Lakes as one water body with nine segregated basins; Crow Lake, Crow Bay, Buck Bay, Green Bay, Mud Bay, Mill Bay, Long Bay, Eastern Bobs Basin, and Western Bobs Basin. Most of the shoreline of Bobs Lake is privately owned. Crow Lake, however, has several parcels of public land which are ideal for hiking and enjoying the abundant wildlife. One area of public land on Bobs Lake of particular interest to wildlife admirers is Michaels Creek Marsh, which contains nearly 80 acres of wild rice, a significant heron rookery, spawning habitat for bass and northern pike and osprey, bald eagles, bluebills and ringneck ducks along with many migratory birds in season. Other northern wildlife seen in the area – some commonly, others rarely – include white tail deer, black bear, northern river otter, muskrat, coyote, red fox, porcupine, occasional eastern wolf, moose, lynx and bobcat. Elk have been released in the area but have yet to be sighted. Some lands are open for hunting in season, and ice fishing is popular in winter. Winter residents and visitors also enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snow sledding.

The Bobs and Crow Lakes area was home to several groups of native people prior to the arrival of European trappers. Crows Lake has always had a large number of their namesake birds in residence near the shore, but the origin of the name for Bobs Lake is questionable. It appears from historical records that the lake was named for someone named Bob – but no one can agree on exactly who Bob was! Several people named Bob are recorded in historical records for the area, but the mystery remains. The two lakes were once at least five lakes among the headwaters of the Tay River. A small dam for milling purposes was first built across the river outlet at Bolingbroke in 1821. After the Rideau Canal was completed in 1832, logging became a major draw to the area. As is common, once the hardwoods were logged out, farmers arrived to try to make a living from the thin soils of the area. Crops were not very successful, which is probably somewhat fortunate, given what happened next. In 1870, the dam was enlarged to provide a reliable water reservoir to feed the Rideau Canal system downstream during dry seasons.

The dam was intended to raise the water level about 24 inches. Instead, the water level eventually rose 15 to 18 feet, flooding most of the lower-lying land, inundating all of the wetlands and forming one large sprawling lake from the four smaller lakes that were originally there. Locals hurried to harvest what timber remained, but the sudden change in water acidity from the submerged timber raised the acidity of the water to very high levels for several years, destroying the fishery. A few years later, Mother Nature had performed her miracles and the water regained the correct quality to support many fish within the much larger lake. As Bobs Lake was now equal in altitude to Crow Lake, navigation between the two by small boat became possible, except in the fall when water levels are lowered. New wetlands became established around the new shoreline, and local wildlife thrived in their new home. The Rideau Canal System under the authority of Parks Canada controls the water levels and attempts to keep winter and summer levels within about five feet of variance for the benefit of all. The Tay River (originally called Pike Creek) is not suitable for most boats in the upper reaches but is very popular for canoeing and kayaking expeditions.

Vacation lodgings are plentiful on Bobs and Crow Lakes; the only concern is to make reservations well in advance due to the popular nature of many of the camps. A campground exists along Crow Lake, and a number of private cottages and camping areas are usually available as weekly or monthly rentals on both lakes. There are no major hotels nearby, but the town of Westport on Upper Rideau Lake is only 20 miles to the east and offers several bed-and-breakfast establishments, along with antique shops, local shopping and, of course, more cottage resorts. One small inn exists at Sharbot Lake, about 10 miles west of Crow Lake. Real estate is available around both lakes, both as existing housing and as buildable lots on the lakeshore. So, why not come spend a week or longer at Bobs and Crow Lakes? The family anglers will love wetting a line in an attempt to entice the lakes’ walleye or bass into the creel. As for children, there simply won’t be enough hours in the day for them to explore and enjoy life at the lovely pristine lakes. Come to Bobs and Crow Lakes and enjoy nature as it should be. The lake trout are waiting.

Things to do at Bobs and Crow Lakes

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Bobs and Crow Lakes

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Bobs and Crow Lakes Photo Gallery

Bobs and Crow Lakes Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Rideau Canal Office

Surface Area: 7,776 acres

Shoreline Length: 123 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 534 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 530 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 535 feet

Average Depth: 84 feet

Completion Year: 1870

Lake Area-Population: 28,526

Drainage Area: 67 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

Spread the word! Share our Bobs and Crow Lakes article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.